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God in a Brothel: A Book Excerpt
Before I left Atlanta I met with several police officers responsible for the jurisdiction where Steve was operating, and I provided them with copies of all of the intelligence I had gathered to date. I hoped that they would be able and willing to intervene and use the information to prosecute Steve and place Emily in the care of a child welfare agency. However while they were grateful for the information, the officers explained that they did not have the political support of the city behind them to proactively pursue those involved in the sex industry. They went on to explain that Atlanta was an entrenched area for those advocating for the rights of women to prostitute themselves and that the scrutiny of law enforcement was generally viewed as an unwelcome and unnecessary intrusion.
Unfortunately those involved in enforcing the law as it relates to the commercial sex industry, in Atlanta and in so many cities around the world, have historically focused on apprehending the women soliciting, rather than on their pimps or male clients. This is because the female prostitutes are far easier to detect, involve a lot less resources to arrest and therefore make the statistics of the relevant police commanders look all the more impressive. The sad reality is that such an approach completely fails to identify the power imbalance involved between the women and children selling their bodies and the male patrons and pimps gaining pleasure and profit from their exploitation. By failing to effectively target those who use their power to enslave, as well as those who provide the demand for their services, the real victims of forced prostitution are lost in the stalemate that exists between those advocating for the rights of sex workers and those who are responsible for protecting the women and children who are not there by choice.
The house where Martin Luther King Jr. grew up is now a popular tourist destination, as is the church where he preached his most powerful sermons. Sadly, however, the exploitation and oppression that he railed against and challenged with his life is still very much alive in his hometown. Indeed, if the city of Atlanta has a motto, it is "Let freedom ring, and let it be rung by a sex slave."
As far as I know, Emily is still selling herself on the outskirts of the city.
For more conversation on God in a Brothel—including an interview with the author—visit the Patheos Book Club here.