1st Edition

Religious Responses to Sex Work and Sex Trafficking An Outrage Against Any Decent People

Edited By Lauren McGrow Copyright 2023
    204 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book examines the history, theological beliefs and current contextual practices of faith-based NGOs who work in the area of human trafficking that involves the sex industry. There are hundreds of religious organizations around the globe who minister with human trafficking survivors and sex workers, but what is really happening on the ground and how do theological beliefs support a faith-based response?

    Many of these groups represent their work as a cosmic battle against evil forces, yet important structural critiques are ignored in the urgency to rescue women and children. Using perspectives from both NGO staff and sex workers, an interdisciplinary panel of contributors examine specific organizations, highlight marginalized voices, and analyze undergirding methodologies. In doing so, the authors provide clear critiques and establish best practice guidelines for faith-based NGOs and future religious leaders, affirming an intersection of justice based upon critical reflection and careful action.

    This book addresses with nuance an important topic that is often over-simplified. It will, therefore, be of great interest to scholars studying the interaction of religion to sex work and human trafficking, as well as academics of religious studies and theology more generally.


    Introduction: An Outrage Against Any Decent People

    Lauren McGrow

    1 Abolition Mommas: Evangelical Women as Exceptional Citizens in the Fight to End "Global Sex Trafficking"

    Carly Daniel-Hughes

    2 Do You See This (Wo)man? Lessons Learned from Sex Workers

    Hannah Estabrook

    3 Walking with Women in Sex Work: An Appraisal of the Role of the Nigerian Conference of Women Religious

    Nkiruka Okafor and Lauren McGrow

    4 Human Dignity in Sex Work and the Catholic Tradition

    Mark A. Levand

    5 ‘A Catholic and an Agnostic Walk into a Homeless Camp…’ Collaborating Across Religious Differences

    Yvonne C. Zimmerman

    6 Towards an Ethical Framework for Practice: Three "Touchstones" for Faith-based Organizations at the Margins

    Lauren McGrow

    7 Jesus Ate with Pras: Christianity and Commercial Sex Work in the Caribbean

    Anna Kasafi Perkins and Dane C. Lewis

    8 When Survival Precedes Faith: Decolonial Perspectives on the Ethical Dilemma Confronting Female Christian Sex Workers in Africa

    Beatrice Dedaa Okyere-Manu, Margaret Ssebunya and Sophia Chirongoma

    9 Afterword: To Shape the Changes for Which We Long

    Yvonne C. Zimmerman


    Lauren McGrow resides on the southern edge of Australia and her research focus includes sex work, gender, the body, and play. She is Research Fellow at Charles Sturt University, Australia and is the author of Missionary Positions: A Postcolonial Feminist Perspective on Sex Work and Faith-Based Outreach from Australia (2017).