Just outside my office, a billboard stands high, decrying the evils of sex-trafficking: “Stop modern-day slavery.”
By way of introduction, this is a clever campaign message. Finding similarities between historic American slavery and modern American sex-trafficking, then publishing them as one in the same, is great marketing. I work in marketing. I get it.
This technique is used to draw the attention of the intended audience. The same thing has been done in the campaign against abortion. Although I’ve never seen a billboard that reads, “Stop legalized murder,” I am sure the words have been used. The logic goes like this … Americans are generally okay with abortion, but not murder. Abortion is technically murder. So, we’ll call it murder instead. This will get their attention.
People are stirred by their emotions. If you desire to evoke a strong response, you need to make a strong emotional connection. Call it murder, not abortion. Or, in this case, call it slavery, not sex-trafficking.
While this is great messaging, it reveals something very sad about our society: Americans are okay with sex-trafficking.
This is why it has to be described as slavery. Americans have a terrible past with slavery which I need not revisit. Slavery leaves a sour taste in our mouth and a hot temper in our head. Slavery arouses our emotions and provokes us to action. Sex-trafficking, on the other hand, is part of our debased culture. We’re secretly cool with it.
We love and worship sex. Pornography, prostitution, adultery, and premarital affairs are things we accept as entertainment. And some of us will go to great lengths to be entertained. In general, sex-trafficking does not stir up negative emotions because it is positively accepted, for the most part, as entertainment.
For this reason, it is difficult to start a revolution against sex-trafficking. It has to be called slavery. Slavery imposes on the American dream. Sex-trafficking does not.
The campaign message to abolish sex-trafficking is well-delivered and much needed. I hope it helps convince people of the evil. But if the underlying issue is not resolved, the message will ultimately fail.
We have a problem with sin, particularly sexual sin. Sex is our master. It has made us slaves (cf: Matt. 6:24). And since it has made us slaves, we are making slaves out of young, vulnerable girls. This is sex-trafficking: Slaves to sex making slaves for sex.
I would rather the billboard read: “Repent and Turn to Christ.” But, I have a feeling that won’t go over well (Acts 3:19).
Here are a few resources on the subject of sex-trafficking:
- Sex Trafficking and Our National Humiliation
- Why Legalized Prostitution Increases Sex Trafficking
- 9 Things You Should Know About Human Trafficking
- What Christians Do About Modern-Day Slavery