You are currently browsing the monthly archive for May 2011.

(A word of caution as you begin to read this post, the content and the subject matter discussed is not for the faint of heart. Please refer to the end of each post for references and applicable links. Lastly, do not shy away from the emotions that you feel as you read, rather, allow yourself to turn emotion into action.)

About two years ago I was first introduced to the world of Human/Sex Trafficking, I say introduced because in my mind these are things that had been abolished many years before, in America slavery ended with the 13th Ammendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1865 and much earlier in the French Colonies (1848) and British Empire (1833). While slavery was a cruel and evil practice, it was a practice that was rather easy to identify the key participants involved and enact proper legislation and measures to abolish it’s existence. Human/Sex Trafficking is completely different, completely sinister, completely discreet and ultimately a pure form of evil unknown to most people today. While I know that many of my readers come from different countries I am writing from my American perspective which I understand can be rather shallow and narcissistic at times evidenced by the fact that I just recently “discovered” the existence of Human/Sex Trafficking. My apologies in advance as I try to navigate through an understanding of this dark, evil world.

Two years ago my church held an end of the year campaign for IJM, International Justice Mission. IJM is a U.S.-based Christian human rights organization that rescues victims of violence, sexual exploitation, slavery and oppression.1  During this end of the year campaign our congregation was exposed to the truth of Human/Sex Trafficking. It is very real and it is flourishing at a phenomenal rate worldwide. In fact, after drug dealing, Human/Sex Trafficking is tied with the illegal arms industry as the second largest criminal industry in the world today, and it is the fastest growing.2  The fastest growing! Meaning, left at it’s current rate it will soon outpace illegal drugs as the number one criminal industry in the world! Armed with this type of information the church was moved to donate a substantial sum to help support IJM’s work throughout the world. Some good had been done and now I could rest I thought…”I wrote my check and did a good deed, what more do you want from me?” Unfortunately, this type of thinking is allowing the Sex Trafficking industry to grow at it’s astronomical rate and as more people turn their heads the industry will continue to flourish.

Perhaps flourish is an understatement. Human/Sex Trafficking has a total market value that is estimated to be above $32 billion!3  If every church in the world gave their yearly offering toward this I doubt we could even come close to the number of $32 billion!

Let me take a moment to share with you some more of the global statistics; there are nearly 2 million CHILDREN in the commercial sex trade with an estimated 600,000 to 800,000 men, women and children trafficked across international borders annually! Additionally, 80 percent of Human/Sex Trafficking victims are women and girls, and up to 50 percent are minors!4  To put this into perspective for you, IJM has to date freed more than 1,000 people from the Sex Trafficking industry a number that is to be applauded and celebrated. Yet, this makes up less than half a percent of the total children in the commercial sex trade industry today!

Globally the numbers are grim but the United States can no longer say this problem is a third-world epidemic. Domestic numbers estimate that 18,000 to 20,000 people are trafficked into the US annually while Kevin Bales, president of Free the Slaves5   estimates that there are “30,000 to 50,000 sex slaves in captivity in the United States at any given time.”6  In it’s newly developed biennial study, the Department of Justice recently released (April 2011) it’s “Characteristics of Suspected Human Trafficking Incidents, 2008-2010.”7  From January 2008 through June 2010 there were over 2500 reports of Human Trafficking investigated and the numbers revealed are shocking. Of the 2500 incidents 82 percent (2065) were classified as Sex Trafficking, and more than 1,000 of the incidents involved the prostitution or sexual exploitation of a CHILD!8 Furthermore, of the 2065 Sex Trafficking incidents 83 percent of the victims were United States citizens! What makes these figures even more shocking is the fact that these are only those cases we know about, as this comprises of only 10 percent of the estimated sex slaves in the United States.

One final statistic that cannot be overlooked, from the DOJ’s 2007-2008 report to the current reports information the number of incidents has more than doubled. The more we look into the closet the more bones we see are piling up.

Statistics though do not have faces…

(This topic is too important for you to miss the next post! Click on the “Sign Me Up” button on the left of this page to be notified by email. Stay tuned to hear the story of Andrea, who at 4 years old was thrust into the world of sex trafficking…)

1 http://www.ijm.org/

2 IJM Sex Trafficking Fact Sheet: Http://www.ijm.org/downloaddocument?gid=1

3 IJM

4 IJM fact sheet

5 http://www.freetheslaves.net/

6 Peter Landesman, “The Girls Next Door,” NY Times, January 25, 2004.

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/01/25/magazine/the-girls-next-door.html?pagewanted=all

7 Characteristics of Suspected Human Trafficking Incidents, 2008-2010

http://www.bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/cshti0810.pdf

8 CSHTI, 1.

Advertisements

The fact of the matter is this, someone IS preying upon our weakness, he doesn’t play fair and he is consumed with one thing…murdering my (and your) soul! He goes by many names but biblically we know him by the name Satan, which means “the accuser.” I’m going to state something which may shock many of you but you need to hear this…

Satan is real.

The reason I made a point of letting you know that Satan really exists is because he would like nothing more than you to believe that he doesn’t exist! Satan is the master manipulator, deceiver, accuser and liar. Jesus speaking about Satan says, “When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44b) This is the very thing which makes Satan so effective in his destructive attacks, he knows how to attack our weaknesses and his lies are so convincing.

