Sex + Money = 25,000 Slaves in Chicago

It is not enough to think about change. It is not enough to talk about change. It is time to shift gears – marrying movement with intelligent action. – David Batstone, “NOT FOR SALE

sleepwords

“On any given day, anywhere between 16,000 to 25,000 girls and women are involved in prostitution in the Chicago area, often by force” (source). Sex slaves are not just in Asia; they are in your city. Numbers are so often meaningless, but what about seeing exactly where and when the crimes take place?

Are you ready to go beyond a thirty-second prayer or occasional donation? To  sacrifice of yourself for the sake of those whose minds and bodies are being invaded and abused in the worst ways imaginable?

Here in Chicago there are several organizations to volunteer with, including Traffick Free and CAASE. TF is hosting a 5K fundraiser this fall. Atlanta and Phoenix have treatment centers for rescued women and are always needing volunteers. Search where you live. The need is endless.

Some things can be done no matter where you live. A few basic ideas:

1. Buy art, not people. Buy fair trade.

2. Obtain the below DVDs and pass them around. People who will  not read a book or pay attention to statistics may be willing to watch a film. My top three recommendations, which I try to keep on hand are:

Nefarius: Merchant of Souls. I can’t imagine this documentary not shaking a viewer out of their ignorant bliss. Though decidedly Christian, everyone is taking notice and respecting both the quality and purpose of this film.
Sex+Money: A National Search for Human Worth. Quality and gut-wrenching.
Branded. This film specifically focuses on the sex slave industry in Phoenix, and how police and others are seeking to fight back.

Other DVDs on this subject include At the End of Slavery and We Were Free (IJM). Also, Traffick Free has a list of films here. I have seen “Taken” and, though it was marketed as an action movie, it ended up being a disturbingly accurate glimpse at how insidious and lucrative the sex industry is.

3. Write a letter. Wellspring Living is asking women to write letters of support and encouragement to the women in their treatment programs.

4. Join the White Umbrella campaign. February 1, 2013 is White Out for Freedom.

If [a person] doesn’t care about the poor, it reveals at best he doesn’t understand the grace he has experienced, and at worst he has not really encountered the saving mercy of God. Grace should make you just. – Timothy Keller, “Generous Justice,” 94

It’s not enough to pray. My guess is that often the phrase “I’ll pray for you,” is an easy escape to avoid real, uncomfortable generosity and sacrifice. The apostle James said that if “you do not give them what the body needs, what good is it?” (James 2:16). Let’s stop telling someone “I’ll pray for you,” or “go in peace,” and prove our faith is real (vs. 16-18).

Besides, few things are as beautiful as a slave set free or a rescued girl given the support she needs to begin healing. That beats the “beauty” of fashion or hairstyles any day. We are talking about real beauty–not the air-brushed stuff. The beauty of a body and spirit precious to God–and to us–rescued from torture.

That’s what we’re pursuing. That’s what we’re about.

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