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.
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. Work to help women gain supportive housing and jobs that pay a living wage.
- 2. Advocate for shelters and clinics equipped and staffed to offer medical and psychological treatment for women in prostitution.
- 3. Educate young girls and boys on the harms of prostitution and how to avoid becoming a victim of sexual exploitation.
- 4. Challenge society’s sexist views of women. Fight against pornography and other forms of media that continue to objectify women.
- 5. Change language- stop using words such as “pimp”, “ho” and “whore” and challenge your friends when they use similar language.
- 6. Support legislation aimed at stopping sexual exploitation and expanding options for prostituted individuals.
- 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. Pressure local CAPS and police enforcement to go after those purchasing sex instead of those selling it.
- 9. Hold media and financial institutions accountable in regards to the ads they run that promote prostitution.
- 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.
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.