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Since being involved in this cause to end sex trafficking, I have learned that men who engage in pornography, often are led to engage in the acts that they have seen via media. These men are often led to purchase sex (who are considered as “johns”). This is what we call DEMAND and because there is a demand, the sex traffickers have cause to SUPPLY the “merchandise”─our daughters, nieces, sisters and granddaughters. The johns are found to be men of different races and economic status; family men and bachelors; Christian men and non-believers─men from different walks of life.
At an anti-trafficking summit, a man named Carl* came to my table. He shared with me that he grew up in a Christian household, with his mother, father and two sisters. He told me that he molested his younger sisters when he was a teenager. I asked him if he was into pornography. He replied yes; that he found VHS tapes in his parents’ bedroom and they were filled with porn. He not only watched those but also programs on HBO; all of which his parents had no idea. His story brought me to my own personal story which sounds almost the same as Carl’s. My older brother molested me and my sister for several years when he was a teenager. When I confronted him as an adult, he told me that he had been looking at porn magazines during that time.
Carl’s story also made me think of my girlfriend’s father. A few years back Cindy’s* father had a nervous breakdown and had to be hospitalized. The root cause was that he had been addicted to pornography for the entire 30 years that he was in ministry. He was an elder is his church. One day he had a melt down when he questioned how God could love him or use him to minister to others when he had engaged in this secret sin. Like Carl, Ted Bundy also grew up in a Christian home with both parents. Bundy is the infamous serial killer who raped and murdered young women and girls in the 1970’s. In an interview with Dr. James Dobson, Bundy admitted to viewing pornography as a teenager. He also said that many fellow rapists in the prison did the same.
Pornography personally affected me as a child, which I’ve already shared, and also as an adult. When my son was 12 years old I had let him borrow my new lap top. I had a parental program on the home desk-top computer, but not my lap top. My son had been viewing sites linked to football and clicked on a pop-up window that had been blinking on the right side of the screen. It led him to pornography videos (unbeknownst to me). Later when I viewed the history, I was assaulted and horrified at videos of live footage with titles such as “Mother and Son,” and “Gang Rape.” There is a very good chance that these were not actors, but that of true, real-life people. There is also a very good chance that the women/girls (and boy) were actually sex slaves, who were forced or coerced (and most likely drugged) into these pornography acts. After I viewed these videos which were literally for only seconds, I had those images in my mind for at least 2 weeks afterwards. As each unwelcomed memory flashed before my mind, I became sickened with the thought that my 12 year old son was also seeing them in his mind’s eye.
In addition, while facilitating a healing workshop for survivors of sexual abuse, I came to learn of a story from a woman whose father not only viewed pornography, but also produced it with his daughters as his subjects. All of these are evidence that pornography is not harmless. It is not a tool for fathers to help their sons become men. It is not a tool to enhance the romance in a marriage relationship. Pornography is like a drug. Dr. Daniel Amen, a renowned neurologist has done studies on the brain that prove that pornography affects the brain in very much the same way as drugs, such as heroin. Like drugs, pornography is addictive and destroys lives. Pornography is known to lead to sex acts such as rape, molestation, incest, and buying sex. Pornography objectifies women and girls (or boys). Pornography desensitizes.
It is my desire to raise awareness on this issue, which includes within the walls of the Christian church. A study in 2014 by Barna Group concluded that 95% of born-again Christian men admitted to viewing porn and 54% admitted to viewing porn monthly. With these stats in mind, we must realize that we have men/teens in our churches/groups who have a problem with pornography but are most likely afraid to talk about it. As long as it is kept secret the enemy uses it as a stronghold. Consequently, other strongholds are erected such as guilt, shame, depression, and self-hatred. It is my hope that we bring this topic out in the open and deal with it instead of letting it stay hidden in the darkness.
If you or someone you know would like help with overcoming a sexual addiction, please consider contacting Nathan Project. Founder Rick Kardos and his team train leaders to facilitate FMO “For Men Only” groups in churches/men’s groups. Nathan Project also offers FWO “For Women Only” support groups for spouses. Nathan Project is located in New Hampshire, but their support groups are located throughout the US. You may have a group in your area. If not, you can get one started with their help. I also encourage pastors and ministry leaders to offer books and/or curricula on this topic. I recommend a book called Pure Desire by Ted Roberts.
*Names have been changed
This blog came from the blog of the NYT bestselling author Francine Rivers. She and I share the passion to see sex trafficking abolished in our country. Her piece contains pertinent information that will raise awareness and help to prevent sex trafficking.
"Girls between the ages of 12 – 14 are primary targets for sex traffickers. Predators don’t come after them openly. They frequently use a girl or woman who can be more easily trusted. She will go into a mall and strike up a conversation with a girl, then begin an on-line friendship. Facebook is a primary tool because girls love to chat and give out personal information. A predator is after a child’s secrets and many are shared on-line. The predator has easy access to the pre-and-early teen girl’s inner thoughts, interests, schedule, friends, family problems, etc. Parents check now and then, but a predator is actively watching. They seek out girls who are from broken homes or in a crisis situation (a recent move, death in the family, argument with parents or siblings, rebelling against house rules, etc.) waiting for an opportunity to take the child captive.
