In 1991, the all-female hip hop group, Salt-n-Pepa, released a song titled, “Let’s Talk About Sex.” It was their biggest crossover hit, and sealed their positions as hip hop royalty. I might have been in the sixth grade when the song was released but I knew the song, and sung the hook even when I wasn’t absolutely sure of everything they were talking about. My parents didn’t know.
The irony of the track was they were singing and rapping about a taboo topic. At that time few people talked about sex in public (at least not among strangers) when most adults, both single and married, were actively engaging in the activity. But they also rapped about how sex can be used as a weapon, not for love, and how people can engage in irresponsible sexual practices. Near the end of the song, they call for all their ladies to talk about sex.
Well today, I’m answering that call. I want us to talk about sex!
Pastors Hurting Children
This week I have been troubled yet again of a news report of two pastors in Tennessee who were recently arrested in a human trafficking sting. These pastors were among 32 men charged with prostitution and human trafficking where children were being sold online for sex. One of these pastors served as a children’s minister, the other as a “Creative Pastor” at a different church.
While my heart does grieve for these churches, their families, and everyone in the community, that does not negate the fact that children have been hurt here. Children have been intentionally hurt in ways that can have long-term ramifications, and that grieves the heart of God.
This must stop! And the only way it will stop is if we start having open and honest conversations about sex and slavery inside the four walls of the church. These conversations must be had among men, women, and appropriately with children in our congregations. Human trafficking is a sin that must be named and confronted.Children have been intentionally hurt and that grieves the heart of God. Click To Tweet
A Few Facts About Sex Slavery
Human trafficking, also known as modern-day slavery, is the commercial exploitation of individuals through sex, labor, or both where force, fraud, and/or coercion are brought to bear in keeping victims locked into slavery.
From my personal experience in engaging this advocacy work, I know that:
- When a teenager is purchased for prostitution or pornography, she is a victim.
- People can solicit sex regularly and attend church faithfully.
- People can watch pornography in the privacy of their homes and still serve on the elder and deacon boards at your church.
- Folks can claim they are “happily” married, single, or whatever and still violate the human dignity of another person by purchasing them for sex.
- Slavery is a problem today all around the world. It is a problem in my community, and most likely in yours, too. And, “yes,” it is even a problem in the church.
The facts remain:
- According to the Global Slavery Index, there are 35.8 million people enslaved worldwide.
- According to the International Labour Organization, Modern-day slavery generates an estimated $150 billion/year
- According to the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), there is an estimated 2 million children who are enslaved in the sex trade today
- The U.S. Department of State estimates that there are between 600,000–800,000 children, women, and men trafficked across international borders annually. The DOS also reports that 80% of human trafficking victims are women and girls, and up to 50% are minors.
- According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security 100,000-300,000 US children are estimated to be at risk of human trafficking; the average entry age into prostitution is between 11 and 13 yrs old.
Do you want to talk about sex now?According to the Global Slavery Index, there are 35.8 million people enslaved worldwide. Click To Tweet
Sex and the Spiritual Battle
Slavery is a spiritual battle. It is one of the ways our enemy seeks to kill, steal, and destroy lives—both the lives of the perpetrators and the victims. With slavery, everyone loses.
Whenever I sense that I am entering a spiritual battle, I pray, Luke 8:17.
For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. (NIV)
Sin thrives in the darkness, and our enemy, Satan, works at night. John writes throughout his gospel about the contrast between dark and light, and the spiritual forces of evil that oppose the powerful work of the Holy Spirit in the world. Light exposes the darkness. Therefore as people of the light, we must take what is done in secret and expose it or bring it to light. Only through this exposure can people truly see and the truth be made known.Click To Tweet
For the past few years, I have served as an anti-human trafficking advocate. This work began simply by exposure—offering education and awareness events in my local community surrounding the issue of human trafficking or modern-day slavery. When I hosted an event, by-in-large, the audience included women. When I discussed this issue with pastors, somehow the Women’s Ministry Director or a woman in the congregation was identified as my primary point of contact. Sexual exploitation and human trafficking are not a women’s ministry issues! The abuse of sex, especially against children, is an issue for the whole church to know and actively engage!
As my advocacy continued, I became knowledgeable about the International Justice Mission (IJM). IJM is a human rights organization that rescues victims of violence against the world’s poor. It is the largest international anti-slavery organization in the world.
It is with great gratitude that I report: There is something you can do about this issue now. Make the commitment to talk to your pastor, educate your congregation and your friends about the upcoming Freedom Sunday. Freedom Sunday will be held at churches all across the country this year on Sunday, September 25, 2016.
Find out more and get started by visiting the IJM Freedom Sunday website where IJM will provide the following tools:
- The “Sermon Resource Kit” includes a sermon on God’s heart for justice complete with scripture notes. Scripture reference options: Luke 4: 18-21, Isaiah 58:1-14, or Luke 10:25-37.
- Signage, poster templates, presentations, and resources for our lobby.
- Digital assets for every facet of the worship service, including videos, slides, and more.
- Small group questions for our Community Groups, content that is age appropriate for children, a social media guide, promotional announcement slides, other components for the worship service, and help from the IJM support team.
Don’t be afraid to talk about sex. You can do something to stand against slavery. And please don’t forget to pray.