Street Prostitution and What to Do About It: Myth vs. Reality

Written by: Bob Wicker, Elijah Rising Volunteer Intervention Leader

The Myth I Believed

Like most of us, I grew up as a media consumer. I “learned” from television, magazines, newspapers, the internet, social media, etc. Those sources formed my understanding of what street prostitution looked like. I thought that most women in street prostitution were foul-mouthed and sarcastic. I thought they were mean spirited and nasty. I thought they were grown women. I thought they made money. I thought they made their own choices. I thought they were independent. I thought…

Increasingly over the past year, God has called me to minister to these women in the streets. One thing I’ve learned is that everything I thought I knew about these precious souls was wrong. Everything I ever saw portrayed about them was wrong. Even what reality TV shows like Cops or Live PD showed me about them was wrong.

The Reality of Street Prostitution

Let me paint a picture for you of what I now know to be a typical day in the life of a woman in street prostitution. She lives under the complete and unending control of a pimp. She is a slave to that pimp. Her pimp uses fear, intimidation, extreme physical abuse, and denial of basic needs like food and shelter to control her. She has been thoroughly brainwashed. She truly believes that her pimp loves her. In many cases, in order to survive the trauma, she has convinced herself that she is happy and that she enjoys what she does. She is forced to walk the streets in extreme heat, extreme cold, and pouring rain.

She is forced to bring her pimp a certain amount of money every day, no matter what, or face severe consequences including physical beatings and torture. It does not matter if she is sick, injured, exhausted or on her period. She is forced to make that money by having sex with as many strangers as she can. Those men often physically abuse her, rape her, and beat her to try to satisfy their own sexual desires. She is regularly told that she has no value. That nobody loves her. That no one ever will. Her situation seems hopeless. But, I have come to understand hope…

The Power of Love

I began to learn what love can do; pure love, unconditional love, God’s love. The love that drove Jesus to the cross to be humiliated, beaten, tortured, and murdered so that we could know that love. I began to understand that when these precious souls, the ones that our culture has cast aside and judged, are shown pure and unconditional love, they respond with that same kind of love. The very people that should be the most jaded, the vilest, the hardest…are not. They are wonderful, sweet, loving, beautiful young girls who just need love. Real love. Authentic love. Jesus love. 

To those of us who are called by God to serve them: speak with them, eat with them, be with them, walk with them. Walk with them in the extreme heat. Walk with them in the freezing cold. Walk with them in the pouring rain. When you are tired and when you are in pain. Buy them gifts. The smallest, most seemingly insignificant gifts are the most impactful.

Most importantly, pray over them. Intercede for them. Seek God’s heart for new strategies on how to reach them. Step out in faith and he will reach them through you. Give of yourself for them. If you don’t think you have enough time, consider trading some of the time that you consume media, the media that lies about who they are and go find out who they really are. God will bless you. They will bless you. They will love you back in ways you thought were not possible. The process will break your heart, and then God will heal your heart. And they will find Him. Then they will be freed from their slavery and God will heal their hearts too.

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