The feature of the week was a wonderful speaker, Harmony Grillo. She came from L.A., where she runs Treasures, an organization reaching out into the sex industry to help women chained by their present or past situations. Their mission is to "Reach, restore, and equip women in the sex industry and victims of sex trafficking to live healthy, flourishing lives, and train others to do the same across the globe." Harmony is a survivor of the sex industry herself, and her story brought us to tears because of its pain, but also because of its incredible redemption and hope. She addressed important areas of rhetoric in our current sex-saturated culture, including how women end up in the sex industry "by choice," or why legal prostitution is not "just a job." She exposed the psychological tricks pimps use to trap women, and she explained how important it is for us to remember that no one has to be defined by their past.
On Tuesday night, a group of students held a showing of the documentary "Red Light Green Light," a heavy but critically important film. The film examined the effects of legalizing prostitution in several countries, as well as investigating the current prostitution situation in the U.S. Not surprisingly, the documentary brought the entire sex industry back to the one most significant factor: demand. No matter the legal status of trafficking, pornography, and prostitution, this dehumanizing industry will continue to thrive as long as there is a steady demand. But demand is not just steady, it's increasing to astronomical levels. Men are raised in a culture that expects them to be sexual-consumers, and women grow up being objectified and told it's normal. The most practical suggestion that the film made was to de-criminalize prostitution (so that women aren't punished), but to criminalize the purchase of commercial sex.
At the end of the week, it all came back to the question of what can we do? It's far too easy to feel hopeless because I can't just quit school to work in the red light district, and I don't have money to support everything they need. But three avenues really showed themselves to us: first, to stand up and challenge men to stop being the consumers of this destructive industry. This might mean sharing a video on the topic, writing a Facebook post specifically asking men to be our defenders and not our exploiters, and actively negating conversations or situations that make humans objects of our lusts. Second, we can choose any number of ways to get involved off of Treasure's list of 11 practical ways you can help. Third, get involved with Lighthouse Voyage, an amazing organization started by my friend David, a fellow Trinity student, that works to free and restore women and children in sex trafficking in India and Nepal. And of course, on top of all of it, we can pray. We must stand on God's promise that prayer actually is powerful and effective. If we believe that our prayers may actually result in saving even one soul from the sex industry, then let us pray.
Thank you for reading this; your awareness is one more step to changing our culture. But awareness isn't enough. Please take one or two of Treasure's 11 suggestions and put them into practice. Please share the video I've posted below. Please bring up this topic with friends and family. Please know that you, yourself are a treasure, beloved and cherished and valuable beyond measure. And please pray. This week, I took off the purity ring I've worn every day since I turned 13. Over and over again, I'd realize that my hand felt empty and naked, and I'd allow that constant recognition to remember what these women have been through. We know that the will of the Father is for freedom. I wrote the word "freedom" on my wrist all week as another reminder to pray. Please do not forget these women, but pray that Jesus would continue to send His Spirit and fulfill more and more the identity he spoke in Luke 4: