On Tuesday, millions of amorous men will converge on flower shops and candy stores to buy tokens of love for their wives and girlfriends. Millions of other men around the world will slink into dark alleyways and seedy hotel rooms to buy girls for sex, transactions that fuel an insatiable demand for human trafficking.
Writer Anna Broadway usually spends her Monday lunch hour fasting and praying for the guys who buy flowers - single men she asks God to strengthen and bless with the gift of marriage. But this week, Broadway will be praying for the other men, the ones distorting love by trading money for sex.
"I think it is a really challenging thing in some ways," she said. "I feel like whenever we're talking about the gospel, we either tend to minimize the degree to which people have sinned or minimize the capacity of God's love. I think it's really hard to hold those two together. We are guilty of really despicable things in some cases. And yet, he still is willing to forgive us."
Broadway, 33, lives near San Francisco and is part of a group of single women who pray weekly for God to bring healing to broken relationships between men and women. Last year, Broadway felt convicted to start praying for "Johns," the men who most need healing and forgiveness. And through a website launched in early January, she's asking other people to join her.
"Pray for the Johns" is not an organization or even a well-defined movement. It's just one woman's attempt to strike at the underlying cause of sexual brokenness - spiritual brokenness, Broadway said. The sample prayer Broadway provides on her website asks God to grant "Johns" both repentance and transformation.
"We're praying that they don't just stop what they're doing but that they could be a source of blessing that God could use for good in the world," she said.
Although Broadway's prayer campaign is not connected to any other organizations doing battle against sex trafficking, she's not the only one taking the fight to where the problem starts - the demand. Several organizations, including Not for Sale and Buy Sex, Buy Rape are raising awareness about the need to reach out to men.
Troy Anderson heads a team of Christian filmmakers working on a documentary about demand reduction. Unearthed Pictures used to focus on the plight of victims, until the filmmakers realized safe houses, aftercare programs and stricter laws offered an incomplete solution, Anderson said.
The studio, based in Lexington, Ky., now aims to create films that change men's hearts and strike at the root of the problem.
"When men meet Jesus, there's less sex trafficking," Anderson said. "It's just that simple. Sex trafficking is just the full borne fruit of sexual brokenness. Instead of us focusing on a social justice issue, let's focus on people."