BIG PICTURE

Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world today. It touches virtually all our lives as the sex industry continues to make inroads into mainstream culture. Whether lured by the promise of money and affection or coerced against their will, the victims of sex trafficking face an uphill climb out of the pit of their darkness. 


CLOSE UP

The life of a young woman forced into human trafficking crushes her soul and endangers her body on a daily basis. With little hope for escape, many resign themselves to a life of constant suffering and futile attempts to numb their pain through drugs and alcohol. 


WATCH

Watch the short video “The Problem Is Men” LINK 

 
 

EXPLORE

The problem of sex trafficking is complex and multi-faceted. Victims are often targeted based on their vulnerability by criminals already involved in other illegal activities, especially drugs and prostitution. Many victims have been abused, abandoned, or rejected by their families and consequently feel they have nowhere to turn. To escape the pain at home, they may run away and turn to drugs and alcohol for comfort. 

Once they’ve been indoctrinated into the sex trafficking system, victims often say they are held by invisible forces. While many are threatened, beat, and coerced into submission, over time the weight of shame, fear, and despair takes an enormous toll as well. As believers, we know that our enemy likes nothing better than to keep victims imprisoned in darkness, unaware of God’s love or the hope they can find in Christ. All the more reason, one of our greatest weapons against trafficking will always be prayer. 

Let’s pick up the stories of Rachel and Maly, respectively, from our previous session and let them describe the turning point in their captivity. 

I was about as low as you can go. I woke up one morning and realized that I had been an addict and prostitute for ten years. Even though I was only in my late 20’s, I started having health problems from not taking care of myself. I cried a lot for no reason and had a harder time attracting men and making money for my boss, which in turn meant I couldn’t buy drugs as often. I thought about killing myself every day but didn’t want to die. But I couldn’t imagine continuing to live the way I was living for the past years. 

Then our club got busted and I found myself in jail—which, crazy as it sounds, turned out to be the best thing that could’ve happened to me. Because there I met two people who changed my life. One was another inmate named Corinne. She was also the victim of sex trafficking, and she had almost finished her two-year sentence. But while in prison, she had sobered up and started attending a Bible study run by an older lady from a nearby church. Corinne laid her Jesus story on me, and I could tell she was sincere, but I still didn’t believe even he could help me.

Finally, she dragged me to her Bible study and there I met Sally, the woman who led it. I could tell she was educated and had money and a good family, but she was also tough and didn’t allow me or anyone else to bully her. So I kept going back, trying to figure out what made Sally tick. Then after a couple of months, I was sitting there and Sally was talking about forgiveness and I just started crying. 

I couldn’t stop! Corinne and a couple others just hugged me while Sally prayed for me. When she stopped, I knew I was different. I don’t know how else to explain it!

--Rachel, aged 32

One day I was at the big house and a new client came in, an American. He was younger than most, maybe in his 30’s, and had kindness in his eyes. He talked to the old woman and paid her a lot of money to take me and another girl back to his hotel in the city. Only that’s not where he took us! As soon as we were off the boat, we got in a tuk-tuk and headed to a church. The man told us he was a government agent and also a follower of Jesus Christ. He said we would never have to go back to the big house again. We would be taken to an orphanage where they would help us. 

And that’s what happened. We cried when we found out that we each had our own bed. After doctors and nurses look at us and make sure we are healthy, they begin to teach us things. Some are work skills so we could find a job eventually. But others are times to talk and cry together and to heal. 

The woman who led this healing group talked about the love of Jesus, and I remembered He was also who our rescuer said he followed. So I wanted to know more, and once I learned more, I followed him, too! Now I have a new life. And each day I pray for my sister and continue to look for her. I will find her and set her free like I have been set free.”

--Maly, aged 17

Women like Rachel and Maly are very fortunate. They not only discovered a way out of the sex trade, but they discovered the love of God through the caring and compassion of Christians. While not all victims who escape trafficking become Christians, but many do.


REMEMBER

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Eph. 6:12, NIV). 

“The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall”
 (Ps. 27:1-2, NIV). 


DISCUSS

Think back over what you’ve learned about victims of sex trafficking. Do you see them differently now than how you viewed them before you joined this group study? Why or why not?


Do you agree “the problem is men”? Why or why not? In what ways do men perpetuate the problem of sex trafficking? 


Many people with knowledge of trafficking have commented that it’s not about sex as much as it’s about power and money. Would you agree? Why or why not? 


In your view, what’s the greatest need for trafficking victims? What are some practical ways we as the Body of Christ help meet their needs?


WHO C.A.R.E.S.—YOU DO!

Choose one of the C.A.R.E.S. areas to which you feel particularly drawn and choose a Bible story or Scripture verse that speaks to you about how to overcome the forces of evil at work with human trafficking.
 

Coalition (building bridges to battle trafficking):

Bible story or verse:

How it speaks to you:
 

Awareness (growing in your awareness of how to stop trafficking):

Bible story or verse:

How it speaks to you:


Rescue (liberating those held captive by trafficking):

Bible story or verse:

How it speaks to you:


Education (informing others about the terrible impact of trafficking):

Bible story or verse:

How it speaks to you:


Service (serving the needs of those directly affected by trafficking):

Bible story or verse:

How it speaks to you:


PRAY

ThThank God that Jesus has already overcome the powers of evil and forces of darkness through his death on the cross and resurrection. Claim His power in winning the war on human trafficking and setting free all those held captive by its chains. Continuing praying for the release of victims everywhere and for the righteousness and justice of our Holy God to prevail.