When men first uncover the evil of child exploitation, they often initially desire to be the hero, running into the dark places to carry young girls out of oppression. It doesn’t take long to discover that it is more complicated unless you are already in law enforcement or are willing to be trained. It is certainly an option and a growing field for men and women to enter, but is just not going to be the path for most individuals. There are other ways, however, for men to be the hero and help change the future for survivors of sex trafficking.
For many men, after the hero complex wears off, we begin to realize that sex trafficking exists because of the sexual impulses of other men. WE are the problem. Even if you find the idea of paying anyone for sex repulsive, most men have battled temptation with lust and over 80% of men (even in the church) have participated in pornography. We must not allow the shame of this fact to keep us from joining in the effort. In fact, educating and mentoring other men (especially boys) about healthy sexuality is a uniquely male role in this battle. The fewer men who watch porn and purchase sex, the fewer victims there will be.
Similarly, when men simply parent with integrity and love, they can have a huge impact on the exploitation of girls. When men treat their wives with respect, they set an example for both their sons and daughters. It will teach their sons not to become men who exploit women and it will teach their daughters to believe in their worth. About 95% of the girls who come through our program have abusive dads, disconnected stepfathers, or sexually abusive men in their life. Think of the difference we can make by changing that statistic.
Most of the men interested enough to read this or attend an event where they learn about commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) are not struggling so much in this area. We are already invested and striving to raise children in love. However, how can you invest in your community? Are there mentoring programs or clubs where you can offer positive male examples to young girls and boys? Or, perhaps, find a way to serve single mothers who are struggling to raise teenagers.
A lack of hope coupled with the stress and anxiety of poverty are key factors in girls running away or becoming vulnerable to those who exploit them. In addition to mentoring and serving kids and their mothers directly, another way to provide hope is through creating jobs and internships for teens and moms. Our girls are made vulnerable because of a lack of resources and hope for a better future.
Whether through one of the ways mentioned here or more outside the box efforts, men have a role to play in fighting the exploitation of our children. We MUST play a role in fighting CSEC. No excuses. No waiting. Lets get started.