Archives For sex trafficking

You Want to #EndIt?

February 27, 2014 — 20 Comments

endit

First, let me state I’m grateful for the voices in the End it Movement. I’m glad to see respected voices of men and women publicly denouncing human trafficking. I’m historically leery of any sort of fad or fanfare around this subject, while still maintaining a consistent gratefulness toward people who are saying something instead of nothing. So first, thank you!

Sadly though, for the vast majority of people, one day, or five days, or ten, or whatever amount of time you give to thinking about the atrocity of human trafficking, and sex slavery specifically, is not enough to End It.

You have to act. And acting on this stuff is not as hard as we make it seem—or as easy as marking a red X on your hand or buying a tshirt or retweeting a tweet. There are actual things you can do in your home and life to end slavery in our lifetime.

1. If you engage in pornography in any way, stop.

I’ve taken hits on my consistent linking of sex-slavery to pornography, but I will say this as loudly and consistently as I can: supply and demand. If you engage in pornography in any way, you are creating a demand for which there is a limited supply of girls to fulfill.

But, which is more, you are creating a demand in your own life and appetite for something which can not be sustained at the level at which you currently engage it. No man who flies over to Thailand to rape a five year old little girl began with that as his end goal. Somewhere back in the line of his life, he allowed a thirst for sexual sin to root in his life.

Stop watching pornography. Get Covenant Eyes on all your devices. Confess. Repent. Read this book. Stop.

2. If you want to see slavery ended in our lifetime, you have to invest in the places that are actually ending it.

It is very easy to jump on a bandwagon where gimmicky bracelets and tshirts and all manner of things are worn or won in an effort to state your position on the subject. But the reality is, those girls aren’t rescued by you wearing a cheap plastic bracelet.

Sorry if I’m coming down hard here, but I will say this over and over and over again: pacifying your need to engage in a movement does not do one lick of help to a nine year old child who is stuck in a cage in Kamathipura, India.

I don’t mean to be all “we need your money” but we need your money. That’s the reality of rescue and rehabilitation. There are organizations all over the world who are actually rescuing and rehabilitating who need resources from people like you.

If you have five or ten dollars a month, or $100 or $200 a month, these places have staff who are going into very dark places day after day after day to rescue women and children. Most of us wouldn’t last a few minutes in those situations, but these people faithfully go to build relationships with girls who have been trafficked, children who have been born in brothels, and men whose hearts have been darkened. Support these people.

Here are some of the best organizations I know of and what their specific focus is on the subject:

Project Red Light Rescue (rescue and rehabilitation)
International Justice Mission (legal and political action)
Unearthed Pics (raising awareness)

Sorry for going all ranty on you. But not sorry.

Image by Hazel Thompson in partnership with Project Red Light Rescue’s CAGE book (which I highly recommend).

One of the most common questions I get about sex-trafficking is, “But don’t some of the women in the sex industry choose that lifestyle?” I know at that point the questioner’s knowledge of the sex-industry comes from Pretty Woman and other glamorized entertainment (including billboards & ads, no matter how air-brushed and smiling they are).

There’s a three year old girl who’s been giving favors to her stepdad since she was old enough to talk. It might hurt, but it’s as normal to her as eating Cheerios and playing with My Little Pony. When she’s a teenager someone offers to pay her for doing something as normal to her as brushing her teeth, painting her nails. Her body has never belonged to her, why should it start now?

There’s a 14 year old girl who’s been bullied into giving her boyfriend’s friend sex, or else.

There’s a impoverished family in Asia with three young daughters to feed and so three daughters to give to the guy down the street who will sell them for an hour or two to the highest bidder. The family gets to eat one more day.

There’s a 18 year girl in Moldova who’s been in orphanages since she was six or seven, after her parents left the country to find better work for themselves. She’s aging out. She’s pretty and quiet and on the hunt for a honest job to provide for herself. She accepts a job as a dancer, a housekeeper, or a factory worker. She is tricked, drugged, and trafficked for use in pornographic material.

There’s a 12 year old runaway from Grand Rapids. She’s been abused at home since she was little and just wants to be safe. A guy finds her, promises to help her, feeds her, clothes her, and forces her to prostitute herself at night in order to keep herself fed and clothed.

There’s a 13 year old girl in South America promised a job cleaning houses. She is beaten, raped repeatedly, her will broken, and then given addictive drugs so she will need her captor, even in her broken stupor. She is then transported across the border into the United States where she is brought to men in truck stops along the interstate that runs behind your house.

And yet:

There’s a guy in front of his computer late at night watching images he thinks only affect him.

There’s a group of men on a business trip taking their pick of a girl.

There’s a man at a bar in Chicago leering at a young woman stripping.

There’s a father touching his daughter late at night.

There’s a traveler walking into a red light district out of a sick curiosity.

There’s you, in your car, driving past a woman of the night. If you’re judging her because you think she chose to be there, your moral compass has been calibrated to the Pretty Woman culture. No one chooses that lifestyle. No one asks to be raped, exploited, trafficked, paraded, blackmailed, or abused.

I never use the word prostitute because it doesn’t matter to me how much money a girl, or her captor, pimp, father, brother, or trafficker, is getting for her body: she is not the one making a living there.

Next

October 25, 2013 — 9 Comments

One thing I have never wanted to do on Sayable is be gimmicky. I don’t want to sell things (those ads to the right were a long time in coming and I debate whether I’ll keep them or not). I don’t want you to feel pressure to comment, contact me, follow me, subscribe to me, or have anything to do with me. I want Sayable to be about the gospel and Jesus. Because it is written by me there’s going to be a lot about me here. But I like to keep it as deflective as possible. I hope you know that.

Because of that personal preference, I have hesitated to write much about something near and dear to my heart. My day job.

I love my job. If you had asked me in college to craft my dream job, this is it. If you had asked me four years ago what I wanted to be doing in four years, this is it. If you had asked me what demographic of people I felt burdened most for, it’s the people we get to help every day. If you had asked me what kind of co-workers and employers I’d want to spend the most of my time with, these are the people.

I love my job.

So it was with much hesitation this year when I felt the Lord nudging me toward other things. I balked, I meandered, I argued, I asked again and again and again: Are you sure, Lord? Because this? This I love. But again and again the answer was yes. The opportunities to do things out of my comfort zone, but within my gift-set were rising and I was having to say no or not yet to so many of them.

Proverbs 18:10 has been a verse I’ve set before me as my trust barometer: A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before kings. God has been faithful to make room for me and bring opportunities into my life, I needed to trust the room and kings were good and of Him.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

In the next month I will be phasing out of my position in the creative department at Sower of Seeds International Ministries. I will leave knowing I have been faithful to work hard, work deep, rebrand, set a standard for the design department here. I will also leave with so many unfinished projects and unseen dreams done. I love this place. Not just because it’s my job, but because in my time here I have seen many other ministries doing what we’re doing in the world, and I honestly haven’t seen the kind of integrity and faithfulness to the local church and gospel I see here.

SOS is not about gimmicks and the social gospel. The men and women who work here are not out for fame, fortune, or their own futures. They do not sell a product or raise money for personal gain. We love the gospel and seeing dead bones come to life.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The purpose of this post is two-fold.

One, I wanted to let you know what the next phase of life looks like for me. I’ll be working on some large writing projects, speaking to women with some women I love (more on both of those things soon), preparing for marriage, picking up graphic design jobs (hire me if you need book covers, branding, invitations, etc. I’m game for anything.), blogging more regularly, and just generally making a go of it as a freelancer again. You are my network, so if you think of something you think I’d be perfect for, let me know! Sky’s the limit.

But second, I wanted to just point you to an amazing non-profit doing on-the-ground work in a local church context. Every well we dig, every girl who is rescued from the red light district, every child who is fed—all this happens in connection to the local church in India and north Texas. We believe the gospel is the hope of every person and the most effective way to give the gospel to someone is to meet their felt need and connect them with people who will walk with them. If you’re looking for a place to invest your time, finances, or resources, consider Sower of Seeds International Ministries. There’s nothing in that for me. Just want to leave this place commending them and recommending them to you.

Here’s a short sample of one thing we get to do:

Thanks for indulging in this little post about me.

IF : GATHERING

June 19, 2013

I was 22 when I first wore mascara.

