Today I want to speak bluntly about the human trafficking that is not happening in Asia or some for resort center. As distressing as I find all that, today I want to talk about our own daughters and sons who have been caught up in the sex industry here in the USofA. And please don't irritate me by telling me they have a choice, because we all have choices, my friend, yet the nation faces rampant obesity, family crushing debt and retail's now pervasive discourtesy. If we can't get even that together, the time to wag fingers at other's challenges is long gone. We all have temptations and believe me when I say I am grateful beyond words that mine is being snippy and eating chocolate, which is not good, but more slowly destructive FOR ME than what many face. In fact, I hope that looking at these young faces (which are often younger than they appear after a short time being bought and sold for the profit and plastic 'pleasure' of others) we all thank God humbly that we are not caught in that nightmare.
I came to believe a long time ago that every time I let myself wallow around in fear, I tend to attract the very thing I fear. This is why I always walk with purpose, keep my head up, and watch my environment with a confident posture, because that is not attractive to muggers.
But there is one place where I never really overcame my sense of fear and dread. That was when I had a retail job that brought me into contact with the "business agent" of the working girls at the end of the night shift. The young man had dead eyes, tried to walk cocky but looked like he was made out of concrete, and treated "his girls" with a contempt that would have attracted the attention of any ASPCA worker if "his girls" had been "his puppies." I was as gentle and courteous as I knew how to be toward these young women, but I stayed as far away from their keeper as I could and still stay in the light and public eye. Very scary to be going home with that.
Though it is unpopular to say so in our culture, there is a reason vices are considered vices: they cause harm even when embraced "freely". The cost to dignity, hope and self is staggering. Frankly it is particularly disturbing to see a black man buying and selling black women (whether as the business manager or the "john") considering the historical context. Slavery, is slavery, is slavery. And 'business' transacted in the shadows is never kinder, more ethical or fairer that what is done in the open, so no part of this is good for anyone involved.
TV writers may like to show beautiful young law students working their way through school on their backs, but this is not the norm and please don't buy that lie. Many of these young people (of both genders) are seduced, inveighed into drugs which both causes a financial need AND dulls the pain of the lifestyle. They are lured away from families, debased, demoralized, demeaned and have shorter life expediencies because of the means used to keep them docile....drugs, physical violence, financial abuse and shame. Because some of these folks who may have options choose to continue in the trade only makes the more numerous young people who by circumstance or coercion or just a basic lack of belief that they are worth any more, even more brutal. Such sex workers and their customers want to believe it is all "between consenting adults" immediately before ranting about the horrors of foreign textile workers. In any situation where one group wants to extract services from another with only coerced consent it is soul destroying for all participants. Sometimes money is involved, but any exchange of valuables is the same, even when the "value" is a place to sleep or drugs to dull the pain or the threat of INS or DFS involvement.
Please pray for these young people and all who are in any way involved. Because, no matter how much the legal system speaks otherwise, everyone involved in sexual coercion is contributing to the problem and suffers from the consequences. There are no winners here.
O God who is God in all places, convict your children of this: Your love of them is great and You demand nothing in return. Instead You offer a relationship that pours out healing, hope, redemption and renewal, a life of hope and purpose. Let all know that this verse is for them, for each and all of us today: I love you, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, so I shall be saved from my enemies. The cords of death encompassed me; the torrents of perdition assailed me.* Show us, Lord, how to shine your love and healing into the lives of each and all of your most broken children. AMEN
* Psalm 18:1-4