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11/15/13 at 07:04 PM 0 Comments

Rape for Profit: New Documentary Shows the Faces of Sex Trafficking

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By Luke Gilkerson

Prostitution is the main act. Porn is the dress rehearsal.” – Victor Malarek

Sex trafficking may be the social justice issue of this generation. From major cities to small town America, grassroots movements have sprung up to raise awareness, protect the victims, and prosecute the oppressors.

But the icons of pop culture send a very mixed message. The same celebrities that tweet “Real men don’t buy girls” also make their living starring in sex-saturated Hollywood films. MTV encourages the youth of the world to host flash mobs to speak out against trafficking, but then to the same youth promotes increasingly pornographic music videos of today’s hottest artists.

What’s the message they send? The message is: I can stand against the buying and selling of human bodies for sex, but at the same time I can participate in a culture that tells women they are most valuable when they play to the sexual appetites of others.

This is schizophrenic, at best.

Rape for Profit

Prostitution-related activity is the most common kind of human trafficking in the US. In order to adequately address the massive criminal enterprise of sex trafficking on a national scale, three major pieces must be a place:

  • Supply: Prostitutes must be decriminalized and then helped as victims of neglect, abuse, and coercion.
  • Distribution: Pimps must be brought to justice for preying upon and profiting from the most vulnerable.
  • Demand: Men must escape the lures of our pornified culture that whets their appetites for commercial sex.

All three of these pieces are addressed in the new documentary, Rape for Profit.

Rape for Profit might best be called “vigilante filmography.” Filmmakers Eric Esau and Jason Pamer of Mew Films do more than capture the gritty realities of prostitution: they chase down johns attempting to buy sex, go head-to-head with pimps, and speak tenderly to the young girls trapped in a sad life of sexual servitude.

The Victims

Rape for Profit offers an up-close and personal look at the lives of girls working the streets of Seattle. There, the average girl begins turning tricks at 13 years old, proving that prostitution is not the oldest profession. It is the oldest oppression.

After growing up in an abusive home, Darly became friends with a woman who would later become her madame. “Little did I know I would be in the worst hell,” she says. In the course of her work, she serviced men from every walk of life: lawyers, doctors, businessmen, even pastors.

Her madame forced her to have three abortions in her time as a prostitute. After one abortion she hemorrhaged badly and went to the hospital to have a D&C. The physicians wanted her to stay overnight but her madame said, “No. We don’t have any money for dinner. Get back out there and work.” So she did.

Very few women around the world end up in prostitution without sexual harm in their past, leaving them vulnerable to the advances of pimps and johns who are more than happy to take advantage of them.

Just Lust

Dan Allender from the Seattle School of Theology and Psychology says pimps have “an infinite market.” Everywhere are men who are “seeking the services of an abused woman who has now been caught in the trial of being a prostituted woman.” This, he says, is the essence of prostitution: The misuse of another person’s helplessness for sexual pleasure.

What creates this appetite for young prostitutes? As pornography pushes the limits, portraying women as younger and younger, and as pop culture “adultifies” children in its TV shows and advertising, Allender says our culture is showing signs of a “pedophilic drift.”

“Porn drives demand for trafficking. It’s a form of advertising for prostitution,” says Noel Bouche of pureHOPE. “When a society demands more porn, it’s demanding more prostituted women. It’s demanding more exploited women. It’s demanding more women being turned into objects and commodities.”

In Rape for Profit, each john shares the same story: porn created in them a thirst for illicit sex. One john arrested in the film happened to be deaf. Spying his wedding ring, the cops ask him why he would hurt his family by seeking out a prostitute. Grabbing a pen and paper, the john writes: “Just lust.”

Making a Difference

Producer Jason Pamer says he was first moved to do something about the problem of sex trafficking in his city when he heard Linda Smith from Shared Hope International talk about this epidemic. He says that as a man he felt acutely responsible for this problem. He came to believe that decent men should no longer be bystanders.

According to Debra Boyer’s research, anywhere from 300 to 500 underage girls are selling their bodies tonight in Seattle. In response to this, concerned citizens and law enforcement officials have created the Genesis Project, offering a temporary home for girls who want to get out of the life they are in.

Pamer remembers the night the Genesis Project drop-in center opened. He met two sisters, 14 and 15 years old, who had been selling themselves online. “For me, that put a face to the problem,” he says. “This 14 year old girl is on the street, and I have some say in that.”

Get Rape For Profit on iTunes

I’ve seen a number of films about this subject, but none have moved me the way Rape for Profit has. Several times I found myself pausing the film just to bury my face in my hands and weep for the victims of this heinous crime. I believe a film like this will spur many to action.

Keep in mind: this film is raw and real, dealing with a dark and sinister world. Viewer discretion is advised. You will see several provocative images of exploited women. You will hear johns and pimps cuss out police and cameramen. You will hear stories of brutality, neglect, and sexual violence that will put a pit in your stomach.

But most of all, you will have your heart broken, and you will see the hope that is possible when men stand up for those who are victimized.

When it comes to sex trafficking, the words of John Stuart Mill remain true: “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.”


Luke Gilkerson is the general editor and primary author of the Covenant Eyes blog. Luke has a BA in Philosophy and Religious Studies from Bowling Green State University and is working on an MA in Religion from Reformed Theological Seminary. Luke and his wife Trisha are the proud parents of four sons. Luke and Trisha blog at IntoxicatedOnLife.com

CP Blogs do not necessarily reflect the views of The Christian Post. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author(s).