The Olympics’ Tarnished Gold

By the time this article is published, the 2012 London Summer Olympics will be in full swing. Chances are, as you read this, billions of people around the globe are glued to their televisions, pulling for their respective nations to claim victory and bring home gold medal honors. Millions of foreign visitors have poured into London to catch a first-hand glimpse of the Olympic action. Along with the huge crowds has come an economic shot in the arm to London and the surrounding areas, and a service industry cashing in on catering to human needs and wants. Hotels, restaurants, transportation services, retail stores and more are all bursting at the seams with the business the games have brought to London.  However, just under the glimmering façade of Olympic pride and glory lurks a much darker reality.  Sporting events draw huge crowds of men, and huge crowds of men create the demand for huge numbers of prostitutes.

London’s Daily Mail reports that sex trafficking nearly doubled during the 2004 Athens Olympics that studies anticipate a similar spike for the London games as well. Entrepreneurial London brothel owners have even created Olympic-themed websites to entice potential customers to “enhance” their experience in London with the services of one of their “Gold Medal Escorts” or the like. Sadly, the anticipated increase in exploitation is not simply limited to adult women. United Kingdom children’s charity Barnardo’s issued a recent statement saying, “evidence shows that whenever there is a major event with a ‘party atmosphere,’ child sexual exploitation can occur.” Barnardo’s CEO Anne Marie Carrie also stated, “We know from the work we do on the ground with children that the risk of boys and girls being trafficked and sexually exploited during major events is a very real threat.”

What You Can Do
The reality is that the Olympics are happening, the sex trafficking in London is happening and you are home in America with little to no practical steps you can take to change or stop this injustice. However, there are some things you can do to help, both immediately and going forward, to see the trafficking and sexual exploitation of human beings be abolished.

1.) Pray.
Pray that pimps in London will be arrested, girls will be rescued and potential “johns” will be convicted by the Holy Spirit and choose not to buy women for sex. Pray that the efforts of law enforcement to stop the sale of sex during the Olympics will be successful, and pray that the church around the world will rise up to address the issue.

2.) Learn.
Do the research and become an advocate for those who are in bondage to sex slavery and trafficking. Get others in your church and local community involved in the abolitionist movement.

3.) Do.
Find practical ways to get involved and make a change (see article pages 36-39). Donate money to anti-trafficking ministries or organizations. Educate friends and family about the issue. Volunteer your time to help support an abolition or recovery ministry.

As you enjoy the 2012 London Olympics, remember those for whom this time is a living nightmare. Commit to fight for them in the same way an Olympic athlete strives for the gold: with determination, tenacity and endurance.

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