The new slave trade has a new middle passage. And in the middle of the new middle passage, somewhere between where a girl is first lured and where she will be sold for sex night after night, there is a new slave auction. Here is where the slave-trader meets slave-buyer and decide together the worth of their human cargo; the buyers then transport the women to a sex-market.
Belgrade is an infamous stop on the new middle passage. Thousands of women from Eastern Europe and Western ex-soviet states have stories that start when they are whisked away across the majestic Danube river and into the dark underworld of Belgrade to be traded to a slave buyer. But Belgrade is more than a trading post. Belgrade is the breaking grounds.
To get a woman to submit to sex slavery, slave traders must wear her down methodically and brutally. Her own sense of worth and dignity must be effaced beyond her own recognition. In Belgrade, trafficked women are kept for weeks in large apartments or houses where they are raped and tortured by slave traders. Slave traders know that their “product”must be convincing; buyers are not interested in women who are not submissive, who might try to escape, or who won’t pretend like they enjoy having sex with as many as 20 clients a day. So the women must be trained to act like whores through repeated rapes, often in front of the rest of the girls. If they resist, they are further raped, beaten, or murdered.
Breaking grounds in cities like Belgrade embody the monstrous brutality without which the slave trade would not survive. By the time a woman leaves the breaking grounds of Belgrade, on her way to exploitation in a brothel in Tel Aviv or a street corner in Dubai, she has been destroyed in every way. She feels polluted beyond cleansing after having been ravaged relentlessly for weeks; her terror is unconsolable after having watched her captors beat and even kill other girls; her fathomless humiliation is so comprehensive that going home to friends and family is no longer a desire. Her captors like her like this. And so do the Johns who will rent her one after another in the nights to come.
Open your mouth for the speechless, In the cause of all who are appointed to die. Open your mouth, judge righteously, And plead the cause of the poor and needy. – Proverbs 31:8-9
- Pray for massive revival to come to Belgrade.
- Pray that police forces would gain the necessary access to troubled areas.
- Pray that God would disrupt the new middle passage and redeem slaves and traffickers for His glory.