This is a post from the blog Cry of Tamar that my wife (Tina) and I started last year. Since this month is Human Trafficking Awareness Month, I wanted to share a little bit on Human Trafficking, the story of how Tina and I have a passion for this issue, and hopefully get you involved in this fight.
Unfortunately, this issue would have a lot more press this month before Louie Giglio withdrew from praying at the Inauguration (PS, because of that whole dust-up I learned to spell Inauguration correctly). Thabiti Anyabwile has a good post on why this is unfortunate today.
I hope that this post can help and can spur you on to find out more about how you can help this fight. I’ll post more on this again later this month.
I remember reading about sex slavery for the first time. Tina and I had decided to make our last Christmas less about presents and getting, and wanted to spend our money to model God giving us His son, Jesus Christ, the greatest gift that has ever been given. We let the kids choose through Compassion International to give kids in other countries gifts. The kids loved it and Micah, our son, was ecstatic to give soccer balls to kids who have never owned one before.
In the course of our searching, Tina and I wanted to give something, as well, and we came across International Justice Mission and their Advent Conspiracy program. It was less the program itself than the information we started to gather when we poked around on their website. It led us to put the book “Not For Sale” on our Christmas list, and my Aunt Jackie was nice enough to get it for us.
When I cracked open that book I wasn’t fully ready for the number it would do on my mind, on my heart, and on my soul. David Batstone’s book was like twelve rounds with the champ. I was worn down by the end and completely aghast at how I was not even aware that hundreds of thousands of people around the globe are forced into slavery and trafficked around the world to fulfill the demands of their “owners”.
I was particularly appalled by Batstone’s chapter on the sex slave trade and the issue that it has become around the world and specifically in Eastern Europe. It was hard to believe that smart, young women and girls were being conned into lives of forced slavery where they could have sex with up to 25 “Johns” a day. I wanted to find out more about this and have spent a number of months stewing on sex slavery, it’s path of devastation, what causes it, and what can be done and what is already being done to combat it.
Sex slavery is much bigger than we think, and the problem is global. In today’s high-tech and glocal society, it is not a problem that is isolated pockets, but the trade weaves a crooked path that connects third world and first world, Western and Eastern. It is no longer, “not our problem”, if a girl in Moldova or Cameroon is sold into slavery, since these girls end up in strip clubs in Las Vegas, massage parlors in Chicago and Duluth, and brothels in New York and St.Louis. It is estimated that 600-800,000 people are trafficked into the United States every year and 12.3 million are estimated to be in slavery around the world.
However, not everyone that is in sex slavery are trafficked victims. Many domestic stories exist of kidnapped, coerced, or seduced women and children that are forced into prostitution. In fact, I just finished watching Anderson Cooper 360 that had a story about a 15-year old in Minnesota who was seduced by a pimp and was abused and forced into prostitution through advertisements on Backpage.com. We must remember not only the women from third world countries, both those right here at home that disappear into a life of hellish existence as the sexual servant of an abusive pimp and sex-hungry “johns”.
Among these victims, the majority of them are women and children. It is reported that 80% of trafficking victims are women and 50% of trafficking victims are minors. According to UNICEF, there are an estimated 2 million children in commercial sex slavery. These are children, the future of our world, being exploited and used to satisfy the sexual desires of men who need to fuel their desires. This problem is compounded by statistics like this, that find one-third of adolescent girls in some third world countries report their first sexual experience was forced. Cultures around the globe are setting up their women for sexual slavery when their first experiences of sex are coerced. As one organization puts it, “The story must change”.
Frankly, I could spout a lot of statistics, and make a lot of claims, but the bottom line is that sex trafficking is real, it’s in our backyard, and it’s around the world. It is a problem that goes much deeper that the “supply” of victims, and our next post will delve deeper into the “demand” side of sex slavery and explore the world of the “John” or “customer” of a sex slave.
If you desire some more information, let us know, and we would be happy to link you up with information and organizations that have diligently researched sex slavery and can provide files and publications that go in-depth into this global human rights issue.
You can find the original post HERE.