Let’s go back to the Garden for a moment. I’ve already established the fact that Adam and Eve’s sin was caused by their own evil desires but they definitely had help developing those desires. Satan comes to Eve and immediately begins to lie, “Did God really say you must not eat from any tree in the Garden?” (Genesis 3:1b) Eve knows that God allowed them to eat from EVERY tree except for one, but that is all Satan needs to spin his web of destruction and evil; 99% truth and to question God’s motives. Satan lives in 99% truth, “you will not surely die” he tells Eve and he was 99% right but 100% wrong, and you see that is where our evil desires love to hang out and mingle. We try so hard to justify why we need or want to sin and Satan preys upon this; make it mostly right and we justify sin all day long and the Deceiver sits back and laughs.

The second thing that Satan does is he makes us question the motives of God. He whispers in our ears that God is holding back something from us, not allowing us to have fun, punishing us or just simply neglecting us. Satan says to Eve, “you won’t die, God knows what will happen if you eat, you’ll be like him and he doesn’t want that.” (my paraphrase) Think about it for a moment, when something bad happens we question why God would ever allow it to happen, we question how our loving God could ever use suffering or pain for our good. Satan fuels these thoughts in our minds so that we believe that the One trying to rescue us is actually the enemy. The father of lies…hard at work. Yet the Bible teaches us something different about God’s character, we are told that, “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32) We can always trust the character of God, we can always trust he has good in store for us (8:28) because God proved himself to us through the crucifixion and resurrection of his Son, Jesus Christ.

He died for us so that we wouldn’t have to submit ourselves to the schemes of Satan any longer and He died for us so that “the Accuser” could no longer slander those who are in Christ Jesus. Sin is very real and it flows from the evil desires of our hearts while it is being massaged and fueled by the deception of Satan.

*

.

.

.

.

.

.

*OK , so I couldn’t find a single biblical reason why 🙂 But while you are here why not sign up by email for my blog! Always witty, engaging, uplifting and honoring to God, you don’t want to miss my next post!

Maybe you don’t agree with the notion that we are responsible for our own sin; that I sin because I want to sin. A short parable here may help us understand…

Early one morning a man walked out of a building and came across a man sitting dejected on the curb with his head in his hands. The man walking was going to pass on by without saying a word when he noticed that the person sitting on the curb was actually Satan! The man stopped for a moment and cautiously walked over to the rather miserable looking devil and asked him “what’s wrong with you?” Satan slowly looked up at the man, answering him with a question and a quiver in his voice…”why does everybody blame everything bad on me?!”

Now don’t get me wrong here. Satan definitely plays a role with evil and sin and I will address that in the next post, but for now, let’s look at ourselves.

Recently at the treatment center where I preach at on Sunday mornings a woman asked me a question during the Q & A time of the service. “My life was perfect,” she said. “I went to church every week, went to Bible study and small group and every aspect of my life was completely perfect. I had NO reason to start drinking but I did. Why did I throw my life away, why did I ruin a perfect thing?” That is an excellent question and reminds me of a similar “perfect” situation.

When God created this world he made everything perfect and without sin. God told Adam and Eve that they had dominion over the animals and the garden, they were in control of this perfect place God had created. Everything was their’s except for one little thing, God told them “you must not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” (Genesis 2:17) Everything was PERFECT…so why did Adam and Eve sin? Because they desired to sin! Look at Genesis 3:6, “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.” Sin looks good! Sin looks desirable! Sin looks fun! We sin because we desire something more, even when everything is perfect! The first step at understanding and overcoming sin is by understanding the desires of our hearts. James tells us, “but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” (1:14-15)

We sin because of the desires of our hearts. We sin when everything is perfect. Could it get any worse than that? I hope no one is preying upon this glaring weakness that I have…

(Pt 3 coming very soon! Click on the “Sign Me Up” button on the left of the screen to make sure you don’t miss out on the rest of this series, Perfect Sin.)

Sin.

There…I said it. The one word people recoil from, become enraged over and often times flatly refuse it’s existence. Like a purple unicorn most people consider sin to be in the same mythological grouping of objects that used to exist but don’t anymore. People often equate the word sin to guilt, shame and religious manipulation…the kind that was used during the dark ages but nothing that sensible, well educated, cultured people would refer to today. No, today we don’t “sin” what we do is far more genteel than that. Today we might “make a mistake” or perhaps “mess something up” even going as far as  “doing something wrong” but at the end of the day we don’t “sin.” Because if we did “sin” it would mean that something was inherently wrong with us and it would mean that we are accountable for our sinful behaviors.

Guess what? We do sin, there is something inherently wrong with us and we will be held accountable for our sins.

That’s not the scary part though, the scary part is why we sin. Whatever you are doing right now, stop it. I need your full attention before we go on to the next line, spend the next 10 seconds concentrating only on what you will read next, in fact, read it out loud…

I sin because I WANT to sin.

Let that sink in for just a moment. I sin because I want to sin; I curse because I want to curse, I steal because I want to steal, I cheat because I want to cheat, I lie because I want to lie, I kill because I want to kill…I sin because I WANT to sin. Jeremiah 17:9 states “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” We deceive ourselves if we think for a moment that we are not the originators of our sin.

Intrigued, infuriated or indecisive? I’ve only scratched the surface…

(Pt 2 coming very soon! Click on the “Sign Me Up” button on the left of the screen to make sure you don’t miss out on the rest of this series, Perfect Sin.)

Many of you have messaged me and asked “when are you going to write again?” First, let me apologize for not being able to post in the last few weeks, a little something called Seminary has kept me from blogging. To give you an idea I have written 4 papers in the last 10 days and have one last final this week! All this means though is that Very Soon I will be posting again.

I am planning a 3-part series on sin that I think will be different from what you normally would read and that you definitely want to check out! So, just a little more patience and I promise you won’t be disappointed!

What’s Happening on Twitter

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

Follow SantinoCantalup on Twitter

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,637 other followers

Advertisements