Well, I’ve never actually done an official book review, and I’m not sure if my opinions count as “official.” Nonetheless, I am going to write one anyway! I just finished reading the book God in a Brothel: An Undercover Journey into Sex Trafficking and Rescue by Daniel Walker. I will never be the same.
For weeks I’d been praying for the victims of sex trafficking, researching the many organizations involved in rescuing them, and studying this pandemic, when my husband brought this book home for me. Before reading it, I was already burdened by the horrors of sex trafficking and the seemingly lack of concern by the world around us to rescue the victims who are being exploited daily. And now, after reading Walker’s accounts of his years spent undercover attempting to infiltrate the business and rescue these women and children, I’m nothing short of overwhelmed. I highly recommend that every Christian read God in a Brothel, as it is truly a candid look into the absolute depravity of our world as we know it. Reading this book in its entirety will require courage and will require you to make a choice; what will you do with the information you’ve just acquired? Will you join the battle against the oppression and injustice of children and young women all over the world or will you look the other way?
You may start reading and find that it’s just too much. Too much to swallow. And I completely understand. Having read the book in its entirety, there were several times I had to put it down and walk away in tears; unable to read another horrendous paragraph. It was like I had to stop reading just so I could breathe. There are moments I wish I could unlearn it. Shut my eyes to it. Close my ears to it. But it’s too late. Like I said, I will never be the same. So, while I believe this book (among others) is essential for us to truly grasp the concept of what darkness sex trafficking truly is; I also say to you, read with caution.
This book has affected me both positively and negatively. Positively, in that I know without a doubt that God has burdened my heart to take part in rescuing women and children from sex trafficking in some way, shape, or form. I will never be the same in that as long as there are women and children enduring the abuses of this industry, I will help pursue justice on their behalf. My eyes have been opened to this extreme depravity, and I cannot ignore it. But the negative aspects of this book are not easy to forget. Horrific stories of small children, some as young as five years old, surrounded by crowds of men haggling the best bid for an hour of ravenous sex with them. Appalling accounts of children being ushered in rows wearing nothing but a number around their neck, waiting to be “chosen” to fulfill the darkest fantasies of the men before them. Thousands upon thousands of children sold into the sex industry by their own parents, relatives, and neighbors. Descriptions of little girls whose worth is measured by “how good” they perform oral sex and little boys who are sadistically sodomized daily. These words haunt my thoughts. They make me want to vomit, they make my skin crawl, and they’ve ignited hatred within my heart. They’ve even caused me to question God’s sovereignty.
I am finding that my thoughts are displaced. I am having trouble focusing on life as I know it. I’ve begun to trivialize the sufferings of people around me because it doesn’t seem to compare to the sufferings of the women and children in the sex industry. I’ve begun to question the spending habits others because, to me, it’s abundantly clear that financially supporting the rescue of these victims is more important than buying a Hummer. I’ve begun to question the motives of the men I see everywhere I go, fearing that they may be “one of them” who travel as a sex tourist to engage in the defilement of children and young women all over the world. I’ve questioned how it can possibly be God’s plan for a child to be born into a brothel, be torturously raped several times a day by all kinds of men, be abused and neglected by her “pimp” or “manager,” and ultimately die at a very young age due to malnutrition or HIV/AIDS, having never experienced an ounce of love in her short life.
Indeed, I’m even finding it difficult to be “present” with my own children. If my son falls and scrapes his chin, he cries and wants to be held. It’s not a bad fall, but even so, he’s hurt. He needs comfort, nurturing, and love. He wants to know that I care. And as I hold him, my mind wanders to the little boy in the possession of a pedophile, being forced to endure the worst kinds of abuses and torture. How he must cry in excruciating pain and fear. How he must be hurting and confused, desperately in need of someone to comfort him, nurture him, and love him. How he must long to know that someone cares. Yet no one does. No one runs to pick him up and dusts him off. No one hugs him with pureness of heart. No one whispers, “its okay” and comforts him. When I see my daughter laughing and playing, enjoying the life she’s been blessed with, my mind is drawn to other little girls. The little girl sitting in her concrete brothel with only a dirty bed and a single light bulb; awaiting her next client. Wondering what darkness he will expect from her, what defilement he will act upon her. Her eyes are dead, with no joy in her life. Nothing to laugh about, no desire to play. Her little body just a shell of a child that may have once had hope, may have once felt worthy of love.
