Sex for Sale, Kids for Sale, Sex with Kids for Sale (Bad News Week,2)

Yesterday was the start of a series looking at bad news and asking what the good news has to say about it. It’s sobering to actually think about what happens in our very own land–and most of us would prefer to remain intoxicated on spiritual highs than to reach into the pits where real people are suffering in a living hell. And yes, that includes the highs of living and working in the relative security of the academy. This writer gets that. If the problem of drug doesn’t get one thinking a little about the plight of others, let’s look at another, as described by the same source as yeaterday’s info.

Perhaps even more alarming is the rise of human trafficking in America.
When I was going through school, I was taught that slavery had been abolished in the United States.
But that was a lie.
Right now, thousands upon thousands of Americans are living as slaves. Most of them are sex slaves. As you read this, there are women all over America that are literally chained to beds in dark rooms where men pay their “owners” to have sex with them.
The following stats about human trafficking come from a recent Detroit Free Press article….
• Human trafficking is a $32-billion industry worldwide.
• Up to 2 million people are trafficked worldwide every year. Of those, 15,000-18,000 are in the U.S.
• Eight in 10 human trafficking cases involve the sex industry; the others involve labor trafficking.
• In 2010, 2,515 human trafficking cases were under investigation in the U.S.
• Eighty-three percent of victims in confirmed sex trafficking cases in the U.S. in 2010 were American citizens
Many Americans would be absolutely horrified to learn what goes on behind closed doors in America.
All over the nation tonight, vicious monsters will be selling or “renting” young children to other vicious monsters for sex.
The following story of one human trafficking victim comes from a recent Fox News article….
Today, Keisha Head is a wife and mother of three. But more than decade ago, she was the victim of a notorious human trafficker.
At 16-years old, Head says she was being sold on the streets of Atlanta for sex.
“I did not know that a normal, average man who was a preacher, who was a lawyer, who was a senator – could turn into this monster,” Head said. “That is the scariest moment when you are amongst people who claim to be normal yet they purchase you and they turn into these monsters. They rape you. They beat you. And then act as if they’re normal. These are not your normal pedophiles.”
When you push morality out of the schools and out of public life, this is the kind of thing that starts happening.
Thousands upon thousands of other women “work for themselves” on the streets of America. Some are willing to let strangers have sex with them for next to nothing.
For example, one woman in Los Angeles was recently arrested for approaching customers at one McDonald’s and offering sexual favors in exchange for Chicken McNuggets.

There are so many directions this information could take us; I’m hoping that comments from readers will explore some of them. One that I will touch on is why this monstrous evil has come so forcefully into our culture. Is it a matter of desperation in supplying necessities (such as Chicken McNuggets or other morsels for survival)? Is it a strictly economic decision? Is it greed? Is it a loss of moral fiber? All of the above?

Is the emphasis on sexuality in so much of our public media creating on one hand a demand by continually placing sex on our minds, and on the other a commodification of our bodies–making them nothing more than salable assets? Do other people become goods and services which we either consume ourselves or use for profit on the market? At least one thing should be clear: to the extent there is a law of supply and demand, the rules of economics applies here as well. With an increasing suppply, the price drops. And it is all of us that are cheapened in the process. Another market principle is at work: if the demand would decrease, the incentive to supply the goods would also fall.

Perhaps you and I are not the “normal, average man who was a preacher, who was a lawyer, who was a senator,” who becomes a monster. Judging by statistics on pornographic website visits–by both men and, increasingly, by women–there must be a lot of such normal folks creating a demand. Each visit lowers our estimation of the value any person holds; each one moves the viewer further along the monster scale.

Last week’s posts about the raisng of our estimation of animals to the moral standing of people has another side. Rather than raising our estimation of animals to our status, perhaps it has lowered our own standing to that of amoral animals, where virtue and worth are simply manufactured categories to the extent they exist at all. As Christians who believe and embrace the concept of the image of God, we have a lot of work ahead of us in restoring the only true source of dignity and (non-economic) value to human beings. How do we do that? What is the good news, and how do we put it out there where it is needed?

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7 thoughts on “Sex for Sale, Kids for Sale, Sex with Kids for Sale (Bad News Week,2)

  1. To borrow from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Life Together:

    The bright love of Christian service, agape, lives in the spiritual community; the dark love of pious-impious urges, eros, burns in the self-centered community…Self-centered love constructs its own image of other persons, about what they are and what they should become. It takes the life of the other person into its own hands. Spiritual love recognizes the true image of the other person as seen from the perspective of Jesus Christ. It is the image Jesus Christ has formed and wants to form in all people.

