Porn, Sex-Trafficking, and a Life Transformed: Why I Ride.


My name is Joel Friesen and I am currently on a bicycle trip from Belgium to India as a platform to raise awareness and money for victims of sex-trafficking in India and Nepal.* I want to share with you a few of the reasons that I am on this trip and, in order to do so, I must share some of my personal beliefs.
I believe in the equality of all humans. I believe that each person has an inherent value that deserves to be protected and sustained. Every day this value is disregarded as millions of people are treated as commodities and are exploited for the gain of others.

I know that I have been a part of the problem. Through my choice to engage with pornography and my past habit of viewing others as objects instead of precious, invaluable beings, I have contributed to an industry that inflicts unprecedented levels of physical, mental, and emotional damage on it’s victims.

I believe that I am forgiven, and that for all the damage I have done and the pain I have caused, I do not have to live in shame because of my past. For many years I was engaged in the habitual viewing of pornography and this had a brutally negative impact on the way that I viewed and treated those around me. Shame kept the habit hidden and this led to me being a man who spoke about desiring freedom for others, but who lived a life of captivity, which in turn supported the actual physical captivity of real people around the world** and was detrimental to many relationships. When I learned that my ‘private’ actions were not as contained as I had led myself to believe, I knew I needed to make a change. Part of me truly believed that I needed to go through a period of paying my dues and living some sort of a half life until the ‘effects’ of my past choices had worn off. However, this was not the case. 

I learned quickly that it was not my mistakes that defined me, but a grace that was so much greater than all of them. Although the process of working through past issues was a long one, and is still ongoing in a number of ways, it hasn’t held me back from getting active to seek change in the world around me. My life has passion and purpose like I have never known and I am free to live these out boldly and without shame or fear. It is out of this knowledge of the freedom that I have been offered through grace, that I want to spend my life relentlessly pursuing freedom for others. 

I believe that one of the worst injustices in the world today is that millions of people are held against their will as sexual slaves, deprived of any say as to what is done to them and with very little chance of experiencing freedom. I believe that each of these people are worth fighting for.

I believe that, despite all the darkness and despair that surrounds human trafficking, there is hope. Actually, I know there is. I have seen it with my own eyes and heard stories of transformed lives that transcend understanding. I believe in a hope that is greater than most of us are willing to consider because the obstacle before us seems too large to overcome.

I know that in order to be a part of this change we need to pursue a radical shift in our own lives, in regards to the way we view ourselves, those around us, and our purpose in this life. This is something that I am still very much working through in my own life.

We must be willing to sacrifice; to die to our needs for the well-being of others, and yet somehow find the balance to do this in a sustainable manner. I believe that this can be achieved through collaborative and creative efforts, as passionate people are willing to hope in something greater than the current state of things and support each other in the process.

And I believe that men must step up and stand alongside women in their fight for equality; not at the cost of their masculinity, but instead as a means of truly attaining it. We have become idle in our pursuit of true manhood and it is about time we turn this around if we want to be world changers instead of letting ourselves be changed by the world. 

And lastly, I believe that love always finds a way, and therefore, we must always find a way to love.

It is for all of these reasons that I ride, and I hope that, if you haven’t already, someday and in some way you will join in this fight to recognize and protect the value and beauty of each life. 

Let’s pursue freedom together friends.

With much love and great anticipation,

Joel

*All funds raised on this trip go to Lighthouse Voyage, which is an organization seeking to bring hope and freedom to broken lives in India and Nepal. To learn more visit: http://www.thelighthousvoyage.com.

**Check out this campaign from another incredible organization that highlights the link between pornography and he sex trade: http://www.rescuefreedom.org/get-involved/refusetoclick/

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3 thoughts on “Porn, Sex-Trafficking, and a Life Transformed: Why I Ride.

  1. Joel,

    Thank you for sharing the connect between pornography and sex-trafficking. I work at an organization that takes sexually-exploited women off the streets and places them into long-term rehab programs. After hearing the stories from the women and talking to men who think that porn is “not that big of a deal,” I am thankful for men like you who do this. Keep on keeping on! & keep using your voice!!’

    Heather Day

    Like

    • Heather,
      I have not checked back to the blog since returning home so I apologize for the delay in response. Thank you for your words and for doing the work that you do. It is such a great encouragement to hear about people who are passionate about this cause! What is the organization called?

      Like

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