Some 45 percent of the 286 certified adult human trafficking victims in fiscal year 2008 were male, a significant increase from the 6 percent certified in 2006, say State Department figures reported by the Houston Chronicle. Kenneth Wolfe of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which certifies victims of human trafficking, said the increase in the percentage of male victims is due mainly to an uptick in labor-trafficking cases. Seventy-six percent of human-trafficking victims were victims of labor trafficking, while sex trafficking accounted for 17 percent. Five percent were subject to both forms of trafficking.
FBI agent Maritza Conde-Vazquez said there has been an increase locally in the number of male human-trafficking victims, primarily from Central and South America. The majority of the cases involve forced labor at construction sites or in agriculture. “We've seen an increase in male victims in the human-trafficking arena, and it's a trend that I don't think is going to slow down,” Conde-Vazquez said. “It will be a bigger problem with each passing year.” She added: “Human trafficking exists because it is very profitable. It's a low-risk business for the traffickers because they are not dealing with merchandise they have to safekeep – they are dealing with human beings. In that sense, it's lower risk than dealing with drugs or weapons.”