By: Shane James O’Neill
The first time I came face-to-face with sex trafficking I was 16 and working in Philadelphia. A guy named Matt would often come in, flaunting money and confidence.
As an impressionable 16-year-old, I thought he was pretty cool. His uncle owned a strip club in Philadelphia and Matt was always promising to take me, saying he could get me in, even though I was underage.
One day, Matt came in flashing pictures and videos on his phone. He had been at the club the day before and some of the girls had been used to create porn. They were beautiful. It looked like any porn you would see online; a viewer couldn’t tell the actresses were strippers.
Then Matt said, “My uncle just got in some new girls.” With a hungry look in his eyes, he continued, “They’re 16. We keep them in the back for private use.”
I wasn’t a Christian. At that point in life, I lived for pleasure. But in that moment, my soul was cracked open.
They were 16!
I was 16.
These were girls I should have crushes on, feeling anxiety about asking out, with sweaty hands and a racing heart. Instead, they were kept in the back of some strip club … “for private use.”
12 years later, I still remember those images.
That was the day I realized there is a core relationship between sex trafficking and pornography.
Most people think porn is harmless. But if someone was suffering for your pleasure, wouldn’t you want to know?
While God is speaking in Hosea 4:6 He says, “My people are destroyed from a lack of knowledge.” He goes on to say, “because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God.”
The priesthood of Christians is a significant role that the world desperately needs. To be a priest is simple: (1) we communicate the hope of Jesus to the world, and (2) we communicate the pain of the world back to God.
During the time Hosea was written, the people of God weren’t just failing to communicate God to the world, they were taking part in the sin and brokenness of the world. Both aspects of their priestly role were violated. In so many ways, in this pornographic age, that is us today.
The End It Movement
End It Movement is a coalition of organizations that come together to fight against the enslavement of people.
We can see the direct connection between pornography and slavery.
Yet, for the Christian this goes deeper, even our lust is enslavement. The significance of Jesus’ gospel is that He was enslaved, confined, abused, and killed as a criminal, so that we all can be children of God — freed from our sin, from loneliness, lust, depression, and meaninglessness.
Today we ban together to fight against slavery. We take up our priestly role of communicating the pain of the world and the hope of the gospel.
The cool part is we aren’t doing this alone. Jesus helps us to see that we can partner with the good in the world when He says, “If they are not against us then they are for us.”
Today, Proven Men proudly partners with the End It Movement, as we share the real pain, no longer hiding from the ugliness in humanity. Today, we pray for our King to come — that His Kingdom, His will, beauty, justice, and goodness, would be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Porn isn’t victimless and neither is lust. It’s time to stop exploiting ourselves and others for the sake of “private use.”
Join Proven Men to find freedom in your own life and share this article to help bring awareness to the world.
Join the fight!
Shane James O’Neill is the Editorial Director for ProvenMen Ministries. He is currently working on a graduate degree in apologetics at Liberty University’s Rawling School of Divinity.