by Dawn Herzog Jewell
Dawn Herzog Jewell is bent on confronting the evil of sexual exploitation around the world and invites her readers to choose one of two options.
Monarch Books, Wilkinson House, Jordan Hill Road, Oxford OX2 8DR, 2008, 224 pages, £7.99.
—Reviewed by Laurie Fortunak, editorial coordinator, Evangelism and Missions Information Service; managing editor, EMQ.
Each year, millions of men, women, and children are prostituted around the world. In Thailand alone, some 200,000 girls and women are exploited. In the Netherlands, commercial sexual exploitation generates more than $1 billion each year. Between 600,000 and 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders: eighty percent of these are female, fifty percent are minors. In a survey of prostituted men and women in nine countries, nine in ten said they longed to escape.
These statistics are real and often overwhelming for many Christians; however, Dawn Herzog Jewell is determined not to throw her hands up in helplessness. Instead, she is bent on confronting the evil of sexual exploitation around the world and invites her readers to choose one of two options: “Will you look away, overwhelmed by the sheer evil and stench of darkness? Or will you pray for eyes of compassion and ask God to use you in the battle?”
The phrase, “the devil’s bedroom,” comes from Mark Crawford, a missionary in Thailand working with sexually-exploited girls and women, and describes the darkness of sexual exploitation. According to Crawford, “The issue is who wants them more. Do we, God’s people, want these women and girls [and men] free more than the forces keeping them there?” Not meant to be an exhaustive resource on issues of prostitution and sex trafficking, Herzog Jewell’s aim is simply to introduce readers to God’s work among the sexually exploited in various corners of the world. She wrote this book with three goals in mind: to educate the Church on the reality and scope of sexual exploitation; to encourage Christians with stories of lives that have been changed as a result of committed followers of Christ who have ministered to victims of sexual exploitation; and to call the entire Body of Christ to take part in the battle.
The book is divided into three sections. In Part One, “Stories of Darkness,” the reader meets individuals who have been in bondage to various forms of sexual exploitation, including sex tourism, men in prostitution, sex trafficking, and online pornography and sexual addictions. The reader gets glimpses into the painful pasts of survivors and their abusers. In Part Two, “Stories of Hope,” readers are taken inside brothels, into strip clubs, and alongside transgendered individuals to find people who have gained new life in Christ. Readers will also meet volunteers and ministry leaders who are pursuing those in bondage. In Part Three, “Your Part in the Story,” Herzog Jewell shares how the entire Body of Christ can get involved through praying, volunteering, giving, and advocacy. Each chapter concludes with a scripture passage, questions for reflection, and suggestions for prayer.
God has placed upon all of us the duty and the privilege of helping those in need and those who either cannot or do not know how to help themselves. Herzog Jewell’s book is a reminder that although the issue of sexual exploitation is immense, it is defeatable because Jesus Christ is on our side, waiting to rescue those in bondage. May everyone who reads this book be burdened by the need, challenged by those making an impact for Christ, and motivated to step into the battle to free every person from the bondage of the devil’s bedroom.
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