There comes a point
Ah, another threshold crossed after returning to Wisconsin: finding a hair stylist who ‘understands’ my preferences AND fits my budget. Like most great beauticians, Karin’s also an active listener. After chatting about our children, our conversation moved onto other topics. Curious about my work as a certified life coach, she asked about my particular niche. As usual, after describing my work as a peer facilitator trainer for those impacted by sexual addiction/chronically problematic sexual behaviors, the spirit of our conversation shifted.
After a brief awkward silence, she expressed surprise that the relationship impact was broad enough to warrant interest in becoming trained. Usually, I answer with a reminder of a recent public story about a celebrity’s sexual brokenness and add a few statistics. But not this time. No, soul-numbed by the national search for then missing two-year-old Noelani Robinson, statistics were the last thing on my mind. The FBI, along with Milwaukee’s police department, was searching for Noelani after her father brutally murdered her mother, Sierra M. Robinson.
A woman wounded in the shooting, and early police reports, described Sierra’s murderer as her pimp, and the world the three lived in as human trafficking. Five days later, little Noelani’s body was found loosely wrapped in a blanket along a rural road in Minnesota. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett offered condolences, stating "She was a beautiful toddler and her life was cut short as a result of human trafficking," he said. "Her unfortunate death is a reminder of the dangers of human trafficking."
The issue of human trafficking loomed over this case.
"'This mother never thought she would be killed by her pimp and she never imagined he would kill her baby,' said Steven Dykstra, licensed psychologist and director of Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Divisions Children’s Mobile Crisis Team.
'That’s what human trafficking is,' he added. 'It is a form of slavery where people, usually women and girls, are drawn in not knowing what comes later. It leads to all forms of death and destruction and too often we gloss over that. We forget what a pimp really is. We forget there are still slaves. I hope this reminds us.'"
Haunting words, aren't they? I hope this reminds us...the assumption being we'll all forget with the next news cycle.
I’m profoundly grateful for those committed to and involved in the thick of the human trafficking battle like Milwaukee’s Inner Beauty Center or The International Justice Mission.
But, there comes a point and Noelani and Sierra invite us to consider what's upstream which is addressed in this Washington Post article dated March 4.
So what’s upstream?
For nearly a decade I’ve read – or heard – that the primary way we can fight sex trafficking is reducing the demand. Reducing the demand requires a multi-dimensional, collaborative and committed approach. Reducing the demand requires becoming informed about sexual brokenness, sexual addiction/chronically problematic sexual behaviors, the impact on spouses, family, our communities, churches, and society.
Join me upstream?
One way to become better informed about a multi-dimensional, collaborative and committed approach is attending conferences like the Christian Sex Addiction Specialists International (C-SASI) Redeeming Sexuality and Intimacy Conference next month in Houston.
There’s still time for you to register, I hope to see you there.