What do Oliver Twist, The Jungle, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and The Grapes of Wrath all have in common? They’re all examples of literature that wrestle with important social ills. First-time author K. R. Dial joins this tradition with The Lotus Keeper a new ebook from Kirkdale Press.
Written as part of Dial’s ongoing ministry to rescue the victims of child prostitution, The Lotus Keeper tackles the atrocious epidemic of sex trafficking. Dial led corporate intercessory prayer for the International Justice Mission, helped form the Atlanta Justice Coalition, and served as a volunteer guardian ad litem for abused and neglected kids, receiving her district’s top honor as Rookie of the Year for her courtroom advocacy of a local teenage prostitute. She wrote The Lotus Keeper after a trip to Thailand spent researching the issue of child sex trafficking and getting to know the victims personally.
I was able to talk to Dial about her book and her passion for advocacy. What follows is only part of that conversation; you can follow the rest of the discussion on Vyrso Voice.
Logos: Human trafficking (specifically child sex trafficking) is one of the twenty-first century’s gravest human rights issues. Why do you think the West has been so quiet about the severity of this problem?
K. R. Dial: I believe the root of our apathy lies in our lack of moral judgment, our unwillingness to take a stand. If we begin to condemn child prostitution, we then have to take a stand on the global sex industry; if we do that, we must then consider pornography’s role in feeding this beast, and now we are in the face of countless Westerners, including many church-goers, who simply want no moral law imposed upon themselves—or their laptops.
Logos: As you were researching the book in Thailand, what stood out as the most dramatic, eye-opening moment?
K. R. Dial: At the end of our team’s prayer-filled journey, walking the streets of Bangkok, encouraging Christian workers who minister to prostitutes, and asking pastors to speak out against their country’s sex industry, I was tired and overwhelmed by the scope of the crisis.
It was one of our last nights. I was worshipping in a rural church in northern Thailand filled with young Thai students. One teenage girl befriended me and taught me how to sway my hands to the music in the traditional Thai way. Her smile was electric. We mostly giggled together in the joy of worship, she speaking in broken English and I understanding every other word. She gave me a picture of herself and I gave her a necklace, put it around her neck and told her she was beautiful. After we said our goodbyes, I was walking to the truck with our team leader, and he said to me, “She used to be a prostitute.” God did not want me to leave Thailand without a personal encounter with a life redeemed.
The point is, no one is beyond the saving hand of our mighty God. There is no smile that can’t be restored by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
Logos: What role do the governments of countries like Thailand play in these atrocities? Are they ill equipped to combat such problems? Do they turn a blind eye?
K. R. Dial: Police corruption is essential for a thriving sex industry. And a thriving sex industry whether it be in Bangkok, Mumbai, or Atlanta, is an open door for child prostitution. So any government must keep its own ranks clean, while battling the international mafia that fuels its particular industry. I believe any government that will not declare war on its own sex industry is choosing to turn a blind eye, with the excuse that it’s ill equipped to fight an industry with such high demand. In this way, the sex industry is just like the illegal drug industry.
Logos: What made you decide to use a fictional story to generate more awareness of sex trafficking?
K. R. Dial: Gary Haugen, director of the International Justice Mission, spoke at our church. I had been scribbling notes for a painfully boring memoir when I heard him speak. I knew that the book was to be about his work but did not know which injustice to focus on; then, after church, I asked Gary what the greatest injustice in the world was today. He said child prostitution. That became the premise of my book.
The central theme of my novel comes from a quote of Gary Haugen’s. In a paraphrase, “When confronted with evil in the world, I stopped asking ‘where is God’ and started asking ‘where are His people.'” This one thought changed me as a believer forever and prompted me to write a book about what happens when God’s people show up.
I chose to write a work of fiction because fiction speaks to us on an emotional level. It is the perfect vehicle to show ordinary people fighting evil. It allows us to say, “I can do that.” I believe we all long to be brave. Heroic fiction will always have a place in our human story. Also, I wanted to write a story that inspires but does not frighten. In other words, there is no description in my book of what it really means to purchase a child. What is described is how angry good people get when they know children are being hurt.