By Stephanie Fisk
We just sent Amanda to Thailand. Here is an article from another missionary in Bangkok who is reporting on the work being done over there to rescue young girls from the sex trade:
I have not been able to sleep much since we have arrived in Thailand. It is right here. My mind and heart has been caught up with ‘the girls’. It is happening all around you. I can hear their cries in my spirit. Look around and see it. The oppressive spirit is sinking into my bones. Though not outwardly visible, it is here. Do not be tricked. My being cannot rest…
My ignorance is being replaced by ‘righteous anger’ or ‘holy unrest’. What I have only read about up to this point, is now surrounding me. I am walking through the Nana district in Bangkok. The Westin Hotel to my right and the Sheraton to my left. On the surface, everything appears innocent. But I know different.
Both these hotels have been strategically built in this location: the heart of the ‘Nana red light district’. Westerners need a clean, safe place to sleep (during the day) while they are not satisfying their sexual desires. I know this is hard to swallow, but it is the cold hard truth. And it is happening all over the world.
Call it what you may – human trafficking, the sex-slave trade, forced prostitution – it’s all the same thing. Supply and demand. And there is a demand. Human trafficking rakes in the most money internationally – other than the illegal selling of drugs and firearms. In some way or another, about every country in the world has their hand ‘stuck’ in this issue, some deeper than others. A few hot spots today include South East Asia, Eastern Europe and Africa. As I mentioned before, the U.S. keeps this supply and demand operation up and running as it pumps millions of dollars into the sex tourism industry each year.
I continue to walk as the feeling of nausea sweeps over my entire body. As I look around, my sight bombards my memory. I see abandoned storefront buildings. It looks harmless, but there is a very high chance that in the basement I would find scared girls that have ‘serviced’ twelve to fifteen men the night before. Girls and boys as young as six are in high demand because most think that they are still free of any sexually transmitted diseases.
In the Hilltribes of Northern Thailand (where I am going in a week), once girls turn eleven or twelve they are expected to provide for their family. So, in search of income, many run to the city and find themselves caught up in the sex industry. They have been fed the ‘Cinderella dream’ of falling in love with a ‘westerner’ who can provide for her every need. On the flip side, many children from these poor, marginalized ethnic tribes are sold by their parents to individuals who promise them jobs. Little do the parents know they are selling their children directly into the sex trade.
We pass by multiple bars. The pink neon signs are sleeping. They are recharging for tonight. My hands are starting to shake. My spirit is labored. These women have no chance. We walk into Subway. I order my sub and sit down. A newspaper article catches my eye: “Dancing to a Trafficker’s Tune”.
I put my sub down and pick up The Bangkok Post. Tears instantly rise and begin to well up in my eyes. This interview was taken from inside a discotheque – Alibaba’s – that is only a few blocks from where I am sitting. Here’s a short clip from the article. Bee is the young women being interviewed who is currently stuck in this lifestyle: “Almost all are trafficked,” she says. “It is hard for these women to get here alone. Plus, living here is hard. They have no visa and have to hide all the time.”
As an example, she tells the story of Elena, a university student from Uzbekistan’s capital city, Tashkent, who came to Thailand to earn her next years tuition, after she was duped by the warm manner and false promises of an Uzbek woman who claimed to have secured her a job in a Thai clothing ship. Within seventy-two hours of “hiring”, Elena was Bangkok-bound, and set upon her nightmarish journey.
It seems hopeless. It seems too big to tackle. For me, it is. The big picture is too overwhelming. But I can talk to the one. I can share the hope of restoration with the one. It seems hopeless. It seems too big to tackle. For me, it is. The big picture is too overwhelming. But I can talk to the one. I can share the hope of restoration with the one. He can not help but love us. The promise remains:
“But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her out into the desert and speak tenderly to her there. I will return her vineyards to her and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope. She will give herself to me there, as she did long ago when she was young, when I freed her from her captivity in EgyptI will make you my wife forever, showing you righteousness and justice, unfailing love and compassion. I will be faithful to you and make you mine, and you will finally know me as Lord.”
– Hosea 2:14-15 & 19-20
Stephanie Fisk spent last year traveling to the forty-eight contiguous states, doing servant ministry. She has a heart to call the least and the deserted to great wedding feats. This year, she’s traveling the world.