    • An excellent quote from an important source; though in a different context, Bonhoeffer knew all too well what the devaluing of (certain) persons resulted in–the dehumanizing of everyone.

  2. Thank you for bringing this up….and thank you for speaking specifically about the issue here in America. It is sad that much of The Church here in America is blind to it worldwide…and even more blind to it happening in America….

    I am reminded of a quote regarding human trafficking and slavery, “You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.” ~ William Wilberforce

    “Trafficking” is modern-day slavery and is the fastest-growing criminal industry in the world. Human trafficking, by definition, is the recruitment, transportation, harboring, or taking of people by means of threat, force, coercion, abduction, fraud, or deception for the purpose of exploiting them.

    The U.S. State Department estimates about 12.3 million (PDF) adults and children in forced labor, bonded labor, and forced prostitution around the world.

    There are some good resources available:
    The Slave Next Door: Human Trafficking and Slavery in America Today
    The Slave Across the Street – a true story, in which author Theresa Flores, shares how her life as an All-American, blue-eyed, blond-haired 15-year-old teenager was enslaved into the world of sex trafficking while living in an upper-middle class suburb of Detroit.

    Also, check out:
    http://www.unearthedpictures.org

  3. “Rather than raising our estimation of animals to our status, perhaps it has lowered our own standing to that of amoral animals, where virtue and worth are simply manufactured categories to the extent they exist at all.”

    Bugger. That’s pretty true.

    I don’t think it’s the fault of things like “taking God out of schools” or “forgetting our country’s moral beginnings.” I think it’s just a failure of the church. We (the church) loves to take credit for good things that benefit our society (like homeless shelters, pregnancy centers, etc.), but we like to blame bad things (like the continued existence of child sex trafficking) on society at large.

    We shouldn’t be surprised when an ungodly person does ungodly things. But we usually are surprised – as though we expect worldly people to live good lives without God?

    In both of these cases, Christians that I know tend to prefer protecting themselves and their family over actually going out and doing something. And so the problems of the world grow worse, and the church fails both at rescuing the world and at protecting their own families.

    I don’t think we mean to be blind to it. I, for example, have read more than a few articles on the subject and (just realized that I haven’t actually given any money towards) support International Justice Mission. Well, there, I’m a bleeding heart hypocrite. I was going to say that we don’t know what we CAN do to help. But I already had an idea (supporting IJM) and apparently hadn’t ever actually acted on it.

    (I read this thought somewhere and can’t recall where)
    One of the great evils of this life is that we can read about a problem, know that it’s wrong, shed some tears, and walk away feeling like we’ve actually DONE something, but we fail to do anything at all.

  4. Thanks for writing about this. I think education is part of the solution. Most people have no idea. There’s a Christian author, Kathi Macias, who is writing fiction about this topic, and because of reading her books, I can’t look at a seedy motel or the strip club on 422 without wondering, is this going on right here under our noses? It’s a deep problem with no easy answers. The guy (or girl) who looks at porn on the Internet probably didn’t just wake up one morning and think, I’m going to do this. It’s a slippery slope, to use a cliche. Sometimes it’s a lack of parental protection. How many kids find trashy magazines in their house that dad was trying to hide? It’s something many people wouldn’t think was a big deal, but it can open the door to much worse. We joke about sex and related topics, which makes it all seem like no big deal. And you’re right when you say it’s so much easier to stay on the high than get into the trenches where people need a hand to lift them up. We have no easy answers, but I’m afraid Jesus will hold us accountable for not knowing and not doing. Some days I wish I didn’t know about the evil that occurs in this world, but it doesn’t go away if I hide my head in the sand. Thanks for forcing the issue above ground.

  5. In a world where the culture around is scared to ascribe inherent worth to humanity at the expense of “offending the lesser species” out there, I agree that rather than raising animals to our standards, we have devalued humanity as a whole. I believe that one of the most powerful tools the church has in its arsenal is not only to teach about imagio (sp) Dei in the Word of God, but also to both encourage Christians and somehow proclaim to all humanity, to focus on the higher ideals of God and Christ. Simple in print here, although I know that is very difficult to work out but I have written about this subject (I have to upload it to wordpress) about the subject of human trafficking, but with my email below, if anyone would like a copy, please let me know

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