Book Club Channel
Set the Sex Slaves Free: An Interview with Daniel Walker
Why did you feel it was important to share the very personal side of journey as part of this book?
I think it is important to be honest and authentic about it, because it gives others permission to be real about our weaknesses and our humanity and to together agree that we need not be defined by shame. It is also important moving forward that anyone engaged in this kind of work is properly cared for and only operates as part of a professional team. The evil that lies behind the enslavement of women and children is stronger than any one individual can overcome. But it is not stronger than the spirit of God who invades our lives and sends us out to invade the dark places and set others free.
One chapter of your book is titled simply: "Men." It speaks to the unique role men play in creating and feeding this industry. What do you hope to communicate to men about this issue? Do you expect to change their minds about anything with this book?
I don't expect to change the minds of those who prey on women and children. But I do hope to inspire and invite men to use their God given identity as defenders and protectors to rescue the weak and the vulnerable from oppression and slavery.
Reading this book is really hard—your stories of entering brothels and being offered 5- and 6 -year old girls, encountering "sex tourists" who feed this industry, stories of entire villages making their living off of selling their children to predators—it's almost surreal. How do you suggest making this issue "real" for people, so as to more actively engage folks in this issue?
The sad thing is that it is not surreal but very real for millions of people around the world every day. I cannot make it more real for anyone. If it seems surreal to them, then I suggest it is they who are living in a make believe world and it is they who should wake up and look out their window and venture into their very own towns and cities because it is everywhere, if they would only see it and act.
In your book, you are critical of the church's inaction on this issue and others like it. And you've said you hope this book inspires us to "do church different." Why do you feel this is the church's cause to adopt, and how do you see it leading us to a different way of being and doing church?
God makes it very clear that he hates injustice and slavery and that he calls his church to act on his behalf in a fallen world. Jesus came to set us free from everything that enslaves us, not just individual sin but literal slavery as well. The church is mandated, equipped and commanded to seek justice and that to know God necessarily means we are engaged in the fight to rescue the oppressed and combat slavery.
You're currently touring the country and promoting your book on an "anti-trafficking tour." What are you hoping to accomplish with these events?
To promote my book God in a Brothel, so that people would see what I saw and be inspired, motivated and empowered to act and do something about it. That the church would be mobilized and engaged and would once again be on the front lines in the fight to set human beings free from slavery and injustice.
Are you still engaged in this work on a daily basis? What are you doing now? What's next for you?
I am currently working as a detective in the New Zealand Police. And I am waiting. I am waiting to see what God will do through the book. I would love Nvader to take off. Nvader is a team of people who are able to empower church communities to use the skills and abilities that are already present within their congregations, to combat slavery in their own communities all around the world. Due to the security issues and potential danger and trauma involved, it has to be done properly or not at all. And it is expensive. I guess I am therefore waiting to see if enough people and churches catch the vision and whether it is something God wants to do now in our generation. Or not.
Visit the Patheos Book Club to learn more about God in A Brothel and to find out what you can do to help end sex trafficking.
Deborah Arca joined the Patheos team after more than ten years managing programs for the Program in Christian Spirituality at the San Francisco Theological Seminary. Deborah has also been a youth minister, a director of Christian Education and music/theatre programs for young people and has served as a music director for worship and special retreats.