The Pennsylvania Pastors Network (PPN, www.papastors.net) is applauding the Pennsylvania Family Institute (PFI) for bringing awareness to the sex trafficking problem in Pennsylvania and helping Christians to take action.
According to PFI, there were 81 reported cases of sex trafficking in Pennsylvania last year alone. Additionally, the FBI indicates that strip clubs are havens for sex trafficking, and 115 strip clubs are in business in 66 cities across Pennsylvania.
“Many view sex trafficking as a problem reserved for the dark alleys of foreign countries,” said PPN President Sam Rohrer, who is also President of the American Pastors Network (APN, www.americanpastorsnetwork.net). “But Pennsylvanians should be alarmed to learn that instances of this horrific crime are happening right here in our state.”
Reported PFI, “With the connection of sex trafficking to adult-oriented establishments (strip clubs), there should be strict regulations on these establishments to help prevent sex trafficking. In Pennsylvania, criminals of sex trafficking are able to own, operate and work for adult-oriented establishments. And in these establishments, law enforcement does not have an easy way to account for each performer to help stop any women from being trafficked in these locations.
“Barber shops and church kitchens are more strictly regulated in PA than adult-oriented establishments,” PFI continued. “That must end.”
PFI is urging Pennsylvanians to help end sex trafficking in the state by supporting new legislation and the #StoptheSale campaign. HB 262 has been introduced by Rep. Matthew Baker (R-Tioga) that would help end sex trafficking in Pennsylvania. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that “victims of trafficking are forced into various forms of commercial sexual exploitation including … stripping.”
HB 262 would prevent adult-oriented establishments from being run by or employing those involved in sex trafficking or other crimes such as prostitution or exploitation of children, as well as provide training for law enforcement and others who interact with potential victims to identify where sex trafficking may be occurring. Additionally, the bill would update the state’s current law on adult-oriented establishments to provide an environment less likely to create demand for trafficked persons.
“Christians, pastors and congregations must not be afraid to venture outside the safe church walls to be informed about and confront the ugly side of what’s happening right in our own communities,” Rohrer said. “The Bible tells us to be salt and light in a dark world, and we must step out of our comfort zones to counteract evil with good.”
PFI is also encouraging Pennsylvanians to take action in two ways:
- Ask State Representatives to support HB 262 by sending an email through PFI’s web site.
- Help create awareness about sex trafficking in Pennsylvania by using #StoptheSale on Facebook and Twitter.