To Fight Sex Trafficking, Fight the Ideology That Creates It, Expert Says

PHILADELPHIA – In the fight against sex trafficking, the Church needs to address the root causes – the ideas in culture that break the linkage sex has to love, responsibility and children, Lisa Thompson, liaison for the abolition of sexual trafficking for the Salvation Army, said during a Friday presentation at The Justice Conference.

"Sex trafficking is a battle of ideas," Thompson explained during a pre-conference session on sex trafficking. The Church in America too often does not do enough to address the ideology upon which sex trafficking is based – "an ideology that disassociates sex from love, responsibility and children." American culture embraces this idea, she continued, and it is "spewed upon us" by "media elites in our culture," such as movies, books and TV shows.

"One of the reasons sex trafficking is flourishing is that we, as a Church, do not do enough to address the ideology that disassociates sex from love," Thompson explained.

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Thompson asked those in attendance to not divorce the conversation about sex trafficking from a conversation about prostitution. Not all prostitutes are sex slaves, some choose to become prostitutes, she admitted, but all prostitution dehumanizes women.

She used some graphic language to grab the audience's attention and urged them not to refer to prostitution as "sex work."

"Sex is not work," she said. "God did not create any woman for the purpose, excuse me, that she be a cum receptacle. God did not create the female to be a human being that [johns] are basically masturbating into. ... These are human beings, made with human dignity, and sex was never intended to be a job, so let's not use the language of 'sex work.'"

Sandra Morgan, director of Vanguard University's Global Center for Women and Justice, also presented during the session. Both women talked about the three "P's" of fighting sex trafficking: prevention, protection, and prosecution.

Often, "we glamorize the rescue" of sex slaves, Morgan said, but that is the end of the process – protection and prosecution. What is needed most from the Church is prevention.

"The Church is uniquely situated to do prevention," Morgan said, through youth leadership and spiritual formation programs.

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