The sexual exploitation of boys from Eastern Europe [ChildHub webinar]

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Date of webinar: 
29 Mar 2016
Start and finish time of webinar: 
11.00am CET
Michelle Asbill, PhD Student, School of Social Work at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Viktoria Sebhelyi, Researcher

Although not a new phenomenon, research from international and European based non-governmental organizations points to an increase in the percentage of sexually exploited boys.  While the research base remains limited, findings indicate that boys often originate from Eastern European countries, but their final destination is typically Central and Western Europe, thus demanding a collective European response.

This webinar aims to 1) provide a brief synopsis of the magnitude of this social concern and then  2) present several implications and related challenges facing professionals either directly or anticipating future engagement with this population.  Through these aims, this webinar hopes to spark a broader professional dialogue in terms of building the knowledge base as a means to reaching and better serving sexually exploited boys.

The webinar will also explore the Hungarian situation, the challenges of identification of THB victims (especially boys), lack of assistance and the justice system in general.


About the lecturers:

Michelle Asbill earned a BSW and MSW in the US with a focus on medical and hospice social work.  Additionally, she has earned graduate degrees in Intercultural Studies, European Social Work and Social Policy (New Bulgarian University), and European Union studies. For several years, Michelle worked in the NGO sector in Bulgaria as a project manager and administrator related to community development and training activities in a range of social areas. Currently, she is a doctorate student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign studying social work, but is spending the academic year (2015-2016) in Bulgaria as a recipient of a fellowship to conduct research related to her dissertation, which is on the topic of Bulgarian human traffickers and the incentives to engage in human trafficking. Michelle’s primary research and work related interests include sexual exploitation in eastern and southern Europe (especially Bulgaria and Greece) and European Union human trafficking policy.

Viktoria Sebhelyi is a researcher sociologist. Ms. Sebhelyi completed an MA in Sociology at the University of Szeged, and is currently finishing a PhD dissertation in Sociology of Education at the University of Pécs. The dissertation examines the links between socialization and sexual exploitation in human trafficking. Her primary areas of research are social inequalities, sexual exploitation (human trafficking), with a focus on the policies of protection of vulnerable children. Ms. Sebhelyi conducted nearly 20 human trafficking researches in recent years and has published several articles on sexual exploitation and child protection. Currently she is a local coordinator for Hungary on the Dutch SPOT 46 organization’s “Hungarian Reintegration Project” and volunteers for the Sex Education Foundation. Before that she participated in child trafficking research at Central European University’s Center for Policy Studies.



Certificates of attendence for this Webinar are available at request. 


To learn more, see recommended sources:  

Research on the sexual exploitation of boys and young men: A UK scoping study Summary of findings

Child Trafficking Among Vulnerable Roma Communities: Results of country studies in Austria, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia 

The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Europe: Developments, progress, challenges and recommended strategies for civil society

Child Sexual Exploitation Fact Sheet (2012)

Global Report on Trafficking in Persons

Roma Children and Young People in Bulgaria: Patterns of Risk and Effective Protection in Relation to Child Sexual Exploitation

Women are Victims, men make choices: The invisibility of men and boys in the global sex trade

Assessing exploitation experiences of girls and boys seen at a Child Advocacy Center

Aftercare Services for Child Victims of Sex Trafficking: A Systematic Review of Policy and Practice







Series this is part of: 

This project is funded by: