The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


'We're your daughters'

Winnipeg consultation educates Lutherans about commercial sexual exploitation

Six years ago, Joy Friedman, now 43, found her way out of prostitution. Raped at 15, she was prostituted or trafficked for more than 20 years by pimps and men who said they loved her.

“My first trafficker said he’d cut my mother’s head off,” Friedman told more than 50 participants at a Lutheran consultation on commercial sexual exploitation, Nov. 3-5, in Winnipeg, Canada. “I saw him do vicious things to women he said he cared about, and I knew he didn’t care about my mother.”

The consultation was sponsored by the Lutheran World Federation’s North American region, Women of the ELCA, the ELCA, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, and Evangelical Lutheran Women (Canada).

Courtesy of Evangelical Lutheran Women<BR><BR>Joy
Joy Friedman, a former prostitute, spoke to participants at a Lutheran consultation on commercial sexual exploitation Nov. 3-5 in Winnipeg, Canada.

In a message produced out of the consultation, leaders wrote: “We lament as we see people being turned into objects, commodities .... [We are called] to bring together lawmakers, police, social workers, church workers and the trafficked and prostituted in order to work together to address commercial sexual exploitation. ... [We are called] to be the kingdom of God, to welcome the drunk, the high, the prostitute, and the dying, and to be willing to open ourselves to the healing they bring as they become the presence of Christ for us.”

Trafficking, as defined by the U.N., is “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons by improper means, such as force, abduction, fraud or coercion, for an improper purpose, like forced or coerced labor, servitude, slavery or sexual exploitation.”

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