Archive for March, 2010

Red-light districts around the world beckon “shoppers” from all walks of life. Locals, business people, young, and old lustfully approach their marketplace. They evaluate their “merchandise” — young, old, attractive, homely, “new”, “used” — and make their offer. It makes me want to gag.

What has happened to our world?! How have people somehow become commodities? It happens along streets in the U.S., in strip bars, at interstate rest stops, and in cities and towns around the world. Pornography and virtual reality seem to twist together in the dark world of prostitution. Perhaps people seek pleasure, relief from stress, or adventure, who knows? But the COST is immense. People who buy sex are stripping girls, and boys, of more than just their clothes.

Forgive me. Perhaps I could more tastefully write about this, but you must realize that this is not a tasteful topic.

It is, to my great dismay though, a very real one. And it is a terribly complex animal. I recently took a graduate-level course dedicated to the topic of global sex trafficking. I’ve noticed a great deal of interest in my blog associated with my posts related to this issue… I am hoping you all are wanting to learn how to stop this phenomenon, not participate in it. I am hoping that as you dare to dig into the pain of those who are entrenched in it, that you will not lose hope. Yes, the world in which we live is consumed by greed, corruption, lust, and love of self. That does not make it right. It is not the way the world was meant to be.

The sale of sex is not a simplistic topic, and it is often — though not always — linked to human trafficking. Unfortunately trafficking, like prostitution, is a multi-faceted and complicated animal. A complete examination of either is beyond the scope of this blog. People are targeted and trafficked into the sex trade, agricultural work, domestic servitude, and manual and industrial labor situations. Those interested in more information on these may want to check out Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy, written by Kevin Bales (University of California Press, 2004). It’s excellent. He examines sexual slavery in Thailand, chattel slavery in Mauritania, charcoal makers in Brazil, brick makers in Pakistan, and farmers in India. It is a shuttering wake-up call regarding the lives of many who share our planet.

This past summer I had the unique opportunity to spend a month in India with some incredible women — women who happened to have come from one of the world’s most notorious red-light districts. How precious are their lives and stories, what a testimony to the healing power of the Lord! Though words struggle to truly express the emotions and experiences of that time, you are welcome to explore my earlier blogs on India. May you see, in the midst of the harsh reality of these issues, the humanity that suffers and the hope that remains.  In preparation for the trip, I wrote my term paper for the trafficking class on the situation in Mumbai. I wanted to understand why sex trafficking is so prevalent in the city of Mumbai, India (formerly Bombay).

Before continuing let me say this: India is a strikingly beautiful country. It is full of beautiful people, vibrant color, aromatic food, and stunning architecture. Its history stretches back before the time of Christ, and many cultures exist within its current borders. It is not my intention to disparagingly treat the people of India here. I hope to, rather, share some of my thoughts on the issues of trafficking and prostitution with those of you who seem to be searching for information in cyberspace. What conclusions you draw are up to you. I invite you to respond to this or any other entry, and I kindly remind you that trafficking and prostitution exist in many countries (including the U.S.).

…Here is an introduction to the world of trafficking. Ruchira Gupta directed the documentary The Selling of Innocents (Malofilm Communications, 1996). (It is not pornographic.)

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