This weekend Atlanta will host one of the world’s largest sporting events, the Super Bowl. Anti-trafficking groups are already on the ground identifying victims of sex trafficking and leading them to the freedom and resources they desperately need. Law enforcement personnel are working hard also.
Rescues will be made. Arrests will happen. We all want to see justice served for something as heinous as sexual exploitation. We want the perpetrators stopped. We want sex trafficking to end.
Though rescues and arrests are important, sex trafficking is a multi-layered problem that won’t be solved by rescues and arrests alone. Pimps will recruit more victims to sell as long as there are buyers to purchase them.
At the root of the problem of sex trafficking is the problem of sexual brokenness. We’ve become more comfortable talking about sex trafficking, but we’re not very comfortable talking about sexual brokenness. This has to change. While sex trafficking affects a small percentage of people, sexual brokenness affects every single one of us. Identifying with that brokenness in those around us is key to ending sex trafficking.
Many years ago, God began to break my heart over the issue of sexual brokenness. It was a gradual process that began when I started working for Out of Darkness, a ministry in Atlanta that helps women leave the life of prostitution.
As I talked with the women we served, I witnessed deep brokenness in their lives that was almost unfathomable. Their recovery was long, difficult, and expensive. Many of them relapsed and went back to the life they knew best, the life of prostitution. I wanted to help them, but even more, I didn’t want anyone else to experience the trauma, abuse, and bondage they had experienced.
God began to show me that the men (predominately) who perpetrate sex trafficking need a rescue also, but of a different kind. They are trapped in their own form of sexual bondage. They need to understand the sacredness of sexuality as God designed it. They need help with their skewed understanding of sexuality that leads them to the point of buying someone else. They need someone to identify with their sexual brokenness and lead them to Christ who is the only One who can truly change their hearts.
I also began to realize that I had my own issues related to sexual brokenness, ways that I’d misused my sacred sexuality, not appreciated God’s good design of my body, or devalued sexual intimacy in my marriage.
Sex trafficking and sexual brokenness are sad realities of our day that touch the tender heart of our Father God.
King Solomon wrote, “Then I looked again at all the acts of oppression which were being done under the sun. And behold I saw the tears of the oppressed and that they had no one to comfort them; and on the side of the oppressors was power, but they had no one to comfort them (Ecclesiastes 4:1 NASB).”
There is a need for compassionate conversation around sexual topics today, especially in the Christian Church and in our homes. There’s also a great need for authenticity. The Fall affected every aspect of our humanity, including our sexuality. We are all sexually broken. We were all exposed to sexual things along the way that impacted us deeply. Many among us were abused or exploited by someone sexually. We all need the Savior’s tender touch, grace, and healing.
Very few of us had parents who understood the sacredness of sexuality and were able to teach and model it for us. Very few of us understand it enough to lead our kids now, but we need to grow in our understanding of it, for our families and for the health of our communities.
This weekend you’ll no doubt see articles about anti-trafficking efforts underway in Atlanta. You’ll read stories about victims rescued. You’ll see mug shots of those arrested. And on some level you’ll be glad that justice was served. But I hope on another level you’ll see the person behind every story. A person with a deep need.
Every victim of sex trafficking, every pimp, and every buyer needs to hear of the sacredness of his or her sexuality. Maybe it’s a little late for those you’ll read about this weekend. I pray they learn it at some point. But it’s not too late to share this with the boy or girl growing up in your home. It’s not too late for your young grandchild or another child you love.
Let’s keep talking about sex trafficking. But let’s also talk compassionately about sexual brokenness. Let’s learn about the sacredness of sexuality, how we can live it out through the power of Christ, and how we can lead the next generation to do the same.
Founder and CEO
TrueNorth Freedom Project, Atlanta, GA
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