Chicago: A survivor of gay sex trafficking speaks up about his ordeal

A survivor of gay sex trafficking breaks his silence about his past.

This is Part I of a two part series on LGBT youth sex trafficking in Chicago.

WASHINGTON, DC, June 18, 2012 - Sex trafficking victims are not just teenage girls from rural villages in Thailand. A young American boy is just as vulnerable to sexual slavery as Thai youths. Today, a survivor of gay youth sex trafficking unlocks his past about sexual slavery of the American Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) youth in Chicago.

When Sam’s father found out that he was gay, he threw him out of the house. Having nowhere else to turn, Sam loaded up his car to leave for Chicago. When he arrived in “Boy’s Town”, a hub of sex industry for homosexuals in the city, his first pimp snuck up behind him, put a rag laced with sedatives over his mouth to knock him out, and literally dragged him off the street,

When Sam woke up, his pimp and another man were urinating in his mouth. The other man was holding Sam’s hands around Sam’s neck. His pimp later introduced Sam to cocaine by blowing it in his mouth and forcing him to ingest it.

His pimp then forced Sam into prostitution in Chicago and Michigan. His pimp made $400 to $500 a day from Sam’s prostitution, but Sam never saw a dime of it.

Approximately a week after his abduction, Sam escaped his first pimp, but his slavery continued. When Sam needed a way to support himself, he responded to an ad for an escort service in a Gay Chicago Magazine.

There, Sam found his second pimp, Cal.

Cal ran a gay escort agency and had an exclusive and limited client list. Cal later told Sam that an exclusive cliental kept him away from law enforcement’s radar. Most of Cal’s clients were upper middle class married men. Sam estimates that Cal made over $200,000 a year by prostituting 20 boys.

LGBT homeless youth are much more vulnerable to sexual exploitation than other homeless youths. Though only 20% of homeless youth are LGBT, 58.7% of them are exploited through sexual prostitution. This is a much higher rate than 33.4% of heterosexual homeless youth that are at risk of sexual exploitation on the street.

Studies show that many LGBT youth are victims of molestation themselves. In three different studies, 60%, 64%, and 61% of the homosexual respondents claimed that their first partner was someone older who initiated the sexual experience.

In Britain, a nationwide random survey on LGBT youth shows that 35% of boys and 9% of girls said adult homosexuals approached them for sex. In another study of over 400 London LGBT teens, half of the boys said that their first partner were 20 years or older.

In the U.S., 37% of males and 9 % of females reported having been approached for homosexuals for sex. In addition 65% of the youth respondents said that someone older initially invited them into homosexual sex.

The law is far from justice when it comes to tackling exploiters like Sam’s pimps and his high profile clients. Currently, Illinois law says that first time buyer of sex or a pimp is a class A misdemeanor. Subsequent violation of buying sex and pimping a man or woman is a Class 4 Felony. A class A misdemeanor is punishable for up to one year in jail and fined up to $2500.  A Class 4 felony carries fines up to $25000 and up to $50,000 for corporations.

Sam’s pimps made minimum $140,000 and maximum $468,000 off of exploiting youth like Sam. It is a no brainer that pimps will continue exploit youths like Sam.

Services and shelters are rarely available in the U.S. nationwide to care for someone like Sam. Sam hopes that his story will prevent youth from entering prostitution and change lawmakers and the society to take sex trafficking and prostitution of youth, including LGBT teens, more seriously.


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Youngbee Dale

Youngbee Dale graduated from Regent University with Master’s degree in International Politics in 2009. While at Regent, she interned at World Bank and co-contributed to a human trafficking publication, “Setting the Captives Free” by Olivia McDonald (2007). She also worked with migrant workers and human trafficking victims in South Korea. Currently, she stays home with her three-month-old son to exercise the divine rights to mother and breastfeed him. 

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