Human Trafficking in Our Own Backyard

Yesterday, I was rocked by this highly informative article in Texas Monthly about the thousands of women who have been trafficked into the U.S. and forced to work in prostitution.  Although the piece is primarily focused on Houston, it cites other major cities as home to many of these covert operations that are often disguised as massage studios and spas. Los Angeles is one of the cities mentioned.

In our community, we talk about this issue frequently and what I’ve found is that most people find it hard to imagine that it may actually be happening here in our own backyard.  Now, I love a good massage and have been to many of the reputable establishments locally, so have no fear… there are still some legitimate and reputable establishments you can enjoy.  But its hard to read this article and wonder about the many places I see in Torrance, San Pedro and Redondo Beach.

The thought of these women being misled in their desperation to provide for their families and lured into a world of prostitution in “the land of the free,” is sickening.  Their stories of being moved from city to city every few weeks so they are isolated and kept from attaching to their co-workers or customers is heart wrenching. Once their debts are paid and they are “free” to go, a new struggle for survival begins.

There is a big picture story happening here in our world.  In the past few years, I’ve had the opportunity to meet a few women who have come out of the adult entertainment industry.  I’ve sat and listened to the stories of several women who have been the victims of horrific sexual abuses and crimes.  I’ve walked alongside women whose lives have been crushed by the betrayals of their husbands who have been lured into the world of pornography.  I’ve wept with mothers who have discovered their young boys have gotten caught up in the traps so purposely laid out for them on the internet.

One thing leads to another.

When I drive down Lomita Blvd. and Channel Street and see the advertising for the upcoming Adult Entertainment convention, I’m grieved at the concept of one thing leading to another.  The images, ideas and opportunities that captivate the hearts of men, and even women, tear our hearts away from everything Good and will eventually lead down a path of destruction.  One look can ultimately result in a wake of lives and families destroyed.  If the demand diminishes, the supply will respond.

One thing leads to another.

According to the article in Texas Monthly, escaping from captivity may be the easiest part of the road to recovery for these women.  What do you think we can do as a community to help these victims and put a stop to sex trafficking?

There are people doing some great work on putting an end to human trafficking.  Two of these organizations are Just 4 One and the International Justice Mission.

Check them out and raise your awareness.

5 thoughts on “Human Trafficking in Our Own Backyard

  1. Sad stuff. I love the work of IJM as they try to respond… to breath hope into such a dark injustice. Let’s put an end to the 26 million estimated to be caught in human trafficking. Thanks for stirring the discussion.

  2. Pingback: What Can the Church Do? « Suzie B. Lind

  3. Pingback: The Church and Slavery

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