Chapter 8: Sex for Money
Women and children are more susceptible to the crime of sex trafficking than men. That reason alone is why it is so important that we engage men in the fight against human trafficking.
I am thankful that the Restoration Project has produced a resource:
END: A Manual on How Men Can Combat Trafficking in Their Own Backyard
by Beth and Chris Bruno
I am reviewing this resource as I prepare for Part 3 of the human trafficking education and awareness series in my local community, where we will address the question, “Who’s Buying Sex?” The resource is now available as a digital download or paperback.
As I review this chapter of Refuse to do Nothing, I am again reminded of Gary Haugen’s words, violence “is simply a result of stronger neighbors harming weaker (45).” If we are to love our neighbors well and honor our God, who is a righteous judge, then we have a responsibility to respond as strong neighbors who protect and when necessary defend our neighbors, nationally or globally, who are weaker.
Through prostitution, strip clubs, and pornography, there is a growing demand to provide sex for money. In his new release, The Locust Effect, Gary Haugen, makes a compelling argument that the pimps and johns who provide the supply of human bodies for these crimes are not brave. “Commercial sex workers are at high risk for assault, rape, battery and murder (87)” at the hands of commercial sex providers. These providers use violence to enslave human beings into providing sexual services and they use violence to keep them enslaved. Indeed, that meets the very definition of modern-day slavery: When one person completely controls another person, using violence or the threat of violence, to maintain that control, exploits them economically and they cannot walk away (Not for Sale).
Pimps and johns may be able to meet the demand for sex for profit, but those who demand commercial sex are not brave either. “The men who create the demand for sex trafficking lurk in the shadows, hiding behind tinted windows or a computer screen and a fake name (85).”
It is important that we understand the demand for sex slavery, because without a demand, there can be no business. Professor Donna Hughes of the University of Rhode Island completed a study in 2004 to discuss the “Best Practices to Address the Demand Side of Sex Trafficking.”
In it, she mentions three factors:
- “The men who pay for sex,
- The profiteers, such as traffickers, pimps and brothel owners,
- and a culture that ‘indirectly creates a demand for victims by normalizing prostitution’ (85).”
More recent studies have also been conducted by:
Phil Marshall, Director of Research Communications Group
Addressing the Demand Side of Trafficking
Iris Yen, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology
Of Vice and Men: A New Approach to Eradicating Sex Trafficking by Reducing Male Demand through Educational Programs and Abolitionist Legislation
“Sex trafficking is the manifestation of how dark a soul can become when one is willing to sell another human life for selfish financial gain (85).” When we turn away from the realities of this demand, we also reveal how dark our own hearts have become.
What’s the problem with pornography?
“To fully address the issue of demand, we must address pornography…It is intrinsically linked to the slavery of millions…Pornography is a serious issue and needs to be addressed by individuals, couples and broader communities. What kind of people are we—what kind of society are we—if we turn our heads to violence and degradation enacted for the sexual pleasure of others (90-91)?”
“Pornography is the entry point for being willing to pay for sex. There is a link between what is observed in porn and what johns seek to buy in a real human being (92).”
Author, Kimberly McOwen Yim, recommends that we read Victor Malarek’s book, The Johns: Sex for Sale and the Men Who Buy It
“Malarek mentions that some men may regret buying sex and some may not, but throughout the world the attitudes are similar: These men’s wants, needs and desires reign supreme. ‘Entitlement, power, and control are the common factors when men search for paid sex’ (86).”
He continues, “while the porn industry tries to sell its product as a form of sexual liberation, free speech, and artistic expression, pornography is in essence prostitution, because it involves the purchase of another person’s body for sexual gratification. Therefore, the men who buy and watch porn are themselves johns (90).”
For more on pornography and ways to get help, check out:
Setting Captives Free, a free resource that provides online mentorship and helps people find freedom from habitual sins and learn to grow in grace.
Covenant Eyes resources and blog
What can you do? The Good News
Faith communities are getting involved in the fight against demand by educating pastors and congregations and training them how to combat the problem in their own communities. Organizations such as the International Justice Mission, Free the Slaves and the Not for Sale campaign provide focused tools and resources to help church leaders bring congregations together to address the problem (88).
You can be a part of the solution by:
- Educating yourself and others on the issue. Use any of the resources provided in this post or book discussion series, or check out additional information and resources provided through the organizations mentioned above.
- Praying and encouraging others to regularly pray about this issue and all of those who are in bondage as a result.
- Get a better understanding of the legislation, legislative process, opportunities for advocacy, and also get to know your local police “Law enforcement plays a crucial role in ending the demand (89).”
Note: Concerning the issues of sex trafficking and pornography, I want to be clear that men are not the only ones who are creating the demand and perpetuating this vicious cycle. There are women “johns” or “madames” and there is also a rising increase of women who regularly access pornography. However, the statistics reveal that men are overwhelmingly creating the demand and supply for commercial sex.
When we think about the issue of commercial sex from a Christian worldview, we must understand that everyone involved is enslaved to sin. The victim is a slave who has often lost hope that their lives can be any other way. Certainly they do not understand their full value as a human beings because they have been robbed of that understanding. The pimp or john is a man or woman who is created in God’s image. They too have lost sight of their creative purpose and calling and they have lost sight of the value of human life. Those who create the demand have a void they are seeking to fill and that void is more important than their relationship with God and others. This is the dark reality of the commercial sex industry and this is the darkness that we must bring to light and seek God’s truth that there is freedom in Christ to release captives from bondage and to transform the hearts of people when we are willing to lay down their idols. So the real question becomes, “Are we content to sit in the darkness or do we want true freedom for ourselves and others?”
NC Folks, we have two human trafficking education and awareness events coming up in the month of March. We will cover more of this topic in the event being held on March 22. Prior to that, we will discuss human trafficking, advocacy, and labor trafficking in the event on March 8. Please RSVP online at www.eventbrite.com and I look forward to seeing you then!
“What are some contributing factors in our culture that make abolishing commercial sexual exploitation difficult (92)?” What actions can you take right now to help overcome some of these factors?
Blessings, © Natasha Sistrunk Robinson 2014
Refuse to Do Nothing Book Discussion
Chapter 1: The issue of Human Trafficking
Chapter 2: We’ve Done This Before
Chapter 3: So you want to be an activist?
Chapter 4: Take Action #HumanTrafficking
Chapter 5: Be Brave, No Excuses
Chapter 6: Stop the Violence
Chapter 7: Not in My Backyard