According to my husband, sometimes my instincts lean too much toward drama and not enough on common sense. Last month, his theory was validated. After sitting through a two-day seminar on sex-trafficking offered at our Jupiter, Florida, church, it was apparent that without this education, my impulse to save someone in danger probably would get me tortured.
For example, one video we watched—filmed late at night by a New York, undercover cop–showed a street prostitute angrily confronting her pimp. With arms flailing, she held nothing back and turned to storm off, her pimp not far behind. Suddenly a group of five men sprinted towards her. Yea, I silently cheered. You, Mr. Pimp, are going DOWN!
Not even close. The quintet quickly joined her pimp, encircled her, and, instead of protecting her, began threatening her. At that point in the video, I knew what I would have done. I would have stormed into the middle of the gang, ripped the men’s heads off, buried their bodies in shallow graves in the woods, grabbed the girl and taken her to my home.
That’s what Dave means about me lacking common sense.
The prostitute, now cowering and covering her eyes, immediately lost confidence and gave up. I about came out of my chair, just watching the video. Our leader asked what we saw. One of the police officers in our group responded that he noticed two of the pimps carrying guns (something I failed to see). A psychologist answered that the reason the girl covered her eyes was because of a hidden rule among pimps: if a prostitute makes any eye contact with another pimp other than hers, her pimp will beat her up. A social worker shared that there is an unwritten code among pimps: they defend each other against the prostitute as a way of showing their girls what will happen to them, should they choose to defy orders.
Oh my gosh! No one came to her aid. The poor girl was trapped. Defenseless. What led her into such a position? Statistics say that between 80-90% of all prostitutes were sexually molested as children. Was she one?
This disgraced girl, emboldened for a few minutes, now felt worthless. What horrible fate awaited her later that night? We trainees then were warned that the next photo was not for the faint of heart. We cringed when we saw a picture of a prostitute in her hospital room, the apparent target of either her pimp or her john (the man who solicits a prostitute).
Ironically, the first day of our seminar, the news broke about the prostitution/sex-trafficking sting here in Jupiter. Ten spas were involved and 300 arrest warrants were issued. You probably heard about it, as an NFL owner and company CEO’s were among dozens being served arrest warrants for their participation. Although soliciting a prostitute is only a misdemeanor, local sheriff William Snyder said he believes women in the spas were supplied by human traffickers with ties to China and New York. Numerous services (including our church) now will spring into action to help rescue, restore and reform these women.
As I shared with Dave what I learned at the seminar, how I now grieve for instead of judge these prostitutes, our discussion soon turned to how God must view the pimps and the sexual deviants who promote such evil practices. What happened in their lives that they view women with such disgust? And then it dawned on me: They too need to be told about Jesus. Did I have the same empathy for them?
No, I did not. Not even close. Amazingly, God does. In 2 Peter 3:9, we read, “The Lord…is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” Get that? “All.” Including these sexual deviant thugs.
Obviously, there are many spiritual lessons I still need to learn.