In this Oct. 9, 2018 photo, Linda Marino poses with photographs of her son, Samuel, at her home in Tolland, Conn. Samuel Marino died in a 2009 car crash that relatives believe was intentional after becoming a victim of a male sex trafficking ring. Advocates are calling for more recognition and services for male victims. (AP Photo/Dave Collins)

Case reveals shame, trauma of male sex trafficking victims

November 14, 2018 - 10:06 pm

TOLLAND, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut sex trafficking ring is illuminating what advocates call the underreported scourge of male victims.

Authorities say the ring involved at least 15 victims — possibly dozens — and operated for more than two decades. Police say the suspects preyed on developmentally disabled and mentally ill boys and young men.

Two men have pleaded guilty and another is expected to go on trial early next year.

Both male and female trafficking victims suffer trauma and other psychological scars. But advocates say men and boys are less likely to come forward and have difficulties finding counseling and other services.

The National Human Trafficking Hotline says it received about 8,500 reports of human trafficking last year, including both sex and labor trafficking. Of those, 13 percent involved men and boys. Some studies show more than half of trafficking victims are male.