Seduction, Sale and Slavery: Trafficking in women and children for sexual exploitation in southern Africa

Delightful evening reading, no? No.

It is so hard to read. So painful. I experience a fluctuating range of emotions as I sit here on the couch in my dorm room, reading about the strategies employed by traffickers to deceive and exploit young women and children. I tremble with burning anger. My stomach churns, and I fight to keep my food down. As I read, my heart aches for the abused. My mind trips and tumbles over thoughts. Ideas. How to stop this? How to save some?

I tremble with burning anger.

“So,” I think, “this is how they steal, kill, and destroy.” I read how they offer a ray of hope and a helping hand to the poor, the orphan, the most vulnerable, only to draw them into a seemingly endless cycle of abuse and exploitation. They seem so evil, like a lifeguard who rescues a drowning child, only to beat the air out of the child’s lungs and submerge him again.

Listen to the voices of these young women without hope:

“Someone sells you to a man. You stay with him by force… he does not care about you. When you left home they said you were going to work but when you arrive there, you get no job. you are sold to a man… you find that you are suffering…”
– A young woman from Mozambique 

“They mock you… like they say whatever they want to say… they will just insult you, ‘you bitch, there’s nothing we can do with you, we’re just here to f— you and feel you out’ …sit there and smile, ‘look at that whore’ …’you dog.'”
– A teenage girl from Lesotho

“I can never feel safe… I don’t feel security in the whole of Africa. I am tired of this life. We have no choices for safety in this life.”
– A woman from Angola

“I know lots of women in the same situation… the same stories as mine… I could take you to lots of women who are suffering. The men are doing terrible things to us… some of these women have even gone to the police and they have been given no solutions.”
– A woman from Ethiopia

Reading this, I can hear their voices, fast and animated in my imagination. Their hands keep pace with their words, and they make eye contact with their audience. They are bold in this moment of honesty. They are convinced of their desperation. It is the truest reality of their existence. They share their deepest hurts, then pause and lower their eyes. They have tried to die to their pain, but it is still there.


I am in the process of gathering research for my senior scholarship project, a white paper, proposing necessary interventions for the prevention of sexual exploitation in South Africa leading up to the World Cup in 2010. 

I am incensed. I am confused. I feel so inadequate.

I feel God’s heart breaking inside of me. He has, time and again, called out for His people to care for the needs of the most vulnerable. The marginalized. The widows and orphans. The poor.

Jesus was the man who went to the broken. He sought out the hurting.

These women and children are on His heart.

Who will bring them hope?
Hope for a safe tomorrow?
Hope for healing?
Hope for a good future?

Who will rescue them so that they may be free to dream again?

I’m angry. SO angry. Like the prophets in the Old Testament, there is a fire in my bones crying out for justice to be done unto the least of these.

Who will bring justice? Who will end this evil? Who will step up and spit in its face? Who will condemn the rampant corruption? Who will risk his or her own safety to stand up to the traffickers and their networks? Who will defeat the organized crime?

Still, I remember that this battle, although real and evident in the physical world, is not against flesh and blood- but against rulers and powers and principalities of this dark world. Yeah.

Who will pray through until the victory? Who will know how to wield the WORD, our weapon, sharper than any double-edged sword- piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, joints and marrow, a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart? Who will declare to the principalities and powers that they are defeated in the name of Jesus?!

This battle is against the father of lies. The accuser. The fallen angel who knows his time is short. The roaring lion, seeking any to devour. That ancient thief, murderer, and destroyer is the driving force of this struggle, but He is the one who will soon be crushed under our LORD’s feet!

Praise Jesus! YES! Our King Jesus is victorious! We can dance and shout and rejoice in that eternal truth!

Now, let’s live like we believe it. If we know this battle is won, why are we afraid? Why do we sit back and do nothing? Why doesn’t the church risk it all for the sake of the lost, the abused, the dying, the disenfranchised? Why not? Is the arm of the LORD too short? CERTAINLY NOT!

Sweet LORD Jesus, mighty conquering God, show me the way, that I may walk in it.

About Jennie Joy

I'm a lover and truth-seeker. This blog is a place for me to share my thoughts, struggles, and sincere searchings as I get to know God and welcome the reality of His kingdom in and through me.

3 responses »

  1. Jennie,I take it you are a student at IWU? Did we ever meet? I graduated in April of ’06 with a degree in Youth Min. Just curious…Thank you for your thoughts on here. God is stirring up something within you that many other people can share in and be transformed by. How did this paper turn out? Do you have any connections to ministries among sex trafficking? A good friend of mine whom I interned with at IWU (she is an alum as well) has started a non-profit and I am sure she would love to talk with you if you are interested. She just recently got back from making a video in Cambodia (I think) and is planning on releasing it in California soon.Follow the link of SOLD on my page if you are interested. http://www.soldproject.comGod‘s blessings. Keep up the good work!

  2. Jennie says:

    Hey Mike-Thanks for the read!Yes, I’m a student at IWU. I don’t know if I ever met you, but I worked with Cassie in Carmin Hall- so I knew OF you.As for the paper, it’s still in process. I’ll present it to the student body in April.Yes, I have some connections with ministries dealing with this issue, but I’m always looking for more. I’ve been offered a position with an anti-trafficking coalition in Cambodia, so, I will definitely check out your friend’s site- and would be interested in seeing the film. Cheers.

  3. […] God that my classes this semester are wonderful! My research on sex-trafficking in South Africa is advancing bit by bit. I’ve continued in ministry to my youth group in Indianapolis, and […]

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