You Can’t Care About Sex Trafficking
Picture a river. You and some friends are sitting on the grass enjoying conversation. Suddenly you hear someone splashing and crying for help. You turn and see a woman flailing in the water. She’s going to drown if no one comes to her aid. Without hesitation, you and your friends jump up, throw yourselves into the river, and swim out to the woman just in time to reach her and bring her safely to dry ground.
No sooner is the rescue complete than you hear cries coming from behind you and turn to see two more women in danger of drowning. You and your friends spring into action again and successfully pull these two women to safety as well. You’re soaked and panting from exertion. But before you can recover you turn and see four women coming down the river- and six more behind them – and ten more behind them!
WHAT’S THE SOURCE?
Question: At what point do you go upriver to see who is throwing these women in the river?
The women in this analogy represent victims of human sex trafficking. You and your friends are the church – rallying valiantly to try and meet the need of those being horrifically abused and treated as commodities. But that question again. Who – or what – is upstream, creating a steady flow of objectified human beings.
The answer: Pornography.
The corrosive effect caused by of the normalization of pornography in our culture has led to a coarsening of the hearts of men and, increasingly, women as well. True intimacy is not the product of physical nakedness; it is the product of emotional transparency. The eyes are the windows of the soul – not the buttocks, breasts, or genitals. Pornography represents a counterfeit intimacy that distorts both love and relationships. It demeans both the participants and the viewers.
Additionally, prolonged exposure to pornography creates cravings in the reward system of the brain of the onlooker. With children being exposed to pornography at younger and younger ages we run the risk of creating a new generation that will make the trafficking issue worse. Why? Just like drug users use start with gateway drugs and then move on to harder stuff, pornography use is also progressive.
I’ve heard the story multiple times. First, it’s pictures. When that doesn’t do it anymore, then it’s videos. And when videos fail to deliver, the next step is using an actual human being. Once that demand has been created, unscrupulous people see a financial “opportunity.” It’s easy to follow their logic. Once a drug dealer sells his stash of drugs he has to get more. But a trafficker or pimp can sell the same girl over and over and over again. I’ve had former pimps tell me they used pornography to “groom” their girls.
How anesthetized are we? Here’s one example: I actually saw a church youth group do a skit that was a take-off on “Pimp my Ride” while the adults laughed and applauded. The disconnect is staggering.
Porn → Demand → Trafficker = Sex trafficked human being
DEFEATING THE ATTITUDE
I applaud the church and ministry groups working to free trafficking victims. But you can’t care about sex trafficking unless you also care about pornography. That’s because pornography is at the root of the trafficking problem. The time has come for church leaders to realize that while they are exhorting congregants to take on rescuing sex trafficking victims, there are thousands of women – perhaps – millions, sitting in church with a silent scream going on in their heads, “My own marriage is falling apart because of pornography! Who’s going to rescue me?!”
To ultimately defeat sex trafficking we must first defeat the attitude that creates men who think that it’s okay to consume women and children for their own selfish sexual gratification – whether through pixels, photographs, films, or flesh.
Until we do there will always be more victims than hands to pull them to safety.
Until we do, not only will the sex trafficking problem continue to worsen – so will the health of our marriages and families.
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Until next time,
Steve Siler – Music for the Soul
Originally posted 3/22/16