I first noticed our reticence to tackle taboo topics in the church over 15 years ago, years before I became the head of the Wesleyan Church in North America. After being exposed to human trafficking during a visit to Svay Pak, Cambodia, I found this multi-billion dollar industry horrifying and left determined to join with other Christians to end this injustice. For years, I met a church hesitant to talk about, much less fight, this violation of human rights.
It was more than a lack of awareness, but a resistance to discuss difficult things like sexual exploitation within the church. Nevertheless, I joined the other Christian advocates who could not stop talking about the invaluable role the church had to play in the fight against trafficking. Little by little, we witnessed attitudes shift, and today we see the church has tremendous momentum in the global effort to end human trafficking.
I’m encouraged by this. I’m encouraged because it means we're closer to ending human trafficking. And I’m encouraged because it means there is hope that the church will have the courage to address other difficult issues like female genital mutilation, or FGM.
Female genital mutilation has received growing interest from policy makers and not-for-profit organizations. With this awareness, this practice may come to an end within a generation, a goal set forth by the United Nations.
Earlier this year, President Barack Obama addressed FGM for the first time, announcing that his administration will conduct new research to determine prevalence in the U.S. and next steps for addressing the problem. Yet for all the initiatives aimed at ending FGM worldwide, this issue—due to its unfamiliarity and graphic nature—is ...1
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