A Moot Choice
I have heard many people tell me that women who work in brothels in SE Asia choose to be there. I completely disagree. When your family, community, and culture expect you to work in a brothel once you turn a certain age so you can provide for the family, and that is the only choice you have available to make, it is not a choice at all. The definition of choice is: an act of selecting or making a decision when faced with two or more possibilities. Even if they seem happy to be there, are they really!? People are good at faking their feelings. Look at your Facebook newsfeed!
Some people have told me, “well these ladies are providing for their family.” My reply to that is “why don’t these men just give them money and leave it at that instead of taking advantage of the socioeconomic status of these women?”
You tell me “they got to work for it. They can’t just go through life expecting hand outs.” Well my response to that is, why don’t these men invest in programs that can better the lives and communities these women come from? If the demand for prostitution and pornography was non-existent then they would earn an income some other way. Prostitution, pornography, and human trafficking would cease to exist if there was no demand for it! But because these selfish men who visit brothels “need” to have their selfish sexual desires fulfilled, and prostitution is a quick and easy way to earn some money, then other options do not exist for these women. So we are back to the question of this really being their choice.
(If you want to know more about why I feel this way check out this past blog I wrote titled Supply and Demand go Hand in Hand.)
My Visit to the Red Light District
On Valentines Day I went to a Red Light District in CM to hand out flowers, candy, and free hugs. This is not my first exposure to Red Light District outreach. I spent many weekends in Korea doing this as well as some time in Brazil. I even had some brief exposure during my time in Orlando. But this time it was so different from any other time.
There were foreign men EVERYWHERE, from all over the world! There were wasted foreign men soliciting me for sex. There were foreign men asking me what we were doing and why. One guy even walked up to me and gave me money. When I asked him what it was for he said, “I’m returning an act of kindness.” I wanted to tell him his kindness would be better spent outside of that place but I let it go.
I found myself getting so extremely angry at these men! “Don’t they know what they are doing!!!!?" I kept saying to myself! The gratification of their desires is fueling an industry of slavery! On top of that I know some of those men had to be married!!! How could they do this to their wives and family!!!?
But then God reminded me stop judging because they need Jesus love too! They are slaves too! Those men that were there that night were searching for something to fill the emptiness in their lives. They thought they could find it in a brothel, and that night they were right. I had the answer but kept it from them because I was so pissed off at them. God reminded me that He loves them and wants them to know Him too! It was then I forced myself to be kind to them, and answer their questions with all love and humility, treating them with the same kindness as the women I intended to reach out to that night.
I saw girls who looked like they enjoyed what they were doing and I saw girls who looked hopelessly lost, desperate to be somewhere else and terrified at what the rest of the night would have in store for them. Some of the ladies seemed shy to receive the gifts and others received them with open arms! Some of the ladies even gave me a gift for giving them something.
One girl begged me not to leave asking me to stay and keep talking to her. Another girl started pouring out her heart to me about how her boyfriend recently broke up with her. While she shared her “customer” sitting at the bar next to her, pretended like he cared with his fake sympathy and she was falling for it. I watched another girl who looked very sick and fragile shake her head lightly as her boss told her to get upstairs, change, and get ready to work. I saw many forced smiles on the faces of gorgeous women and despair in their deep, dark, beautiful eyes.
I saw one young, despondent teenage girl sitting in a tuk-tuk, with a look of dread on her face. I have worked with some girls who have been rescued from this type of situation. When I went to give her a gift she forced a smile and my heart broke thinking about how this was probably what the life of one of the girls I have grown to love so much looked like. I prayed for her rescue to come quickly! I prayed for her to keep hope that one day she can be saved! I prayed that she would have freedom that night!
I saw more lady-boys than I have ever seen in my life! And most of them were prettier than me!! Some of them you could tell were men but a lot of them I had no idea until they spoke! They were some of the chattiest of all the people I met that night. It seemed like a lot of the ones I spoke to just wanted to be known, wanted to be accepted, wanted to be listened to, wanted to be loved for being themselves. This people group is a part of Thailand I have not had much exposure to yet. I wasn’t really sure how to respond to them in that situation so I just listened to them and danced with them!
The night was great! I hope to go back again, with a different attitude and a more open heart. I hope to make more friends there and love everyone like Jesus himself would if he were walking through that place. I realized Sunday how much I miss this type of outreach and look forward to going back!
|The sign says "free hugs" in Thai (gaud free)|