Buying Sex is Not a Sport
By Jennifer Lucking
The Pan American Games will be held in Toronto and the surrounding areas in July 2015. A new partnership is working to build awareness of sexual exploitation at the games.
Hope to Freedom is an RCA program that resources congregations on the issues of human trafficking and modern-day slavery. It has partnered with other faith-based organizations in Canada to form “Buying Sex Is Not a Sport: Pan Am 2015.”
Buying Sex Is Not a Sport will use the Pan Am Games as a platform to address demand for commercial sex. Demand drives the business of prostitution and sex trafficking. Sexual exploitation can flourish at large-scale sporting events due to the anonymity of buyers away from their homes.
Canadian journalist and author Victor Malarek has suggested that one in nine men in Canada buy sex. With the influx of athletes and spectators, demand for commercial sexual exploitation is expected to increase in the Toronto, Hamilton, and Niagara regions next summer.
Buying Sex Is Not a Sport’s goal is to get people talking! In encouraging conversations with the men in our lives, we will start to challenge the demand. We have already hosted information forums with presentations by a survivor of commercial sexual exploitation, frontline agencies, and law enforcement.
Next summer, Buying Sex Is Not a Sport will also be organizing a series of “silent stand-ins.” Groups of volunteers will silently stand at entrances of various Pan Am sporting events. The silent stand-ins will embody love, silence, and non-violence. They’ll be a visual reminder to spectators that it is not okay to buy and sell women and children.
Prayer is also a foundational component of our work. Every month we publish “Pray 7:15,” a guide with weekly prayers encouraging intercession around issues of commercial sexual exploitation and the upcoming games. If you would like to submit a written prayer, contact email@example.com to volunteer.
Jennifer Lucking is coordinator of human trafficking outreach for the Reformed Church in America.