When I first heard about the latest Hollywood sex scandals my initial thought was, “what are they up to now?” I never took seriously the jokes about the “casting couch,” until now as the tip of the iceberg is being revealed as more and more women (and now men) are coming forward with incidences of sexual harassment and crimes committed. Our culture seems permanently saturated with this “use and abuse” mentality, which leads me to the subject of this post.
Pornography and sex trafficking have grown into the largest industry in the world totaling $150 billion today. It affects 45 million globally (98% women and children) and is the fastest growing criminal activity anywhere. Everyday in Dallas, there are a minimum of 400 teenage girls that are sexually trafficked. This deviant behavior creeps into our communities destroying everything it touches. The United Nations says 99% of victims of this industry are never rescued.
While it is true that there are children who are at higher risk for becoming a victim, such as runaways and ‘throwaways,’ all children are at risk. The average age of entry into sex trafficking in the U.S. is 12-16 years old – children at this age are vulnerable in their very essence.
A lack of awareness in our country coupled with the explosion of the Internet makes the job of the pimp and the recruiter extremely easy, and the job of law enforcement extremely difficult. Although the sheer scope of these horrific crimes seem impossible, one person can make a difference.
Let me tell you about Traffick 911. This is an organization founded in 2009 in Texas. They exist to free youth from sex trafficking with a three-prong strategy of prevention, identification and empowerment. They work in close partnership with law enforcement which has led to multiple state and federal felony arrests and convictions. Traffick 911 trains thousands of first responders and professionals across the country. They do excellent work and could use some volunteers.
Another organization I’ve grown to admire is New Friends New Lives. This organization restores and empowers formerly trafficked teen girls and sexually exploited women and their children. By providing access to education, job training, interim financial assistance, mental health and spiritual support, New Friends New Life helps women and their children overcome backgrounds of abuse, addiction, poverty and limited opportunities. They offer a comprehensive program to more than 1,200 formerly trafficked teens, women and their children each year. Learn more about New Friends New Life here.
The many brave men and women who are sharing their stories of their abuse and abusers are bringing specific focus on the problems of sexual harassment and abuse. In the meantime, the lesson of “NO” to any form of abuse is a lesson we should all learn and put into practice.
Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.”