Inter-Press Service ran a report today, via The Helsinki Times, highlighting the rising number of men who are falling victim to human trafficking in Eastern Europe. The report points out that there is a lack of awareness that men fall victim to traffickers—and a lack of service providers who specialize in assisting these male victims. A spokesperson from the International Organisation for Migration says:

“The public perception is that human trafficking victims are all vulnerable females forced into prostitution and sexual slavery, but this is not the case. It does not occur to many people that the scale of trafficking is much broader, and that it affects a sizeable amount of men. Organisations have to work now to make sure people know about this... If you end up in a country with no passport, no job and no money, the chances are that you will end up being exploited. But the safety net in such cases is much broader for women than for men,”

Push factors that drive men to fall into trafficking situations are heightened by the economic crisis. Joe Lowry, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies representative for the Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus says:

“The number of males being trafficked is rising…The economic crisis has put pressure on men to go out and find work to support their families, and in such times people begin to take more risks."

Read the rest of the report here.