CHARLOTTE, N.C., Feb. 21, 2018 /Christian Newswire/ -- Recently, the USA Gymnastics and Hollywood sexual abuse scandals have garnered tremendous awareness and support through avenues like the #MeToo movement. While these tragic situations merit the increased awareness and discussion, the ever-swelling tidal wave of sex-trafficking victims deserves equal scrutiny.
Sex-trafficking is a $150 billion global industry, with $3.5 billion in the United States alone. This criminal enterprise is the second largest international crime industry surpassing drug smuggling and only trailing illegal arms sales. L.G. Gibson, a licensed and ordained minister who has spent years helping victims heal from the trauma of abuse, believes the Christian community has the authority to lead in ending the epidemic.
"Our faith has the ability and the tenacity to eradicate this human tragedy with a three-pronged approach focusing on the victims, the pimps, and the Johns," she said.
There are an estimated 20.9 million victims of human trafficking across the globe. "These victims are sold like cattle to the highest bidder and flippantly passed from stall to stall," said Gibson. She speaks as a survivor of sexual abuse and author of Through Tears and Sugar Cubes, a guide for healing from sexual abuse, to be released this month.
While the average sex-trafficked victim is sold for ninety dollars, the pimps cash in with a return on investment of 100 to as high as 1000 percent according to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). According to a study by the Urban Institute, some pimps earn as much as $32,833 per week. "The pimps get rich, the Johns get their fix, and the victims are caught in a vicious cycle from which they have difficulty escaping," she said.
The average cost to rescue a sex-trafficking victim is $30K per person, but the cost does not end there according to Gibson.
Victims of sex-trafficking suffer severe physical and psychological abuse. Abuse victims are three times more likely to suffer from depression, six times more likely to suffer from a post-traumatic stress disorder, thirteen times more likely to abuse alcohol, twenty-six times more likely to abuse drugs, and 64 percent attempt or commit suicide. "Healing hearts and changing mindsets are the only way we can keep these victims from returning to their pimps and breaking the cycle."
That healing begins at the Cross according to Gibson and it is only in Christ that victims of sex-trafficking will find peace. Faith-based organizations are some of the first to pick up the torch in many human tragedies and natural disasters, and she believes Christians should lead the journey to freedom for sex-trafficking victims as well. Gibson says, "It is imperative we lead the way here as we have with so many other causes."