The sex trafficking industry is the second largest criminal market in the world, surpassing arms and beneath drugs. In 2012, it was estimated that over 32 million people are trafficked in the sex trade worldwide. Every year, sex trafficking sees $32 billion USD in profit, more than the combined profits of McDonald’s, Google, Cisco, Disney, and Pepsi!
Anti-trafficking organizations have been focused on rescuing women and girls from the market, but MATTOO (Men Against The Trafficking Of Others) is proving that there is a different way to fight this horrible reality.
Andrew Hanson, the CEO and founder of MATTOO (rhymes with tattoo), first heard about sex trafficking when he was 19. He witnessed young, underaged girls being rescued from the market at a Mexican orphanage, a sight that destroyed his world. After this, he tried to get involved in anti-trafficking organizations and nonprofits for 12 years, but was contantly turned down because of his gender.
Finally, he made it onto the board of an anti-trafficking nonprofit, only after obtaining a Master’s in Public Policy (MPP). By then, Hanson was well aware of the lack of male involvement in protesting sex trafficking, as well as the lack of an organization that focuses on male involvement in the fight. Instead of waiting for one to appear, MATTOO was born.
MATTOO was established in 2010 and it is the first nonprofit of its kind. MATTOO’s mission is to decrease the demand of sex trafficking. Rescuing the individuals forced into this industry is extremely important and necessary, but Hanson believes that the best way to truly tear down the industry is to work from the inside, educate men about their involvement in patronage in the industry, and include and educate men about ways they can help.
Globally, the average age of girls who enter into prostitution is 11 years old; 13 in developed countries. Eighty-nine percent want to escape. Most women today do not have a choice in this business, but men always have the choice of whether or not to use a prostitute.
When men pledge to be a MATTOO, or a man against the trafficking of others, they are pledging to refuse to exploit women involved in the industry. They are also committing to educate themselves and others about the fight to decrease the magnitude of sex trafficking globally.
MATTOO uses education to enable men to raise awareness on the realities of human trafficking, and is constantly holding and participating in rallies, marches, and other anti-trafficking events. The men of MATTOO want to publicly show that they oppose human trafficking. MATTOO has also partnered with companies and organizations that offer transitional housing, vocational training, and after-care facilities to help victims of trafficking.
“A MATTOO is eager to sacrifice his life and stand up for a cause that is much greater than himself. A MATTOO is courageous to speak out against injustice. A MATTOO values the life of each individual – man, women and child – for who they are created to be. He embraces innate human dignity.”
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