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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Keeping kids safe

Excerpts from the Message on Commercial Sexual Exploitation adopted by the ELCA Church Council on Nov. 11, 2001:

"Global sex trafficking is the largest source of recruits for the system of sexual exploitation. Sex trafficking involves recruiting, harboring, buying, selling, and transporting people into or within a country by force, deception, and inducement, in order to exploit them for commercial sexual purposes. Women and girls are almost exclusively the targets of this lucrative and fastest-growing criminal enterprise in the global economy. Between 700,000 to 2 million women and children are trafficked across national borders each year for prostitution. Among these are 50,000 trafficked into the United States annually, including 17,000 youth.

"The following identifies some arenas to encourage reflection, discussion and action:

• "Equip the Saints. We esteem children and youth as God's precious gifts to us, knowing that not only is this the right thing to do but also that it is the best way to keep them safe from the manipulative deceit of
predators.

• "Find out what is happening in your community. Learn about the system of sexual exploitation--locally, nationally and globally. Read, consult studies available on the Internet, and invite police and other knowledgeable people to talk in your congregation.

• "Address the demand for what the system of sexual exploitation offers. One way ... is to provide safe settings for men, women and youth to talk about their attitudes toward and struggles with prostitution, pornography, stripping and appropriate uses of the Internet.

• "Explore the law's role.

• "Examine spending and investments. ... Members may find themselves compelled to boycott or to divest from corporations whose earnings come from making, selling or promoting these products (associated with the sex industry).

• "Support social agencies that work with youth and adults who are in prostitution."


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