CANCELLING CANCEL CULTURE
A Grace-Filled Perspective on Trafficking
Information is the currency of our time. And like all currencies, it either appreciates in value or depreciates depending on how it is handled.
For the past few months, there have been a number of articles floating around regarding human trafficking. This has been a hotter topic of conversation than usual thanks to the long awaited the arrest of Jeffrey Epstein, the recent arrest his partner Ghislaine Maxwell, videos and petitions around shutting down Pornhub, and now some articles floating about Wayfair’s alleged entanglement with it.
First let me be clear: human trafficking is not a conspiracy theory of any kind. There are 40 million people today enslaved all over the world. But we need to be careful about spreading misinformation and over-sensationalizing a problem that’s evilness needs no exaggeration.
By exploiting the poor and vulnerable, the trafficking industry profits over $150 billion globally by raping women and children for profit, but we make jokes about it in movies like Pitch Perfect. It’s an industry where men, women and children work 18 to 20 hours and are severely abused while we continue to demand cheaper and cheaper products through our consumerism. It’s an industry where we think people have made poor choices, failing to understand the manipulation, abuse, and brainwashing that has occurred. The stories are endless (approximately 40 million stories if you want to put a number on it).
So when it comes to Wayfair, we don’t “cancel” Wayfair and we don’t call it a conspiracy. We listen, seek the facts, and call for accountability. We don’t jump to conclusions, but we do ask questions and investigate. When news about Backpage.com was coming out, I had numerous conversations with friends and employees of the company who denied the allegations—denied all the evidence that had been collected over years and was pointing towards the sex trafficking of men, women, and children.
You want to be an abolitionist? You want to help eradicate the evils of slavery? Don’t spread bad information. Instead, learn about what the problem is, what the root of the problem is, and how to not just treat the symptom but cure the disease. Don’t say something is true or false if you haven’t done the due diligence or work to see if there is any merit to the narrative. We have grow in our confidence in saying, “I don’t know, but I’m working to find out.” Ignorance is not bliss, it’s just ignorance. But there’s a difference between sitting in your ignorance and fighting to find facts to demolish it. The 40 million who are enslaved need us to fight the right fight and play the long game.
The numbers are overwhelming and I’m often asked, what do I do? So here are three steps :
Take time to learn the facts. Learn what causes this evil. Go to benefit dinners. Stop arguing about the problem and building on conspiracies and seek to understand the issues from people who have spent years talking to law enforcements, law makers, lawyers, victims, traffickers, pimps, homeless people, social workers, trafficking organizations, pastors – the list goes on.
We all are part of the problem. We promote a hyper sexualized culture and don’t understand how that fuels demand for sex trafficking. We buy and demand cheaper products like clothes and want them faster, sending companies the message that they need to do better so they put pressure on their supply chain (i.e. people). Do you know what fair trade is? Do you understand how our promotion of a hypersexualized culture (demand for strip clubs, porn, movies and show that show pornographic images) contributes to sex trafficking? I know old habits die hard and it’s easier to post articles online than change your buying patterns but we can do it.
We can ALL do something. The more likely scenario than someone being sold in a file cabinet is that your kid, niece, nephew, cousin, student, friend’s kid, friend is being abused by a family member, family friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, stranger. Create a safe space and lean into the conversation so they know they can come to you and be protected. Tell them they don’t have to be scared to share something or ask you about sex. Most children are afraid to tell an adult if they’ve been abused for fear of not being believed, especially if an adult has abused them. The average age of entry into prostitution is expected to be somewhere between 12 and 17 years and the average age of exposure to porn is 8 to 11 years old.
I had someone tell me years ago that this will never go away, and I told them I pray every day that it does. They said prayer doesn’t work, and I was so sad to hear that because I knew they didn’t know Who I was praying to. Since that conversation, I’ve seen traffickers become informants, former pimps become abolitionists and abusers become rescuers, but it wasn’t because they were condemned or canceled. This happened because they were rescued, restored and redeemed through a God who doesn’t cancel people. He changes people.
A lot of times, we “cancel” men and do not give them a voice in this conversation because of their proclivity to porn (although 1 in 3 women statistically are addicted to it), sex, and our rape culture. And this is one of our biggest mistakes because some of the strongest voices and advocates I know are men—men who have had porn addictions and now use their voices to speak out against the porn industry. Men who once purchased women (and men) for sex are now integral to the fight. If we continue this culture of condemnation for past and current choices and don’t encourage education and allow people to change, we won’t move forward.
Demand justice, seek accountability, embody a righteous anger against this evil, and don’t grow weary in doing good.
“Open you mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.”