The Catholic Church teaches that every person is chosen by God to love and be loved for all eternity. Our bodies exist as signs of this reality, and the dignity and integrity of each person – body and soul – deserve great respect from individuals and society.
Many social ills make this Christian ideal difficult, and in this episode of Catholicism Live we’re going to talk specifically about prostitution. The Catechism has this to say:
“Prostitution does injury to the dignity of the person who engages in it, reducing the person to an instrument of sexual pleasure. The one who pays sins gravely against himself: he violates the chastity to which his Baptism pledged him and defiles his body, the temple of the Holy Spirit. Prostitution is a social scourge. It usually involves women, but also men, children, and adolescents . . . While it is always gravely sinful to engage in prostitution, the imputability of the offense can be attenuated by destitution, blackmail, or social pressure.”
It’s an unfortunately common myth that women become prostitutes by choice, as if prostitution were simply another career.
The truth is that women are largely tricked and coerced into prostitution from the start, by manipulative and deceptive men who use mental, emotional and physical abuse to keep them locked in their position. Often, a pimp spots a vulnerable girl or woman and uses her own needs to trap her. He may promise to provide love and security at first, and then become isolating and dominative. He may lie, saying that no one else would care for her, as he pretends to.
In other cases, girls or women find themselves suddenly tricked into prostitution when money appears on the nightstand after a regrettable night. Pimps wield power over women considered property by subjecting them to desolating abuse, and even outright torture, if a prostituted woman does not follow instructions or fulfill a quota.
The tragic reality of prostitution and sex trafficking arrives in the news when large arrests are made at the border and major sporting events. But these ongoing problems occur in our own backyard on a daily basis.
Fortunately, police officers are trained to find prostituted women and offer them a way out. Even then, it can be very difficult to leave prostitution, because of the conditioning created by dire circumstances and manipulation by pimps. But many do leave, praise be to God.
There is hope for prostituted women.
We were delighted to host Linda Caswell, founder of All Things New, a ministry for prostituted women, on this episode of Catholicism Live! The ministry was closed, and Linda moved out of state. Pilgrim Center of Hope no longer has contact information for Linda. However, we hope this program will educate & encourage you to learn more about the reality of sex trafficking. San Antonio Police Department has information about reporting sex trafficking tips.
Catholicism Live! was a weekly program produced by Pilgrim Center of Hope from the early 2000s until 2019.