Written by Bridget Battistoni
on March 26, 2014
It would seem there is cause to despair. Hundreds of girls and young women are being bought and sold for sex every night in Seattle. They are forced to endure repeated acts of violent sexual exploitation for the profit of their traffickers and the pleasure of their buyers. The hearts of men are so full of lust and sexual deviance that they are paying to exploit girls among one of the most the most vulnerable demographics in our culture. The porn industry continues to promote sexual violence and nurture addictions of objectifying and abusing women. It would seem there is indeed cause to despair or, worse yet, grow apathetic to these evils and chalk it up to “that’s just how the world works.”
We should be grieved. We should weep. We should be freaking out. We should experience righteous, anger. We should explode with compassion and be moved to meaningful action. But, despite the dominant culture’s best efforts to convince us otherwise, we should never, ever despair.
A mentor of mine used to say, “hope is a theological virtue.” The Psalmist cried out in similar fashion: “I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth (Ps 121:1).”
At REST, we are in the business of looking to Jesus for help; His promises leave no doubt that He is making all things new, and that victims of sex trafficking and people involved in the sex trade are not beyond the reach of the redemption and restoration that Grace provides. We are in the business of refusing to believe the voice of the dominant culture, people who do not always agree that there is hope for the young women and girls we serve or, even more so, the men who buy and sell them. And while all that we do is motivated by the love of Jesus, we are committed to serving young women of all faiths.
Providing pathways to freedom, safety, and hope for girls and young women victimized by sex trafficking and people involved in the sex trade is a long journey of obedience. There are many joys, victories, and celebrations. There are also gutting setbacks, deep disappointments, and opportunities to stretch and trust God in ways that we would likely rather not. We are a ministry of presence, mercy, and justice; hallmarked by personal sacrifice, authentic relationships, and competent services; and striving for programmatic quality that is world class. We are consistently engaging with the anti-trafficking community to learn, listen, and share best practices.
On Friday, April 25th at 6:30 pm at Westminster Chapel, Real Escape from the Sex Trade (REST) will present: Sex Trafficking and the Gospel, our spring fundraising and awareness event. Learn how the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus bring hope and healing to those who have been wrecked by sexual exploitation. Hear from social justice visionary Eugene Cho, our keynote speaker, and people who have experienced this reality first hand. Join us for this unique opportunity to learn what fuels the mission of REST. Register for free today.