“Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the week and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
Human trafficking, with its most common endpoint of prostitution, is a $32 billion business around the world, according to the United Nations. This means it nets more than Nike, Starbucks, and Google combined. The average amount a trafficker or pimp makes by selling one girl in a year in Canada is half a million dollars. Unlike drugs, which the buyer uses once, a woman is sold again and again and again, which is why human trafficking is so lucrative.
Psalm 82:3–4 tells us to defend the weak and the fatherless and maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Prostituted women fall into those categories. Most come from dysfunctional homes, most are poor, and they are certainly oppressed. They are at risk of abuse and violence. Canadian women and girls in prostitution have a mortality rate that is 40 times higher than the national average.
God is expecting us to join him in his work of bringing justice to this group of children and women who are most often stigmatized and vulnerable to oppression in our country.
Part of bringing justice to bear on this issue is to look at the demand side of prostitution.
As the gender that typically purchases sex, men need to be made aware of the realities that exploited women face and then do their part to change prevailing societal attitudes that say there should be a group of children and women available to be bought and sold at all times.
Every woman and girl is worth this defence.
SCRIPTURE TO REFLECT ON: PSALM 82:3–4
1. How much do you know about the realities of prostitution in your city?
2. Can you challenge yourself to become more aware of the issue over the next few weeks?
Check out www.defenddignity.ca for resources. Prayerfully consider your next steps.
Glendyne Gerrard is Director of Defend Dignity, an abolition of prostitution initiative of the C&MA in Canada. Defend Dignity raises awareness through education about the issues of prostitution and acts as a catalyst for churches and individuals to become part of the solution to this human rights issue. Defend Dignity also advocates for law reform with our governments and networks with other organizations involved with victims of exploitation.