There is a principle of economics that states that if there is a demand there will be a supply to meet it. In the sex trafficking industry, there is a concentration that focuses almost all of its energy on the women’s (think supply) side of the industry. Why? It is more identifiable since the girls are arrested frequently, are more visible, and are the victims.
We tend to concentrate on how to help and are missing the element that would no doubt stop the sex trafficking industry permanently: addressing the issue of demand. Quite simply, unless mindsets change as to how to address the pimps and johns that perpetrate these crimes in mass numbers, we will remain ½ effective at best. In many cases, prostitutes are arrested and re-arrested many times while the pimp posts bail and never sees a day in jail. Meanwhile, he is the key to stopping the sex trade. Freeze his assets, remove his money, and stiffen jail time. This will go a long way to a permanent solution that lasts. It stops the source of the problem in its tracks. However, this does not discount the victim’s role, the changing of their mindsets, and the steps that are taken to assist them. For today, we are discussing the men’s side of the issue (demand).
How does a mindset change? The men must come to the table. Frankly, if the men do not get more involved in this issue, it will continue to hinder effectiveness. Relationally, a man understands another man’s mindset in this matter better than a woman will. Why? Experientially, men relate and communicate completely differently to each other than to a woman. Biologically they understand one another’s experiences on a different level. In this matter, the only way mindsets change is if men teach each other how to humanize women where they are not seen as sex objects.
On this note, New Jersey has taken the lead in the demand side of the issue. Laws are now in effect that freeze the assets of traffickers, enforce penalties of $25,000 or more for a conviction, and hold third parties responsible with stiff penalties. Jail time could be 25 years or more. New Jersey’s laws are now consistent with the federal law, with the first conviction held in May of 2015. The frozen assets go towards funding the restoration of the lives of the victims through a victim’s compensation fund.
Though this goes a long way towards helping, changing mindsets regarding women is a much deeper and long term challenge. This is where the men will have a lasting impact. It has to start with raising boys and teaching them how to treat women, how to relate to them, and not to think of them as objects for gratification. For example, not visiting chat rooms, porn sites, or strip clubs where trafficking starts. These locations are termed in the industry as the “breaking grounds,” where girls are initiated into the sex trafficking industry, which is every bit as awful as it sounds.
You can’t underestimate the power of prayer. God is moving in this area at a very rapid rate. We only need to look at the Federal and New Jersey state laws to see examples of this. Additionally, it has bi-partisan support. Does that ever happen? Clearly that’s a miracle! We can pray for God to move the hearts of lawmakers, pimps, “johns,” and men collectively, as men are a key asset to ending modern day slavery. Until now, they have been by and large the key element, but the missing link.
This is an open invitation to men to join the abolition movement. Your participation could mean the difference in stopping the sex trafficking industry.
The next Justice Network meeting is Thursday, May 26, 7PM, at High Mountain Church of the Nazarene in North Haledon, New Jersey. We are hoping to see you all there.
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