When the predator sees an opportunity, the “friend” invites the girl somewhere. “I’m sorry your folks are on your case. Why don’t you come chill at my house for a while?” If the girl shows up, it may be the last time the family ever sees her. She will be "broken" immediately (raped and traumatized), moved out of the area within 24 hours, and put to work as a prostitute. Some of these children are forced to have sex with more than 10 men a day. This is BIG business for drug cartels and gangs who are actively searching for new girls (products) to stock their business. They do email blasts to customers (found through on-line porn sites) and bring a girl into an area for 24-48 hours. Appointments are made ahead of time.
The expected lifespan of a trafficked child is 6 years. They die of AIDS, hepatitis, botched abortions, abuse and sometimes murder. Those that are rescued often suffer PTSD that is equal to that of war veterans. Facilities to help rescued victims are few and far between, yet 1.7 million children go missing in the U.S.A. each year! How many of those are sex trafficked victims? A low estimate is 170,000. This is not just happening to girls. Twenty-thirty percent of the sex trafficked children are boys."
How is this possible?
- Naïve teens; limited experience, peer pressure, rejection of authority figures (parents)
- Uninformed parents
- 24/7 access to technology (Facebook; internet)
- Disarming recruitment methods (contacting children in malls)
- Predators on cyberspace
- Uninformed churches and civic organizations
- Uninformed police forces
- At risk families
- Organized crime ($32 BILLION industry worldwide; $8 BILLION in the U.S.A. – Sex Trafficking is the fastest growing crime in the country)
- Casual sex is the norm
- Gangs selling “territory” to cartels looking for new “product” for their customers
My Advice to Parents
- Educate your children. If they have “new friends” on Facebook whom you don’t know, find out who they are. Tell your children the truth about what is happening so they will not put themselves in danger and can warn their friends to be cautious as well.
- Purchase the DVD called The Love Trap Program: What Every Parent Needs to Know About Sex Trafficking. ($7.00) Consider giving copies to youth pastors, school principles, family and friends with children. www.millionkids.org
Excerpt from the "Good News Today" July 2015
Susan was molested by her father and her mother was addicted to drugs. She was taken from her home by child services at age ten and lived in the foster care system until the age of eighteen when she “aged out” of the system. She was forced to take to the streets with a single suitcase.
It was mid-January in Rhode Island and Susan was freezing. It was just beginning to snow when a young man drove up beside her in his new, heated Infiniti and offered to take her for a cup of coffee. She hesitated for a moment, but he was cute and she could really use some warmth and rest, not to mention, she hadn’t eaten since dinner-time yesterday. She thought, “Maybe he’ll feed me lunch too.” So she got in.
By the end of the day, Rocko told Susan that she was beautiful and that he’d like to take care of her. He offered his place to her. She loved the way he made her feel wanted and safe. And she felt flattered by his invitation to live with him. She thought that it had to be better than staying in the shelter where she found it hard to sleep because of the noise and the fact that she had to lie beside dozens of strangers who would steal the shoes right off her feet if they had the chance.
In the first few weeks, Rocko was wonderful. Her fed her three meals a day, paid for her manicures, and bought her new clothes, including a gorgeous leather jacket. He told her he loved her and that maybe one day they would get married. Everything changed on the day when Rocko told Susan that he didn’t have money for the rent. He told her that she could make them a load of money if she sold her body. He told her that in one day, she could make enough for a whole month’s rent. He told her that if she loved him, she would do it for him. Susan didn’t have to think too hard on it, because deep inside she felt that this was all that she was good for. When she was five years old, her dad began having sex with her and it lasted until the age of ten. When she was in her second foster home, her older foster brother also had sex with her. Hence, she learned at a young age that her value was based on satisfying men’s sexual desires.
Susan told Rocko that she would do it for him, so that he could pay the month’s rent. “But only for one day”, she told him. The following week, when Rocko told her that he needed her to sell her body again because he didn’t have money for the groceries, she told him “No.” That’s all it took, just one word. Rocko took his right fist and knocked Susan out cold on the kitchen floor. When she came to, he told her that he would kill her if she ever told him no again. From that day forward, everything was different.
Susan soon learned that if she didn’t turn tricks and earn at least a thousand dollars a day, she would get beaten severely. She had to work three hundred and sixty-five days a week, all through the day and night, whether on blistering hot summer days or sub-zero winter days. After a year’s time, Susan tried to leave Rocko and the life. Rocko, however, always kept a keen eye on Susan and the other girls, and he eventually caught up to her and beat her so badly that she was in bed for a week.
While in bed that first night, she realized how dumb it was to try to leave. After all, where would she go? She remembered what it was like when she went a whole day without eating, and how lonely she was, with no one to talk to or tell her she was beautiful. It’s true that he now had three other girls whom she had to share Rocko’s affections with, and it’s true that every now and then he beat her, but that was her own fault. At least now she belonged to someone. Rocko was all she had. And she was his.
And because Susan felt this sense of belonging and loyalty to Rocko, she laughed at the Christian who approached her on the street one day, and told her that her organization could rescue her. Rescue her from what or whom? Rocko was her boyfriend—her family. He loved her and she loved him. And if she were to leave the life, where would she go? What would she do? She had no relatives that cared about her, and no skills to support herself. What’s even more important, is the fact that Susan had zero self-confidence and self-worth. This life and all that it entailed was all that she felt worthy of. And it was all that she knew.
Fear Out. Faith In.
If I Only Had A Heart
Is Your Heart Soft Or Hard?
Love Or Lies?
Lust Vs. Love
NO MORE SECRETS
Sex Trafficking In My Backyard
The Church Has Left The Building
What Does Love Look Like