Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sex Trafficking and Second Chances

(Guest Writer - Katie Corbett, VA) I teach American History and recently we were discussing the abolition movement. For those of you who are not familiar with the our nation’s history, this movement called for the outlawing of slavery in the spirit of Thomas Jefferson’s eloquent and immortal words in the Declaration of Independence: “all men are created equal.” Men like William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglas took Jefferson’s words to heart and led a movement to see change and equality brought to America.

A few days ago when I was telling my students about the inhumane treatment forced upon many slaves, one of my dear, sweet students raised her hand and said, “Ms. Corbett, I am so thankful slavery like this doesn’t exist.” Yes, my cherub, keep on believing that. Reality is quite different. In Thailand, half-a-world away and completely foreign to most of us, slavery is still very much alive. Women, no, young girls are being sold on a daily basis, not to pick cotton, but to sell the very last thing they own – themselves. Today in Thailand there are approximately 1.8 million sex slaves, 400,000 under the age of 12. These are just babies, the age of my sixth graders.

These women are defiled daily, giving way their dignity and their self-worth. In a country ravaged by poverty, sex drives the economy. It only takes $24 to buy a Thai woman for 24 hours. These women are valued at $1 per hour! American men flock by the thousands for cheap sex, calling their homebound wives from the lobbies of swanky hotels, just blocks from massive go-go bars. It is estimated that close to $27 billion is made through the sex industry in Thailand each year. Think about that! Really, think it over. These are women, just like our moms and sisters and aunties and little cousins that we love and hold so dearly, treated like trash and discarded just the same!

This should sicken us and break our hearts. But the problem is so big and so distant. Lucky for us, there are ministries that are trying to bring to light the atrocities of the sex trade. Last year, the movie/rockumentary Call + Response was released by the art and music community to raise awareness of human trafficking. Also amazing ministries like Freedom424 has been launched. $24 is all it takes to set a woman free from abuse for an entire day. Freedom424 goes into these bars, purchases these women and brings them back to the safe house, where they are honored and valued as women. Their hair is washed and their nails are painted. They are given a solid meal and most importantly their souls are fed with the gospel. These women are offered the chance to leave the bars and learn a new skill or trade. They are given a chance at a new life.

As Edmund Burke well said, "“Nobody makes a greater mistake than he who does nothing because he could only do a little.” Christians above all others should know the value of a second chance, of a new life. For us, this should become an unavoidable issue.


Christine said...

The article that Katie wrote is incredible. Jonathan, I want to thank you for stirring the pot. I just had to tip my hat to Katie and express my deepest thanks for her love and words for the oppressed.



mandreas said...

Now, that's pro-life!!! Praise God for groups of people that are bold enough to go and share love to girls and women in need.

In fact, I've heard (not verified) that partially due to population growth, there are more slaves in the world today than at any time in human history. The Church should be doing more to step up and put an end to slavery and sex trafficking around the world.