Sex trafficking generates an estimated $32 billion in annual profits and exploits some 21 million people globally – mostly women, children and the poor. Trafficking always creates multiple victims and harms families.
An estimated 100,000 children under the age of 18 are ensnared in the U.S. sex industry.
Yet, one would not know how widespread and destructive the nature of this issue is from reading most daily newspapers or watching TV news shows, given their culturally liberal and libertine attitudes toward sex that sees little questionable about promiscuity.
Big media seems to ignore the exploitation of children and the powerless in the sex industry, preferring the myth that prostitution is about harmless adult consensual sex.
The issue is a religious issue. Yet one would dare not compare the sheer volume of Religious News Service news stories on gay rights with sex trafficking stories.
The issue is a moral one. Yet one would not dare compare the abundance of articles on EthicsDaily.com related to climate change, Baptist-Muslim relations, the undocumented and prison ministries with the paucity of pieces on sex trafficking.
The issue is a church issue. Yet one would not dare stack up sermons on every subject under the sun with the number of sermons on sex trafficking.
Thankfully, the issue is a bipartisan one.
Before the 2014 Super Bowl, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Cindy McCain, wife of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), co-wrote a piece about the National Football League and sex trafficking, urging the NFL to do something substantively about the exploitation of girls at a global sporting event that draws traffickers.
“Every day, girls and boys are sold in this country for sex. Their average age? Thirteen. That’s not old enough to get a driver’s license or go to a high school prom,” they lamented.
They also drew attention to the bipartisan Senate bill Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act.
So far, this bill has a grand total of five sponsors: John Cornyn (R-Texas), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.).
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We have offered moral critiques of bills and public policy issues, encouraging goodwill Christians to consider engaging items in the public square.
Not seeing my own Tennessee Republican senators, Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, as co-sponsors, I called their offices to ask why they were not co-sponsors. At press time, no responses had been forthcoming.
If contacting Washington is unappealing, other options for engagement are possible.
Visit The McCain Institute for International Leadership, to learn more about Cindy McCain’s efforts.
Check out Stop the Traffick. Become a Twitter follower for frequent messages about human trafficking.
The Polaris Project also provides frequent and helpful tweets.
Another source is Global Women, which is hosting its annual summit at a Baptist church on March 7-8 in St. Louis, where one of the international speakers is a woman who works in Moldova on preventing sex trafficking.
Sex trafficking is one of five priority issues for Global Women, whose associate director contributed to EthicsDaily.com a column titled Super Bowl is Big Business for Human Traffickers.
Like prison ministry, sex trafficking is neither a Democratic nor Republican issue.
It is an issue where church members can reach across the aisles of political, theological, cultural and sociological differences to join hands to advance the common good.
Robert Parham is executive editor of EthicsDaily.com and executive director of its parent organization, the Baptist Center for Ethics. Follow him on Twitter at RobertParham1 and friend him on Facebook.