The Prostitution Crisis in the Muslim World


In Muslim countries ruled by fundamentalists, laws dealing with prostitution and adultery are severe. A sex worker can be sentenced to 100 lashes—a severe beating. And if she is married, she can be stoned to death. To us in the United States, such barbarism is inconceivable. But be assured, it is a frightful reality in oppressive Muslim countries where GCM ministers.

With the potential of such cruel punishment looming, it might surprise you to know that prostitution is reportedly rampant in the Muslim world. According to UNAIDS, in Pakistan alone, there are an estimated 230,000 sex workers. And news outlets from the BBC to the Associated Press have noted an increasing presence of prostitutes on Iran’s city streets.

But why would any woman take such a terrible risk? Tragically, one big reason hinges on the fact that in these countries, women are considered little more than property. With few rights, they are under the complete authority and whim of their husbands, fathers, brothers, and other men in their families. Domestic abuse, including rape by relatives, is common. Women are also vulnerable to being cast out of the home, along with their children, left to fend for themselves. Divorced women and widows are stigmatized and sexually harassed, and even young girls, seeking to escape poverty and violence at home, often end up on the streets.

Jobs are scarce for such women and girls living in desperate conditions. They typically have a low level of education, and even if they land a legitimate job, it is poorly paid, or comes with the boss’s expectation of sexual favors.

Prostitution, then, becomes a matter of survival. And it is no wonder that given the soaring cost of living in such countries as Iran, where international sanctions have decimated the economy, prostitution is soaring as well. In some cases, families sliding deeper into poverty feel they have no option but to sell their children, especially their daughters, to the booming commercial sex trade in the Middle East.

Stripped of dignity and hope, Muslim women forced by circumstances beyond their control into prostitution have nowhere to turn. They feel abandoned by their own religion, even at the point of their greatest need and deepest despair.

GCM’s frontline Disciple Makers are passionate about reaching out to these women on the brink, and introducing them to the love, compassion, and provision of the God of the Bible. Often, the prostitutes they minister to are eager to accept Christ into their lives, and they go on to become Disciple Makers themselves. With testimonies of miraculous healing of spirit and body, they are powerful witnesses to others about His transforming power and grace.

When Fatimeh, for example, accepted Christ into her life, the first radical step of obedience in her new faith was to forgive her mother for having sold her into prostitution. Next, Fatimeh led not just her mother, but her entire family to discover God’s love and Jesus’ gift of salvation. Since then, she has coached 25 Bible study groups. Currently, she is discipling 15 new Christ followers and guiding four house-churches.

On behalf of each Muslim prostitute that God brings to Himself through the obedience of our Disciple Makers, thank you for your faithful prayers and generous support! Your partnership is an important foundation on which our ministry to women who truly are among those Christ called “the least of these” is built.

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We believe the Scriptures, both the Old and New Testaments, are inspired by God and are the revelation of God to man, the infallible, authoritative rule of faith and conduct. (2 Timothy 3:15-17, 1 Peter 1:21)

We believe that there is one God, eternally existent who has revealed Himself as embodying the principles of relationship and association as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (Deuteronomy 6:4, Luke 3:22)

We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father where He intercedes for us, in His present rule as Head of the Church, and in His personal return in power and glory. (Matthew 1:23, Luke 1:31)

We believe in the creation of mankind in God’s image, and the fall of man, resulting in universal guilt and total depravity; and the necessity, therefore, of redemption and restoration; that all men and women are lost spiritually and face the judgment of God, that Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation, and that repentance of sin and faith in Jesus Christ is necessary for regeneration by the Holy Spirit. (Genesis 1:26-27, Genesis 2:17)

We believe salvation is received through repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ. By the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, being justified by grace through faith, man becomes an heir of God, according to the hope of eternal life. (Luke 24:47, John 3:3)

We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; the saved unto the resurrection of eternal life in the presence of our Lord, and the lost unto the resurrection of damnation and eternal punishment. (Matthew 25:46, Mark 9:43-48)

We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ and that all true believers are members of His body, the Church, which has the duty to preach the Gospel to every person. (Ephesians 1:22-23, Ephesians 2:22)

We believe that we must dedicate ourselves to prayer, to the service of our Lord, to His authority over our lives, and to the ministry of teaching, preaching, the prophetic, the apostolic, and evangelism. (Ephesians 4:11-13)

We believe in upholding the ordinances of the church of water baptism and holy communion.

The ordinance of baptism by immersion is commanded by the Scriptures. All who repent and believe in Christ as Savior and Lord are to be baptized. Thus, they declare to the world that they have died with Christ and that they also have been raised with Him to walk in newness of life. (Matthew 28:19, Mark 16:16, Acts 10:47,48, Romans 6:4)

The Lord’s Supper, consisting of the elements—bread and the fruit of the vine—, is the symbol expressing our sharing the divine nature of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:4), a memorial of His suffering and death (1 Corinthians 11:26), and a prophecy of His second coming (1 Corinthians 11:26), and is enjoined on all believers “till He comes!”