“Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” – John 8:36 NKJV
The title of the report as posted on the BBC News page, “The dark side of Brazil’s sex trade,” seems rather odd to me. One is left wondering what the “bright side"of Brazil’s sex trade might be. In any event, please watch the video before proceeding to read the rest of this post. I’m sorry it isn’t available to be embedded here.
Disturbing though they are, reports of this type help shine a light on a grim reality that is completely foreign to most of us. It’s hard to imagine mothers prostituting their own children and little girls having sex with strangers so they can buy crack. This is the unfortunate life of many young people in Brazil and elsewhere.
What children in the Brazilian sex trade represent is not so much the desperation of extreme poverty but the enslavement to sin that breaks down human dignity. Having lived for a few years in Brazil and being married to a beautiful Brazilian-American woman who grew up in difficult (though not in the favela) circumstances, I can say with a fair amount of insight that children being “driven” to prostitution out of dire necessity is rare.
When extended families fail to help (or grow weary of doing so) there are still public and private entities available to provide assistance. Evening begging is an option better than the sex alternative. It isn’t uncommon for children to hit up bakeries in the evening for leftover bread. It isn’t ideal by any means to resort to asking people for help, but it is far better than the easy money to be made in selling a child’s innocence.
“They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.” – Ephesians 4:18-19 ESV
That said, I have to insist that no body is better equipped than the church to confront the underlying societal, familial and personal ills that create these circumstances. When I say that Brazil needs more solid Christian community development efforts, this is the sort of thing that comes to my mind.
Did you notice in the video how Patricia’s mother seemed much more concerned about the money her daughter wasn’t bringing home that with the child’s well-being? That’s a family in complete breakdown and disarray. A mother who needs to be called to repentance and a little girl who needs drug intervention, recovery assistance and counseling. Who will provide that?
The women prostituting their children in broad daylight…who will summon them to justice? Who will provide a way out and a future for the children? Who will report the “Johns” to the authorities and then demand that the powers that be take action? Governmental agencies need to be active and responsible, but no one can provide the moral basis for change and Good News of forgiveness and restoration that the church has in its possession.
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” – 2 Corinthians 4:7 NIV
If anyone reading this knows of Christian-based community development organizations that are dealing with child prostitutions and other societal ills in Brazil, please post the information in a comment here.
For my part I continue committed to seeing educational programs, chemical recovery and other practical works of ministry fostered in poor Brazilian communities.
The image of those little girls walking the streets will haunt my waking memory, compelling me to act.
“And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kindly to everyone, an apt teacher, patient, correcting opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant that they will repent and come to know the truth, and that they may escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.” – 2 Timothy 2:24-26 NRSV