Are Modern Day Sex Traffickers Guilty?

Response to a letter not really about porn

An acquaintance of mine on Facebook asked me if I could back up the paragraph below from A Letter Part 2: Enslaves and Trafficks Women with scripture.

Before I dive in, I do want to thank her for her response, she very politely requested clarification and more information about my opinions, in what I hope is an attempt to learn something. Even if we walk away still with different opinions I truly appreciate people who take the time to learn what actual atheists think, instead of relying on what other Christians say atheists think.

The paragraph in question is below, and I will admit it ends with quite a claim

“So I think you can understand my confusion as to why you would be opposed to slavery on any sort of biblical basis. The Ten Commandments does not condemn slavery (or rape). Jesus does not condemn slavery. By all accounts (sex) slavery, is a permissible, morally acceptable, lucrative business to be engaged in. So at worst modern day sex traffickers are guilty of, Biblically speaking, is perhaps not owning slaves the ‘correct’ way.”

Yes I can back this up with scripture, and at the risk of sounding pretentious, I believe I thoroughly did so throughout the course of the complete letter. But I will attempt the short hand version. Real quickly, from your friend and mine Wikipedia, Sex trafficking is defined by three steps: acquisition, movement, and exploitation

Deuteronomy 20:10-15

God commands the Israelites to offer peace with a city, and should they accept it force all of the inhabitants into slavery. Should the city choose to make war instead (I mean who would turn down those terms) the Israelites were to kill all of the males, but to take the women and children as plunder for themselves (acquisition). They are to do this in the cities that are far away from them (movement), the closer cities everybody dies. And they are to enjoy the spoils that GOD has given them (exploitation).

Numbers 31

God speaks to Moses and commands they “execute the lord’s vengeance” on Midean, and so they did, killing every male. They then brought the women and the children before Moses who was angry they were left alive. Moses commands that the women (prisoners of war) be killed as well, except for the virgin women (acquisition). These women were divided among the congregation, the people who fought in battle, and God claimed 32 of the virgins as tribute for himself (movement), which were then given to Eleazar the priest, as was commanded by the Lord to Moses (I wonder if the Lord actually commanded this to Moses, or if it was Eleazar’s idea).

Judges 21

11 of the 12 tribes of Israel seize upon the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead. Every man and non-virgin woman is killed, but they kidnap 400 young virgins (how young is young do you wonder?) These they brought to Canaan and gave to the tribe of Benjamin as an overture of peace (movement) to be their wives (exploitation).

These were not enough so they went to Shiloh and the Tribe of Benjamin hid in the bushes and kidnapped women in accordance to their number (acquisition) took them to their homeland (movement), to be their wives (exploitation). Oh and the settlement they took the women from were supposed to be okay with it, because they graciously didn’t destroy them in battle.

Now verse 25 does state that there was no king and each man did what was right in his own eyes. But it fails to specify what exactly was done what was unacceptable. Based on other Biblical stories/commands we know sex trafficking is permissible. So my conclusion is it wasn’t what they did, but who they did it too that was wrong, or God was upset they in fact didn’t take the women of Shiloh in Battle and consequently kill all the men. Unfortunately the Bible is vague on this point

Exodus 21:7 states you may sell your daughter into slavery

Leviticus 25:43-45 states you may buy male and female slaves from neighboring nations and from strangers who are traveling with you (sounds like a slave trade caravan to me)

Josephs 11 brothers sold him into slavery for 8oz of silver (which converts to 20 shekels of silver, which is the Biblical price for a man his age according to Leviticus 27). And while his brothers most definitely were not supposed to sell their brother into slavery to foreigners, it does provide evidence that there was a flourishing slave trade in Canaan which the Hebrews/Israelites took active part in, that at very least God condoned and regulated, if not actively approved of. But we know from other Biblical sources, Deuteronomy 20 in particular, that God did actively encourage the Israelites taking slaves for manual labor and sex.

So I stand by my original claim that modern day sex traffickers, in the eyes of God, can only be guilty of doing it the wrong way. Between Exodus, Deuteronomy, and Leviticus, there are a lot of verses regulating the slave trade, and I doubt most sex traffickers are Biblical scholars who are actively following all of those laws. But the general practice of acquiring women, moving them from location to location/having them trade hands, for the explicit purpose of exploiting them for sex and/or forced labor is explicitly permissible in the Bible.