What if I told you that slavery didn’t end with the Civil War? Even after America became a free country, people are still hidden in bondage. What if I told you that today, girls just like you, are trapped in a life they can’t get out of? They are slaves to the pleasure of men.
This is real, and it’s called sex trafficking. Sex trafficking, in short, is trading money for sexual pleasure. Victims include strippers, hookers, prostitutes and pornography models.
I was 17 when I first saw the need for restoration in this problem. Now, I intern in a safe home in Georgia for women above the age of 18 who have been victims of sex trafficking. They were previously known as strippers, dancers and prostitutes, but when these girls sit down with me and tell me their stories, they never envisioned their lives to be this way. Most of these girls were tricked or forced into this life as young as age 11.
Most people refer to these girls as “prostitutes” or “hookers,” but in reality, most of them are slaves. Some fit the “slave” stereotype of being chained up and locked away, but most experience a different kind of bondage. These women are trapped in loyalty to their owner, known as their pimp.
A pimp is the main trafficker of a girl. He is the one who receives the money for her work, and he owns her. Many pimps may not keep their girls chained up, but they beat and threaten her into staying in that life.
Just because a woman isn’t physically chained up doesn’t mean that she isn’t a slave. Though her body might not be in bondage, her mind and her heart are held captive. A pimp is very manipulative to his women. It’s common for a him to act like the girl’s boyfriend, and her romantic tie to the pimp convinces her to stay with him. But, one pimp may have several women who work for him, which just adds more strain to the condition of the girl’s heart.
Many people see these girls on the streets during their working hours and assume that they are prostituting by their own choice. But, in reality, they are slaves.
Trafficking victims can be identified by tattoos. The tattoos, often a barcode or of the name of their pimp, can be on the side of their neck, behind their ear or inside their lower lip. While working out on the street, most victims of trafficking have their pimp keeping watch in a nearby car or standing against a nearby building.
By most estimates, there are between 20 and 30 million slaves trapped all around the world today, and around 80% of these slaves are victims of sex trafficking.
The restoration in this dark issue lies in the hope that comes in Jesus Christ. Whether on the streets, in the clubs or trapped in chains, these girls need to know who Jesus is. God’s heart is to see the captives set free. He has anointed us to give “good news to the poor, to bind up the brokenhearted and proclaim freedom for the captives” (Isaiah 61:1).
It is our responsibility to intercede in prayer for these captives, that the Lord will protect them and lead them to the light!
Want to get involved with the movement to abolish sex trafficking? Check out one of these incredible organizations: