I attended All Aboard last evening – a reception held by North Star Initiative - an organization raising awareness about trafficking in PA, with a vision to build a safe house for victims age 18 and up.
The venue for the evening was the coolest I’ve ever experienced! As we were ushered into a real train museum the message came through loud and clear (as a train whistle?)! This group’s desire is to offer freedom and a way out for those trapped in the sex trafficking trade. I highly commend Jen and her group for what they have, and are, accomplishing! (applause, applause!)
Their goal to raise funds to build a much needed restorative home for victims is not unreasonable and I trust they will see their plans on poster board become reality one day in the very near future. Their dream of helping to set slaves free from the horrors of the sex trafficking world is admirable and truly reachable. Why? Because this group is working as a team engaging those in their community to take a stand and work together. It’s a beautiful thing to observe!
And so I sat there surrounded by trains and tracks, lights and whistles, and observed those in attendance enjoying the delicious hors d'oeuvres and desserts; I listened to the compelling stories about girls held hostage in local massage parlors, a.k.a. brothels, and I watched the tear-jerking video Beautiful Slave. And honestly in the end, I could only chide myself for not feeling more moved by the cause, for feeling more anger than compassion.
Why is this? Because as someone who watched a young girl jump into a pickup truck from a street corner, knowing she was being sold to service the man behind the wheel in whatever way he wished – for she was at his mercy the moment she closed the door – the overwhelming question that enveloped me in that moment was: what drives a man to go out looking for and buying our young girls and children to use them for sexual gratification?
As one who looked into the eyes of a grandfather in deep pain as he shared the story of his precious three-year-old granddaughter who is the victim of his son-in-law’s sexual addiction, I can only ask what drives a daddy to use his own daughter? And this, my friends, is a fact that too many pimps know to be true and in fact have been quoted thanking dads for starting the training process early.
As one who listened to a friend sob as she shared her story of her Christian husband’s infidelity with other young men in secret back rooms of adult clubs acting out scenes they’ve watched online, I can only ask what drives a man to destroy himself, his wife, and his family, not to mention the young boys he is victimizing?
The demand question cannot be ignored if we ever hope to make a difference in the efforts against sexual violence, abuse and trafficking. There is a real sense of urgency to this truth.
I’m sure this next statement will offend and put some people off (and here’s my photo if you’d like to yell at me – I’m the 'taller' one!), but it’s a truth that needs to be spoken.
If you are using pornography and watching sexually explicit movies that objectify young women, and then attending an anti-trafficking event and writing out a check to help build a safe house, you are still part of the problem and contribute to the very reason we need safe houses in the first place.
If 50% percent of Christian men admit to using pornography, out of the 100+ men attending the reception last evening, how many were users? How many wives were there sitting beside husbands who struggle with these issues? How many young girls at an event like this struggle with body image issues and need to be set free from the chains of this culture telling them they need to be thin and look and act like a porn star in order to be valued?
While I truly admire and support those who work on the front lines of the anti-trafficking efforts, my goal is to be a voice and make the connection between pornography and our over-sexualised culture – something not talked about - to the horrors of sexual exploitation that many are quicker to talk about.
I will continue to speak truth and also continue to hold on to the hope that hearts and lives can be touched, changed, and set free one at a time, not just trafficking victims, but also the:
- One young girl who needs to know her value is based on who she is, not for how she looks
- One young man who needs someone to believe the best in him that he can be different in today’s culture and not objectify his sisters in the world
- One wife who sits in silence Sunday after Sunday knowing of her husband’s addiction as she watches him be held up as a pillar in the church; she needs friends in her life to help her find her voice and remind her it is not because she isn’t good enough!
- One man who needs to tell someone about his secret life and then be received with mercy and truth, and offered hope for freedom from this lifestyle
She’s somebody’s daughter is a good place to start.
Written by Tammy Stauffer, Director of She's Somebody's Daughter