The following was printed by Tony Campolo at Red Letter Christian before Christmas. I just read it today and thought it was something worth reprinting. One quick highlight from Chris' article:
I was recently with some friends who are deeply concerned about issues of poverty. They were telling me about the glossy catalogues of human need that turn things like freedom into formulas as advertising jingles, "for only $35 you can help get a Cambodian woman out of a brothel."
But when we step back and evaluate these kinds of giving opportunities I'm not so sure they aren't creating new forms of exploitation and new kinds of commodification. It's tragic enough that a person's sexuality has been reduced to something that can be bought and sold, and now to turn their freedom into a commodity as well seems to further diminish their humanity.
Stop “Prostituting” Needs
By Tony Campolo
Within our world no form of modern slavery may be greater than that of human sex trafficking. A good friend of mine, and fellow Red Letter Christian, Chris Heuertz, international director of Word Made Flesh, has spent his life working to free women from forced prostitution and to make others aware that human sex trafficking is as rampant now as ever.
In 2010 it was estimated that the human sex trafficking industry included as many as 27 million victims and brought in roughly $32 billion per year. If these numbers do not signify that we have a problem on our hands, a problem that many of us have never heard of or have never taken seriously, then I don’t know what will.
The question naturally becomes: so what can I do to help put an end to such violence and exploitation? Chris Heuertz’s recent article in the Washington Post addresses this very question. Is it enough to simply give money to an organization and let them do the work? A deeper question though is whether giving money in an effort to “free” an individual from forced slavery is the proper way to go about the task. This is the question Chris addresses in most depth.
I implore you to read Chris’ article and think about the ways in which money can be helpful to ministries yet may also exploit those individuals some ministries seek to assist. It’s an article you may need to read more than once, taking time to reflect on certain statements and the message Chris is preaching.