Apr 20 2012

The Exit

There are various benefits to being a student at Candler School of Theology, and one of them is the numerous opportunities to use resources from Emory University that relate to your specific interests. My primary academic interest in Christian Ethics drew me to apply to the 2011-12 Ethics and Servant Leadership Forum offered by the Center for Ethics at Emory University. This program is a weekly, interdisciplinary forum focused on service, community building, and leadership development. The Forum’s topics include racism, sexism, classism, relationship to the environment, urban development, and intersection between ethics & the arts.

Specifically, in the ESAL Forum, we formed three subgroups focused on a particular topic, and I belong to the group – Arts and Ethics. Our group collaborated to make a short film – “The Exit” – concerning the issue of child sex trafficking in the city of Atlanta. Through this movie, we intend to raise critical awareness of such a serious ethical problem near our life – the reality in our society. Please, watch the film first and then continue to read.

The term “child sex trafficking” can be defined the commercial sexual exploitation of children. The use of force, coercion, and slavery-like conditions are specific features of child sex trafficking. Atlanta was named by the FBI as one of 14 US cities with the highest of children used in prostitution. Letitia Campbell – a Ph.D. candidate in Christian social ethics at Emory –   insists that Atlanta’s busy airport make it an easy destination for men who desire to buy sex with children, as well as a domestic and international hub for distributing trafficked women and children in her article, “Selling Our Children.” According to the Schapiro Group’s demand study conducted in fall 2009, in Georgia, 12,400 men purchase sex with young women in a given month; more than 27,000 men purchase sex with young women in Georgia more than once per year; Craigslist is by far the most efficient medium for advertising sex with young females.

The short film, “The Exit” is based on the real story of one victim of child sex trafficking (we made a few artistic modifications to the story). She was lured by a pimp and became a victim of child sex trafficking in her teenager years. Once, she escaped from the pimp’s house, but found she could not live by herself outside of the house. Tragically, she had no choice but to return to the evil house. Finally, she became a madam – female pimp – in her twenties. Her story is tragic itself.

I understand that making a film concerning the issue of child sex trafficking is a beginning in the whole process to address this ethical problem. I am planning to disseminate the film more widely with assistance of colleagues and professors at Candler. As a president of the Social Concerns Networks for the next academic year – a student organization at Candler focused on promoting social justice, I will collaborate with our committed members in order to make concrete ways to respond to such tragic problem in our society.

- Won Chul Shin

Won Chul is a second year MDiv student from Incheon, South Korea.  He will return home this summer as part of the Candler Advantage Program where he will serve a paid internship in a Methodist Church in Incheon.