My name is Lukas, and I am an intern at Amirah. I was asked to address some misconceptions regarding what it is like being a man involved in the work that Amirah does. My experience as a man at Amirah has provided me with a unique perspective that I hope can prove insightful to both men and women interested in the work Amirah is doing.
Myth 1: Men don’t have a place in this movement.
It can seem like there’s no place for men to be involved with sex trafficking recovery or intervention. Often, I think this idea comes from a genuine concern for the survivors’ well-being. However, men do have a place in this movement, and a vital one. Men exist in the real world, so a survivor needs to learn how to interact with men in healthy ways just like she needs to learn to interact with women in healthy ways. Men are also more than capable of being involved in other aspects of this work; financial support, prayer, raising awareness and providing education, and using our voice in defense of those who don’t have one are all pieces of fighting sex trafficking that must be done, and that men must take part in because this is not merely a women’s issue. This is a human issue, so all people have a role to play.
Myth 2: It is appropriate for men to be in one-on-one situations with survivors.
For men who do this work, there are some unique considerations when it comes to direct care interactions with survivors. One of the biggest is that men should not be alone with a woman. This comes down to protecting the women, the men, and the organization. It is so important for the integrity of an organization in this work to maintain the safety and reputation of its staff, volunteers, and most importantly, the survivors they are serving.
Myth 3: The women don’t want any interaction with men.
This, in my experience, couldn’t be further from the truth. I was personally surprised by how quickly and warmly I was welcomed into the community of the home by the women living here. There are certainly harder days, and I am always aware of my actions to make sure I am respectful of the women’s space and feelings. In reality though, anybody working here is aware of their actions and their appropriate boundaries, regardless of sex. And in my experience, as long as I conduct myself respectfully, the women are just as open to interacting with me as they are with any other volunteer or staff member.
If you are a man wanting to work with survivors of sex trafficking, you need to know that you are needed and you have a role to play in ending this evil in our world. There are things for us to consider that women don’t necessarily have to, but that shouldn’t scare you away! The diversity in gender that God has given to humanity is a beautiful thing. I hope this has helped you to understand more about men working in this field, and maybe even encouraged you to look into volunteer opportunities at Amirah.