With January hosting the National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, I have been working hard to get the word out about the modern day sex trade and how big of an epidemic it truly is. We recently invited a couple to our church to speak with our congregation about Human Trafficking, specifically sex trafficking, and what they are doing to help rescue victims in our home state. So I wanted to revisit an old blog I had done a while back after reading the heart wrenching book, God in a Brothel by Daniel Walker, and continue to raise awareness about this atrocity that is plaguing our world. Please pray for the victims of sex trafficking, that they’d be rescued and restored. Pray for the traffickers, that they’d be prosecuted and find repentance. Pray for churches and Christians; that we’d stand up and fight against this evil oppression upon our women and children. And pray for the perpetrators that solicit sexual favors from women and children in slavery; that Christ would reveal to them their depravity and they would come to repentance. Remember that change can occur when enough individuals speak out against grave injustice…
Recently, I have been deeply burdened by the multi-billion dollar Sex Trafficking industry. What we would call modern day sex slavery. I had heard of it in years past, but never really took time to research it and come to a better understanding of this wickedness that is rapidly growing all across the globe (including our own backyards). Sex Trafficking is when a person is recruited, harbored, transported, or procured for the purpose of forced or coerced sexual exploitation and acts through the use of violence, shame, and fraud. Today there are millions of victims of Sex Trafficking, an estimated 2 million of which are children (most between 6 and 17 years of age). It has become an epidemic. But what does any of this have to do with pornography? Isn’t this evil reserved for those perverts who prey on children? “Those guys.” I used to think so myself. Until I researched deeper into the roots of this multi-billion dollar industry. Sex Trafficking is like a tree. It has several roots that ground it and feed it.
Sex Trafficking is obviously rooted and fed by wickedness. There’s really no question about that. The heart of man is totally depraved. Romans 3:10-11 says, “As it is written: ‘There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God’.” Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked…” David speaks of being brought forth in iniquity in Psalm 51:5, and the Apostle Paul speaks of the wickedness of man and God’s response to it in Romans 1:26-32, saying, “For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.” Man has been wicked since the fall of man, not only practicing wickedness, but admiring others who do so as well. The sexual abuse and exploitation of women and children is saturated in wickedness. As long as man is depraved, there will be a lustful desire for sexual immorality.
Sex Trafficking is also fed by supply and demand. Supply -- the virtually limitless supply of vulnerable women and children (prey) who are without parents or education, dreadfully poor, or affected by war -- and demand – “…there is a demand for children's bodies. There are men and women who pay to have sex with a minor and who will travel to places around the world to do so. There can be no end to the supply as long as there is a demand for these children, the product” (The Sold Project). Supply and demand is directly correlated with another root—greed and corruption. The Sex Trafficking industry is a $37 billion a year business. And people can’t get enough of it; whether they’re on the selling or buying end of it. Not only can Sex Trafficking be a single-celled organism, manned by one person with several clients, but over the last decade it has also become very much an organized crime. Similar to the Mafia or a drug trafficking outfit, there are major networks of sellers and traders whose greed is fueling their commitment to the continued injustice of the trafficking of helpless women and children. Even the governments and judicial systems of many countries have been corrupted by this business. They not only look the other way when these heinous crimes occur, but have even hired the services of women and children trapped in sex slavery. Another root that feeds Sex Trafficking is the lack of knowledge and capable justice systems in many countries. Some countries simply have justice systems that don’t know how to approach this issue or pursue perpetrators, as well as lack resources and/or lack good will in seeking to protect victims through the legal system. These are all major contributors to the booming success of the Sex Trafficking industry.
So where does porn come into play? First, the internet itself has made Sex Trafficking potentially undetectable. With the increase in photo sharing, online pedophilia networks, social networking, chat rooms, forums, classified ads, anonymous connections with interested clientele, ecommerce that conducts the financial transactions for the sale of images, videos, or humans, encrypted technologies, peer to peer file sharing, etc., the internet has put Sex Trafficking into high gear. It would seem that it’s an unstoppable force. And this leads me to pornography…
Victims of the sex trade industry are forced and coerced through violence, shame, and fraud into selling their bodies and performing sexual acts. This includes the use of their bodies and sexual exploitation in the form of pornography. When a man looks at pornography, he thinks to himself, “she enjoys what’s being done to her” or “she likes what she’s doing.” And in many cases that is true. But there are also many cases in which women and children are forced or coerced into participating in pornographic films or photos unwillingly. They are made to act or portray a certain image, someone who enjoys illicit, exaggerated sex. When a man views pornography, he believes the “woman” on screen is an adult, when in all actuality she very well may be 15, 16, or 17 years old. And in their ignorance, porn-watchers further the abuse and exploitation of women and children enslaved in the Sex Trafficking industry. We often talk about pornography as one-sided; the enslavement of men to their addiction. But it’s a multi-faceted problem. Not only are millions of men (and women) imprisoned by their addiction to pornography, but there are also millions of women and children imprisoned in pornography by their “pimp” or “owner.” And the men and women who are imprisoned by their greed and corruption in selling and trading human beings for monetary gain. It depicts one of the grossest forms of sin and evil in our world today. Let’s not forget that the porn industry is also a multi-billion dollar a year business. It is one that is also fed by wickedness, greed, corruption, supply and demand, and more importantly, by ignorance.
Porn viewers think their sin is harmless. It’s done in private. It’s not actual copulation with another human being; it’s all fantasy and masturbation. But the truth is, pornography not only deeply harms their spouse and children, tarnishing their ability to enjoy genuine intimacy, but additionally it harms the participants in the films or photographs. “That woman” in porn is someone’s daughter. And she may not even be of age. She may not be there willingly. “That guy” in porn is someone’s son. And he’s been greatly deceived. These actors and actresses in pornography are not glamorous. They live a life of shame and emptiness. And some live in constant fear for their lives. There’s no longer an excuse for ignorance. Sex Trafficking is a great tragedy in our world and there’s too little people taking action against it. God calls us to, “Learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow” (Isaiah 1:17). Jesus said in Matthew 25 to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, give shelter to the stranger, visit and care for the sick and imprisoned. When are Christians going to stop indulging in selfish lusts of the flesh and begin being part of the rescue? There are millions of women, children, even men, who are in desperate need of rescue. Yet we remain blind. We look the other way. Or worse, we participate in the injustice. When will it end?
If you would like to learn more about how you can be part of the rescue, here are some sites that can help you get started:
http://www.ijm.org/ (The International Justice Mission)
http://thesoldproject.com/ (The Sold Project)
http://www.lifeimpactintl.org/ (Life Impact International)
http://www.notforsalecampaign.org/empower/ (The Not for Sale Campaign)
http://donate.worldvision.org/OA_HTML/xxwv2ibeCCtpSctDspRte.jsp?section=10370 (World Vision Donations)
http://notmylife.org/ (Not My Life Documentary)
http://www.stophumantrafficking.org/ (The Florida Coalition against Human Trafficking)
Tags: ""human trafficking"" ""sex trafficking"" slavery pornography awareness
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