Entries tagged with “Prostitution”.


Hosea the prophet, Russian icon from first qua...
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As Seward Church continues its journey through the 66 books of the Bible we found ourselves learning about the interesting life of Hosea.  If you aren’t familiar with this story, it is quite intriguing as Hosea is told by God to marry a woman who would cheat on him, multiple times.

Usually with this story you hear that Hosea was told to marry a prostitute.  But Tim tried to clarify that Gomer isn’t a prostitute at the beginning of the story.   Hosea 1:2 says:

the LORD said to him, “Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the LORD.”

So she was probably born out of wedlock herself and had some issues that made it likely she would be unfaithful.   Her name does make you laugh though.  Who would name their kid Gomer? The language in chapter 1 clearly indicates that only 1 of the 3 children actually came from Hosea.

In Chapter 3 God tells Hosea that he needs to go find his wife, who now is a slave prostitute and buy her back.  Can you imagine having to go pay a pimp to purchase your own wife back?  God says that this is a depiction of His love for us.   2:5 gives us a little insight into what Gomer was after – she was after material things that became so important to her that she would do anything to get them.

She placed those things above everything else and was willing to sell out to get them.  Does that sound familar? She began to idolize those things and then slowly that idolatry overcame her.  Often our sin begins as love, which can be healthy, but as it turns into idolatry we begin to displace God from His throne and worship the wrong thing.

Part of the problem is that we begin to define what it is that is loving for us instead of letting God define love. We don’t accept God’s love because it isn’t what we want. This leads us to create rules that will enable us to deserve that love and try to hide or change who we are.  We decide that if God (or another person) loves us they will provide this or that.  It would be like saying, “if you love me you’ll give me $1,000.” But maybe I want to express my love for you by strolling down the beach together.

As we begin to idolize things in our life, we start to lose perspective and slowly become enslaved to that which we idolize.  We become enslaved to our desires.  It becomes a slave-master relationship (2:12).

But there is GOOD NEWS! God says there will be a time when we will no longer be enslaved to our sins and we will no longer call Him, Master – but Husband. That is a huge relational shift.  Death will no longer reign, but life (13:14).  We will find freedom through Christ’s sacrifice.  You see we are enslaved to our sinful desires, but God sent His son Jesus to pay for our sin – through His death.  And by His resurrection, we are raised up as heirs in the Kingdom of God.

This payment (redemption) and the resurrection wipe our past clean. There is nothing that we’ve done that He can’t undo.  Just as Hosea accepted back the wayward Gomer, God will take us even as bastard children.

Isn’t that exciting?

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A friend commented that Not For Sale was available for free as an audiobook so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to “read” this compelling book I had heard about before.  So I downloaded it and put off my normal podcast material for the 8 hours it took to listen.  I am glad I did.

Not for Sale: The Return of the Global Slave Trade–and How We Can Fight It shares some powerful stories about getting children, women, and even men who get caught up in forced labor – as laborers, prostitutes, child soldiers, and other gruesome situations.    The book tells stories from around the world (including the United States) of both the slaves and the abolitionists who are working to free slaves and prevent future slavery.

Sadly, most people think slavery ended in the 1800’s but some researchers suggest that there are actually more slaves today than at any point during the African slave trade.  As you can tell this is a cause that I care deeply about so I was a little biased by the book.  I think it is a short and relatively easy read and could change the way you look at the world and those “foreigners” at your local restaurant.

I appreciated that the book wasn’t just tales of sorrow and misery but that each chapter also shared the hope and beauty of freedom.   There are a lot of organizations working to end human trafficking and this book shares some of their stories.  It is a “Christian” book but it doesn’t shove Christianity down your throat – just stories.

The biggest thing that I didn’t like about the book was how the stories were interwoven.  You would be reading about one person then pause for a little bit about another and then back and forth.  This was a little confusing in the audio format, but probably made more sense in the written text.

I encourage you to read the book and take action.  The book has an excellent and helpful companion website for the Not For Sale Campaign.  The site offers relevant news, actions to take, and other was to get involved including following their blog.

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“Do not degrade your daughter by making her a prostitute,
or the land will turn to prostitution and be filled with wickedness.”
Leviticus 19:29

“They cast lots for My people and traded boys for prostitutes;
they sold girls for wine that they might drink.”
Joel 3:3

Back in August I wrote about Legalizing Prostitution. That post was inspired by an article in Evangelical’s for Social Action (ESA)’s PRISM Magazine Sept/Oct issue’s cover story (pdf): Portrait of Exploitation.

Other bloggers have since written about the issue of Legalizing Prostitution, including The Moderate Voice,  where a self-described Libertarian points out some of the reasons why prostitution should not be legalized and Only Wonder Understands, where the author points out a CBS News Series.

ESA has a weekly e-newsletter entitled “ePistle” which had this quote in the 9/4/2007 issue:

For the vast majority of the world’s prostituted women, prostitution is the experience of being hunted, dominated, harassed, assaulted, and battered…In prostitution, demand creates supply. Because men want to buy sex, prostitution is assumed to be inevitable, therefore ‘normal.’… Prostitution must be exposed for what it really is: a particularly lethal form of male violence against women. The focus on research, prevention, and law enforcement in the next decade must be on the demand side of prostitution.

From “Prostitution: A critical review of the medical and social sciences literature” by Melissa Farley and Vanessa Kelly in Women & Criminal Justice (2000, Vol. 11), available at ProstitutionResearch.com.

