Hello, my name is Elissa Buckles, and I am excited to be joining the Project Cultivate team as resident blogger! I don’t recall the first time I learned about the sex industry, but I remember being horrified when I read about rampant, unchecked sexual abuse of the poor and marginalized in the developing world, as chronicled in The Good News about Injustice. (Quick note on the title: the author, International Justice Mission founder Gary Haugen, believes that “the good news about injustice is that God is against it” and “is in the business of using the unlikely to accomplish justice and mercy.”)[i]
Sex trafficking ensnares millions and is the fastest growing crime in the world.[ii] But until joining Project Cultivate I never realized that sex trafficking traps women (and some men) in the United States as well. But it isn’t just the United States. I was dismayed to learn that Los Angeles California, a half-hour drive from APU, is one of the top thirteen cities for the sex industry in the United States.[iii] While statistics are hard to corroborate for such a secret, transitory industry, there are at least thousands of individuals involved, and 91% of women in the sex industry (prostitutes, strippers, “escorts,” etc.) would like to leave but don’t think they can, because they are too emotionally and/or financially dependent upon the industry.[iv]
At the beginning of this semester, I thought I’d be too busy to join Project Cultivate, but after schedule and major changes I ended up joined with Enactus. As I’ve learned more about the exploitation of the sex industry and how it traps and warps the personhood of women and men involved, I’ve been shocked and saddened. Yet despite the seemingly insurmountable odds, God is at work to redeem and restore all things. On behalf of Project Cultivate, I hope this blog can reveal the truth about what is marketed as a glamorous, exciting industry. We also desire to communicate that there is love and assistance for women and men who participate (willingly or unwillingly) in the market for sex. Finally, we wish to provide ways to help you educate others about the industry’s evils, so that together we can affirm and construct a culture of empowerment, identity, and love.
[i] Amazon.com book description, The Good News About Injustice, Amazon.com, http://www.amazon.com/Good-About-Injustice-Updated-Anniversary/dp/0830837108/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1458170946&sr=8-1&keywords=the+good+news+about+injustice (accessed March 16, 2016).
[ii] Vollkommer, Ryan. “ToGetHer Freedom Initiative.” Lecture, Together Freedom Initiative, Azusa CA, March 2, 2016.
[iv] Dust, Harmony. In “Sex Sells: Who pays the price?” YouTube. Flash video file. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9c1tGD7f2Hs (accessed March 16, 2016).