For those that don’t know, my heart is really bent towards ministry to the poor, broken, and marginalized in our society. One topic that continually gets a lot of press in America is sex trafficking. We have all heard horror stories about women and children being sexually exploited and trafficked in the developing World. But what we do not hear a lot about in America are the local cases. Most Americans, indeed most Nashvillans (the city I live in) think that trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and children is something that happens in other places, but that is not true at all. I recently read an article in the Nashville City paper about a man that kidnapped four women ranging in age from 18-24 from the Atlanta area and threatened to hurt their families if they did not work for him as prostitutes. They were only rescued when a police sting was set up to solicit sexual favors, and the man lead under cover police officers to his rented room for them to take their pick. When the men revealed themselves as police officers the four women ran immediately and thankfully over to them for protection. There is a link to the Nashville City Paper article at the end of this piece.
Michelle and I recently had the opportunity to sit down and share a meal with the Executive Director of “Trafficking In America”, Yvonne Williams. Yvonne, an artist and writer by trade, after becoming aware of the true extent of sex trafficking in the U.S., was moved by the Lord to write a screenplay. Later, Yvonne and her husband turned her screenplay into an award-winning movie entitled, “A Dance for Bethany”. The film, demonstrates how easily someone can be exploited, trafficked and enslaved here in the United States. Yvonne shared with us over lunch, that shortly after finishing the film, while traveling in California to muster support for her film, she actually learned of a young woman whose story was almost identical to the one she had written.
Trafficking In America is a non-profit located here in Nashville, and there is a lot of work still to be done in order to bring an end to the injustice suffered by those who are victims of sexual exploitation. I learned from Yvonne that 87% of pornography worldwide is produced here in the U.S. We are both the number one producers and the number one purveyors of the porn industry. As a pastor I am keenly aware that many men in our churches are engaging the idol of pornography on a daily basis, and they, without thinking, are participating in the further abuse and exploitation of human beings.
The biblical commands for us to avoid sexual immorality have more to do with the protection of the souls of others as they do the narrow aesthetic view that one should avoid sex like some prudish do-gooder. God knows, because he created us, that beyond our desire for food and water, there is none stronger than our sexual passion. Though sex can be the purest expression of love between a man and a woman, it can also be one of the most destructive passions on the planet.
If you are interested in learning more about sex trafficking and what you can do to help I suggest you contact Yvonne and her organization, “Trafficking In America”, and see how you can become a part of bringing an end to the exploitation, abuse, and enslavement that is among us here in America. We are told by our Lord to pray that God’s Kingdom would come on earth as it is in heaven. I would ask all that read this to stop and pray, asking God to bring His Kingdom and the liberty that comes with it to the abused and exploited where they live. And then ask God one last question. Father, where do you want me at work for your glory? It may just be bringing the Gospel of Jesus to the weak, the poor, the broken, the abused, and the exploited where you live. They need someone to tell them and show them the love of Christ. Is it you?
Here are a few links to local Nashville stories from the recent past, the first one I read just last week