The 9/19/2007 issue of ePistle has the following links/resources:

  • Legalised Prostitution: What Sex Workers Say by Troy Martens and Vivian Attwood for The Daily News/South Africa
  • A Salute to New York Times columnist Bob Herbert by Lisa Thompson and Kristyn Komarnicki
  • Editor’s Pick: Prostitution and Trafficking in Nevada – Making the Connections by Melissa Farley, Ph.D.

TAKE ACTION

ESA’s list of actions can be found here.

Second Annual International Weekend of Prayer and Fasting for the Victims of Human Trafficking Sept 28-30, 2007

The Salvation Army has resources for the Weekend (above) including a Bible Study and Prayer guide.

Coalition Against Trafficking in Women has several campaigns and a section about the Case Against Legalization of Prostitution.

 

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Apparently this is a big topic in Washington DC.  It seems that a group of people in the middle of political spectrum think that by legalizing prostitution they will empower women.  Michael Horowitz of the conservative The Hudson Institute, a think tank in DC, says that both ends – liberal and conservative – agree that this is a bad idea.

Evangelicals for Social Action produces a magazine called PRISM (which I’ve written about before).  In the upcoming edition (Sept/Oct 2007) the cover story sheds light into this dark and not often talked about subject. The title and subtitle say it well:

PROSTITUTING JUSTICE: The Auction block is alive and well in the North American sex trade

Two insights I found in the articles are that…

The vast majority of prostituted women (and men) have
serious problems with substance abuse, mental illness, or both.
A growing number of prostituted persons are recruited at
increasingly younger ages, brainwashed and psychologically
broken down in order to coerce them to conform to the
will of a pimp.

and…

In their 1996 report Prostitution of Children, the U.S. Department of Labor estimated that over 100,000 children are currently involved in prostitution in the United States.

That is scary.  The article talks about girls as young as 10 being forced into prostitution.  It also talked about the risk factors which include sexual abuse at home.  It seems that girls are traumatized and some can’t get out of the cycle, it just continues to perpetuate itself to include drugs, mental illness, depression, anxiety, and on and on.  All because of something out of their control. 

Prostitution is not understood by much of society, nor is it seen as something that is good.  We often demean prostitutes and forget their humanness and more importantly that they are children of our loving God.  Jesus died on the cross to forgive them, as much as He died to forgive me.  As believers, we should be finding ways to redeem them back into the sweet image of their Creator.

I received an e-mail from PRSIM editor Kristyn Komarnicki, which included this:

Horowitz said that while there are all kinds of laws protecting women in domestic violence cases or protecting victims from hate crimes, etc, there is virtually no protection (not a penny in programs) for women enslaved in prostitution.  This letter urges the Attorney General to change that.  Horowitz tells me that this PRISM article is being circulated by some US attorneys to colleagues all around the country, some of who are sending it directly to the Attorney General. 

Why the attention and action to the Attorney General?

As Donna Hughes explains in a July 30 article in the National Review, US citizens who are forced into prostitution, a form of sexual trafficking, have no resources available to them.  However, if the person is a foreign-born victim of trafficking their is a plethora of services.  When an American is involved it is often seen as “just prostitution” when around 70% of prostitutes are victims of sex trafficking.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

One of the best resources is the Salvation Army’s Human Trafficking website

Polaris Project actually has advocacy alerts.

Prostitution Research and Education Center also has a lot of information and actions.

HHS Administration of Children and Families’ Rescue & Restore Campaign website.

 

WAYS TO WORK TOWARDS ENDING PROSTITUTION

10 THINGS YOU CAN DO

  1. 1. Work to help women gain supportive housing and jobs that pay a living wage.
  2. 2. Advocate for shelters and clinics equipped and staffed to offer medical and psychological treatment for women in prostitution. 
  3. 3. Educate young girls and boys on the harms of prostitution and how to avoid becoming a victim of sexual exploitation. 
  4. 4. Challenge society’s sexist views of women. Fight against pornography and other forms of media that continue to objectify women.
  5. 5. Change language- stop using words such as “pimp”, “ho” and “whore” and challenge your friends when they use similar language.
  6. 6. Support legislation aimed at stopping sexual exploitation and expanding options for prostituted individuals.
  7. 7. Make sure the needs of sexually exploited individuals are being addressed in the domestic violence community, the sexual assault community, among homeless rights advocates and among individuals working to fight substance addiction.
  8. 8. Pressure local CAPS and police enforcement to go after those purchasing sex instead of those selling it.
  9. 9. Hold media and financial institutions accountable in regards to the ads they run that promote prostitution.
  10. 10. Raise public awareness! Host book clubs, film screenings and art projects to raise awareness about the issue. Also join in local awareness raising initiatives such as the upcoming Rescue and Restore campaign.

from Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation.

Psalm 10:12-18 in The Message

12-13 Time to get up, God—get moving. The luckless think they’re Godforsaken. They wonder why the wicked scorn God 
and get away with it, Why the wicked are so cocksure they’ll never come up for audit.
14 But you know all about it— the contempt, the abuse.  I dare to believe that the luckless will get lucky someday in you. You won’t let them down: orphans won’t be orphans forever.
15-16 Break the wicked right arms, break all the evil left arms. 
Search and destroy every sign of crime. God’s grace and order wins; godlessness loses.
17-18 The victim’s faint pulse picks up; the hearts of the hopeless pump red blood as you put your ear to their lips. Orphans get parents, the homeless get homes. 
The reign of terror is over, the rule of the gang lords is ended.

 

If you haven’t figured it out, Prostitution should NOT be legalized.

 

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