While it is honorable to have such compassion for oppressed children, the thought of them has invaded my mind. So much so that I have begun to pray and ask God to help keep a proper perspective… Daniel Walker states in his book, “Their desperate cries for rescue [became] an increasingly heavy burden to carry…the responsibility I felt for those who I had not been able to rescue colluded with an underlying belief that I could do more. The unfortunate result was that I unwittingly and unintentionally came to believe that the victims of trafficking needed me. In my own mind, I had become their only hope. This festering lies was to have dire consequences” (pg. 151-152). This has pretty much been my thinking for the past few weeks. If I don’t do something, then they won’t get rescued. Somehow I lost trust that God is in control. That He is still sovereign over all, even among the brothels. So I had to take a step back, asking God to give me wisdom. I know He has called me to join the battle. But to what extent, I am not yet sure. Am to be a prayer warrior and informant to the world around me? Should I raise financial support to aid in investigating sex trafficking, rescuing and caring for the victims, and prosecuting the perpetrators? Maybe I’m supposed to raise awareness in local governments and put pressure on our nation’s leaders to take all measures necessary to protect children from all manners of exploitation? Or perhaps I should take part in providing training to local police and social workers in how to effectively extract the victims with sensitivity and care, while successfully detecting, infiltrating, documenting, and prosecuting sex traffickers? Should I actively work in an aftercare facility, doing my utmost to ensure the safety, counsel, medical attention, and comfort required for women and children rescued from the industry? Or am I called to go undercover too, entering the brothels and go-go bars to investigate and gather evidence against such atrocities?
There are so many facets of the rescue and God may choose to use me in any of them. But I know He hasn’t called me to lose myself within the torturous thoughts of the victim’s pain and despair. He has not asked me to forget the here and now; to mitigate my ministry to my own children, husband, neighbors, and community because of my inability trust His sovereignty on the issue of sex trafficking. God is in control. He is still on the Throne. And all I can do is surrender. Surrender my mind, my emotions, my body, my desires, my dreams, and choose to be used by God however He sees fit. I pray for the women and children trapped in the sex industry, that God will comfort them in the midst of their despair. That He will send rescuers to bring them out of the darkness and into the light. That their abusers will be prosecuted and justice will be served. I continue to pray for wisdom in how I will play a role in the rescue. I can see that I may not be equipped to be on the front lines, but I can certainly offer my constant prayers and financial support to those who are. I pray for the men who are addicted to this destructive lifestyle of abusive behavior, deprivation, and enslavement and fuel the sex trafficking industry. I pray that God would break them and bring them to repentance, changing their hearts of stone. That they would somehow see through the ruse of their cheap substitute for intimacy and adventure, and see it for what it truly is: an insatiable lust that can never be satisfied, a void that can never be filled, a wound that can never be healed by the use of another human being as a sexual object or “plaything.” And I pray for the Church. That God will ignite a fire within us to seek justice on the behalf of these women and children, to rescue and restore them through the light of Christ. Mr. Walker says it best when he concludes his book with, “I have a dream that churches around the world will come alive with a passion for justice and a hatred for evil, that their goals would no longer be centered around revival or church growth, but the freedom of humanity from all that enslaves and oppresses them. And in doing so, I have a dream that the church would be beautiful—a bride fit for the bridegroom when He returns to establish His Kingdom on earth and end all forms of slavery and oppression forever.”
Like I said, I will never be the same. The stories are descriptive and haunting, the rescues are victorious, the defeats are heart-wrenching, and his personal story is both sad and redemptive. I applaud Daniel Walker for having the courage to share this story and for creating an organization (www.NVADER.org) to continue investigating and rescuing. This book is inspiring. Read it. You’ll never be the same.
Walking in Freedom,
Tags: ""god in a brothel"" ""daniel walker"" ""sex trafficking""
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