In our home beauty was a scorned woman and adornment her harlotry. I asked for my first nail polish when I was nine and my father offered toilet water instead. I ran crying to my room and it was a family joke, but I still don’t paint my nails.

My brains were my brawn and I was the first and only to graduate from college and twice over. I made a tent of my blankets, lit by a flashlight, and read Emily Dickinson, the plain and proper poet. Women are workhorses and beauty is fleeting; fear the Lord and the father, never be a robust and full and beautiful woman. She is the whore on the street stealing innocence from the eyes of boys.

Be smart, but not too smart.

A few years ago a friend told me what he appreciated most about me was my femininity, that I was wholly his sister and he my brother; that my femininity was trustworthy, and I wept from the backseat.

My womanhood is the biggest wrestle of my soul, every time I glimpse a peek at the beauty within, I convince myself of its vaporousness and it flees. Charm is deceitful, but it doesn’t always say you are the most beautiful, sometimes it says you are the most unworthy.

My heart, more than anything, is to take the faces of women around me, wipe the black from the eye-rims and the red from their lips, point them to a mirror where their blemishes are bold and say, “This. This is the you He loves. This is the you He values. This is the you He came to redeem.”

Because we are so hurried in our covering, so quick to fix, and slow to let bloom.

I have never thought myself as a teacher, but like Robert Frost said, “as an awakener.” I want to awaken the worth in the heart of women, to show them their minds and hearts are as valuable as any other attribute, maybe more. I want to wake it in myself, but I know of no other way to do that than to do it alongside others. I want to ask the question: If, then?

If God created and it was good, then what?

If God knit us together, just as we are, then what?

If God formed our minds, our bodies, and our souls, then what?

If God, then what?

Will you join a generation of women in asking those questions?

On February 7-8, 2014 in Austin, Texas, we’ll be gathering to discuss, dream, and determine what it can look like it we see God at the helm of us, and all of us poured out, blemishes and brokenness, and all to Him.

Sign up now for the IF Gathering.

Join Jennie Allen, Lauren Chandler, Ann Voskamp, Jen Hatmaker, and all of us as we work to awaken our generation of women to the beauty of God’s goodness and design.

IF : LEAD
We are gathering and uniting a team of women, who already lead our generation, and unleashing them to lead in their spheres of influence. Together we will create a community and foster an ethos – connecting, encouraging and collaborating together.

IF : GROW
We are creating a blueprint for intentional equipping – reaching women with tools that are holistic, strategic and deep. By providing easy online access to a like-minded community and relevant resources, we will release women around the world to live out their purposes. // Online · 2014

IF : GATHERING
A fresh, deep, honest space for a new generation of women to wrestle with the essential question: IF God is real… THEN what? This 2-day conference brings women together and wrestles out how to live out the calling God has placed on our lives. // Austin, TX Feb. 7–8 2014

IF : GLOBAL
By partnering with organizations like Food for the Hungry, coming alongside women around the world, fostering relationships and utilizing our God-given gifts, our hope is that this movement will not only transforms hearts but leave a tangible impact on the world.

Sign up now for the IF Gathering.

Read what others are saying:

Jennie Allen
Lindsey Nobles
Jen Hatmaker
Sarah Bessey
Sarah Markley
Logan Wolfram
Kelly Stamps

“Give me an M16 and I’ll storm that brothel!”

“Oh, I just want to hold those girls and tell them they’re loved…”

These are the two responses I hear most often when I explain what sex-trafficking is and how it plays out in the industry.

These are also the two reasons I am passionate about educating others about the depths of the trafficking problem, because holding someone or storming a brothel cannot be the answer. It cannot be. 

At the core of every person is a heart that longs for some sort of fulfillment, some validation, or security. So it is that at the core of the trafficking problem are the hearts of men and women caught up in the web of the industry—from traffickers to pimps to johns to madams to the sex slaves themselves.

Continue reading Storming Brothels & the Hearts of Men.

Stop Sex Slavery: Redlight

This image was taken by Hazel Thompson in partnership with us at Project Red Light Rescue for the book CAGE. If you’d like more information on how you can be a part of infiltrating the red light district with the Gospel, connect with me here, attention Lore.