Motivated in large part by their religious traditions of protecting the vulnerable and serving “the least of these,” as Jesus instructed his followers to do in the Gospel of Matthew, World Relief and other Christian agencies like the Salvation Army are stepping up efforts and working with law enforcement to stem the flow of human trafficking, which includes sex trafficking and labor trafficking.
“Jesus didn’t just go around telling people about himself. He also healed the blind and healed the brokenhearted, he freed captives, and I think that it would be ridiculous to walk up to someone who is hurting and tell them, ‘Let me tell you about the Gospel,’ and then walk away while they’re still hurting,” Mitchell says.
The author lists six reasons why this is the case. What stuck out to me most is that our culture has come to glorify pimps and prostitution:
Prostitution is simply not the taboo it once was. With the increased commodification of women – especially younger women – it has become much more acceptable to look at females in American culture as objects holding only monetary value; a commodity to be bought and sold. This dynamic is certainly nothing new. In 1911, controversial women’s rights advocate and anarchist, Emma Goldman, observed, “It is a conceded fact that woman is being reared as a sex commodity. Whether our reformers admit it or not, the economic and social inferiority of woman is responsible for prostitution.”
However, this commodification of “woman” has increased dramatically in the past century.
Along with the glorification of “pimpdom,” the aura surrounding prostitution as a lifestyle has been elevated to a lifestyle choice with riches and fame as its reward. Few realize how easily and often the abuses of commercial sexual exploitation hide under the cloak of prostitution.
The best way to stop sex trafficking is to stop demand. And the best way to do this is to arrest the men buying the sex:
Opponents argue that picking up “consenting adults” for a “victimless crime” is Victorian.
But what’s outdated is the notion that prostitution is harmless. Both of us have seen firsthand the devastation on those whose bodies are bought, on families and communities, and on the buyers themselves.
Granted, a small percentage of women in prostitution claim they’re opting for a career like any other. But in the US, females enter “the life” in their early teens and are statutorily raped thousands of times before they are “consenting adults.” At that point, what are their options?
Adds Mary Setterholm, “For some of us, our dignified choice to support our families led us into this socially ‘undignified’ sex trade. But to combine consent with extreme sexual objectification is like saying women demanded liberty to be slaves. The new law is shifting a spotlight on the core issue – demand, not choice.”