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Saving Men from Their Own Sex Slavery

Nov 11 2011
According to Daniel Walker, author of 'God in a Brothel', it's not just children who need rescuing from the global sex trade.

"When I was a boy listening to an invitation to adventure, I had no idea it would be so painful," writes Daniel Walker in God in a Brothel: An Undercover Journey into Sex Trafficking and Rescue (InterVarsity, 2011). "But I also failed to understand why it was that this grace was so amazing and how it could be that this unlikely gift would ultimately triumph over my fear and shame."

In his heartbreaking yet hopeful story, Walker recounts his own experiences as an undercover detective, reminding the church to engage modern-day slavery. "Slavery is an inherent part of our Christian heritage, going back to the Garden of Eden where humanity was enslaved, right through to the greatest abolitionist, Jesus, who sets us free [and] seeks us out as free beings to set others free," Walker told me on a recent visit to Christianity Today.

Walker talked to me about his book (which is being sponsored by Compassion International and Hagar International as part of the Anti-Trafficking Tour) and how he came to see that Christians are "bearers of the most wild, dangerous, untamed force for good in the world."

One of the things I appreciated about your book is that you humanized men who purchased sex, noting that they too are enslaved.

There are books from people doing undercover work who say, "These are despicable, disgusting lowlifes." And they are. But it's easy to forget that we were all slaves and we're set free. They're enslaved by something that's much more visible.

What are ways to help men escape this form of slavery?

[In my former detective work,] we were holding people accountable for the evil they did, which ultimately we believe sets them free. By bringing them face to face with the injustice they perpetuated, they have two choices: they come to a point where they confess and accept their penalty as the way to freedom, or they go down the path of denial and deeper forms of slavery.

I wanted to make it clear in talking to these guys—like the guy who said, "You know, I hate my life and I hate what I do"—that he is powerless in his enslavement to the desires he's fed through pornography and other means.

So many men within the church are enslaved to that and other vices because they haven't heard, "There's a far greater adventure, there is far greater pleasure than you'll ever find in the imitations that you're looking in. And it's to use your masculine strength on behalf of the millions of little girls and desperate women who are waiting for you to show up. That's the adventure that you're called to." Because we're not doing that, they are trying to find an imitation that fills their need for risk and for danger and for adventure.

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