National Human Trafficking Awareness Day

In the United States, January 11th is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, and I cannot help but find it auspicious that this is my first full day in Greece, beginning a year with HD.

Greece is a transit, destination, and a very limited source country for women and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor, and men subjected to forced labor. (US Department of State)

Officially, Greece was designated a Tier 2 country, one where a government is not fully compliant with the minimum protection of victims and in which the number of victims of severe abuse is significantly increasing. (Greek Reporter)

Although few Greeks are trafficked (however, the number of Greek women who resorted to prostitution grew significantly when the economy collapsed), but women (sex trafficking) and men (human trafficking) frequently find themselves sold into slavery here.  They are from Eastern Europe and Africa, and their traffickers use a variety of threats to coerce them into work.   Continue reading

Sex Trafficking (3 of 3): Caregiver’s Perspective

The following information comes from information provided by Redeemed Ministries at their weekend conference on Aftercare Training.

Christians, if not careful, can let a healthy passion for ministry turn into a martyr’s complex.

In psychology a person who has a martyr complex, sometimes associated with the term victim complex, desires the feeling of being a martyr for his/her own sake, seeking out suffering or persecution because it either feeds a psychological need, or a desire to avoid responsibility. (Wikipedia)

In pursuit of pleasing God (as though he has not already given us his love), Christians can run themselves ragged, draining their own resources in service to the point that they are no longer useful.  It is only with careful self-awareness that ministers can serve whole-heartedly…because they have made sure to keep their heart whole.  The first step to healthy service is to examine the cost.  Continue reading

Sex Trafficking (2 of 3): Victim’s Perspective

The following information comes from information provided by Redeemed Ministries at their weekend conference on Aftercare Training.

Sex trafficking:  When an individual makes a profit by selling a human being in the Commerical Sex Industry by means of force, fraud, or coercion.

Before studying trafficking in more detail, I tended to think of the women and children forced into prostitution as victims of force and fraud.  Forced trafficking is the obvious nightmare:  someone is kidnapped, taken to an unknown location, and forced into sexual slavery.  Fraud is also fairly obviously horrible, and it occurs when a woman is offered a job that doesn’t exist in order to create a dependency and desperation that leads to sexual slavery.

Coercion, however, is trickier.  Women who are coerced into prostitution often believe that it was their choice.  From the outside, these are the women who are often scorned and looked down upon by “nice” men and women in the Church.  But the reality is not so simple.  Women who are coerced into sexual slavery are manipulated and abused, and they deserve our understanding and compassion.

There are five stages of entry into commercial sexual exploitation.  Although the way in which each stage plays out is different from woman to woman, all five are generally present if a woman is successfully coerced into sexual slavery.  Continue reading

Sex Trafficking (1 of 3): God’s Perspective

The following information comes from information provided by Redeemed Ministries at their weekend conference on Aftercare Training.

I am 100% convinced that God hates the sexual exploitation of women.  I am positive that he is grieved by the fact that 21-30 million people are trafficked, 80% of whom are women, and 50% of whom are children.  Why do I know God hates trafficking?  Because of how he has revealed himself in the Bible.  Continue reading

The Super Bowl and Trafficking

The Super Bowl is a time for friends to gather together in order to eat delicious junk food and scream loudly as their favored team either wins or loses.  It ought to be a good time for everyone as a sport competition unites people across the country.  Unfortunately, it is not a good time for all.

In 2011, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said, “The Super Bowl is the greatest show on Earth, but it also has an ugly underbelly.  It’s commonly known as the single largest human trafficking incident in the United States.”  The article by Huffington Post, “Super Bowl is Single Largest Human Trafficking Incident in U.S.: Attorney General” covers this phenomenon in more detail, claiming “that the sheer number of men looking to pay for sex substantially increases demand and the massive crowds allow for pimps and victims to essentially go unnoticed.”  Continue reading