Below are stories from teams that have come through. I hope it helps paint a picture of the reality and intensity of sex trafficking here in Thailand.
‘From her eyes: a prostitute’s perspective’
My tightest clothes, my tallest heels…still something’s not quite right.
I comb my hair a few extra times, and put on cover-up…
perhaps they’re blind.
Can they not see me here? I’m standing in plain view?
Why will no one pick me? Are they afraid of what they’ll do?
I stand up straight, I stand up tall…I keep wondering when I’ll get a call.
I wonder if tonight I’ll get to sleep in a bed.
Walking, walking, people walking.
Talking, talking, people talking.
Dancing, dancing, people dancing.
Drinking, drinking, people drinking.
Here I stand alone…trying to stop thinking.
They once thought I was pretty, now I’m far too skinny.
I retreat back to my post, scanning this hungry drunken herd.
Rejection, rejection, it crawls over me like a plague.
Do you look out on the ocean
and want to get away
Do you sometimes
want to drown?
To not feel anymore?
That is not because
there is no hope.
it is because
I have created you
for something greater.
You are my Beloved.
You belong to no one
Sink into my arms,
the waves of grace and mercy,
freely given for you
I have chosen you,
But Daddy, WHY??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?
As I walk through Bangla road and see all of the bars, strip clubs, lady boys, prostitutes, middle aged white business men, families with their 5 year olds, hott guys around my age, old people, strippers, and little kids who are pimped out: I just ask “But Daddy, WHY?”
I literally felt like a little kid as I walked the strip tonight, just over and over asking “but Daddy, why?” I literally was tugging on his coat tail every five seconds. “Daddy, why is this happening?” “Daddy, why are they doing that?” “Daddy, if you are so angry with all of this, why don’t you stop it?” “Daddy, you can do anything you want, make this happen?” “Daddy, you said if I ask anything in your sons name I can have it?” “Daddy, are you listening to me?” “Daddy, why aren’t you answering me?” “Daddy, are you even THERE?”
I know the answer people, I have heard it a million and twelve times, God has a plan and he lets things happen. BUT I just. don’t. get. it. I can’t help but ask. “Why? Daddy? Why?”
I’m praying? I’m talking? I’m loving? I’m doing pretty much all I can but I see nothing. I want to know why……… but I guess that is what makes you so Holy (set apart). I will never get the answer………… this faith thing is hard. But I’m going to sleep and I’m not going to stress over it, these are your kids, you clearly know what you’re doing. Goodnight Daddy, its in your hands now.
God put me to rest with this verse today before I went out… I knew it was going to be a rough night if he has to tell me something like this first. I had no idea what I was in for.“Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s.” 2Chron20:15
God I am Angry
angry at you.
I hate what I see.
I hate what I do not see.
Thank you for giving me your eyes but really?
I hate it.
I feel so small and helpless.
With your eyes my heart breaks.
While on Bangla road…
I want to collapse and weep.
It takes everything in me..
to stay strong.
The way I see satan being glorified.
I can see him laughing…
giving You the middle finger.
What can I do to shift this atmosphere of worship?
From him to YOU.
God my heart breaks for
the girls who have accepted the title of a prostitute.
Those who are so numb that they do anything
Who have accepted that this is their identity.
Most for the means to survive.
God the love of money runs the world.
Lord my heart breaks for the girls I see up in the glass
Who are not there by choice.
The ghostly look in their faces
as thousands walk by nightly
Ignoring their silent scream for help.
God provide them a way out.
What am I supposed to do when there are evil people
watching our every move?
Wrap your huge arms around them.
God what about the “lady boys”
who have been taught and lied to since birth
that they are girls.
all the reconstructive surgeries they have had.
all the insecurities they face daily.
the lies that they can’t be who you truly created them to be.
Give them rest.
I pray they will find their identity in you alone.
I pray for the young kids that sell the flowers and necklaces.
That are pimped out nightly.
that get “hit” if they don’t sell 20 each night.
God I pray you will provide a way out.
I pray they will go home.
I pray for the sick men that think its alright.
I beg you to change my heart to a righteous anger
not just a bitter hatred.
God take the images out of my head that I have seen.
The way the men look at these women as a
a simple toy.
No commitment needed.
One night stand.
Holy Spirit make these men physically sick.
I pray for a deep conviction…
to where they can’t even breathe correctly.
For those men who leave with these jewels
and think it’s not big deal.
Those are your daughters…
and as much as I hate to say it: your sons.
I pray for those men who are on “vacation”
who look like the typical suburban fathers and husbands.
For those leaving nightly with multiple women.
Bring them to their knees.
For those worldwide that struggle with pornography.
that they will realize that by those “secret” choices…
they are supporting this warped sexual culture.
I pray for the team.
that walking through these bars nightly won’t be a
walk down memory lane.
But that we will see your lost children.
Guard our eyes… and our hearts.
Continue to break us Lord.
We praise you.
We won’t back down until your Kingdom come.
by: Ruth Wilson
Hanging out in bars. Sitting next to pole dancers. Laughing with prostitutes. Talking with transvestites.
In just two weeks, these things have all become normal to me.
It is hard to know what to write about, because the things that might have shocked me two weeks ago are daily life here. My team and I are currently in Phuket, Thailand (pronounced poo-KET) working in the bars in the red-light district. Thousands of girls are trapped in the commercial sex trade here, and many of them work in the bars we go visit. We are blessed to work with SHE (Self Help and Empowerment), an organization that seeks to let the girls know that there are other options available to them and to help provide or find employment outside of those streets.
We are in a tourist town. The beauty of the beaches in and around Phuket make it one of the top honeymooning destinations in the world. And just like any other tourist hotspot, there are shops, businesses, and bars that pop up all over, ready to fill the demand that the visitors bring. Unfortunately, in Phuket, one of those demands met is for the commercial sex industry. Some of the people you see
strolling down the streets are families or young couples, but you also see groups of men that came to experience more than the beaches. Sometimes it makes me frustrated or angry to see them, but then God gives me eyes to look deeper. Many are lonely or hurting; many are searching for any version of love or acceptance they can get. You can see it in their eyes…. they are desperately searching for something more.
The many Thai girls that fill the bars are not there by choice. Even though many of them are not held against their will or tied to contracts, they continue to be trapped by finances or family situations. Families in distant parts of Thailand or countries nearby wait for the checks that their bar girl sends them, with her sometimes being the sole provider for the whole household. Not all the girls that work at the bars are prostitutes, but because they often need the extra money, many of them eventually go down that road even if they did not start out that way.
I wish I could tell you the stories of every person I have talked to during my time here. The bright-eyed girl who had only begun working at the bar 2 weeks ago. The man who spent his days working construction and his nights waving flyers for inappropriate shows just to provide for a family he rarely saw. The beautiful girl who would jump down from pole dancing to give me a hug and would start taking shots early in the night so she would be drunk enough to deal with whatever that night brought. The 18-year-old boy who went by “Brittany” and idolized the lady-boy that was training him to be a tour guide. The sweet older woman who had spent the 10 years following her husband’s death working in the bars to put her last child through school. The stories go on and on.
Something God has made obvious to me is that He is present on the streets of Phuket. Prayers are being poured out on those streets almost every day of the week. The light of our Savior is penetrating the thick darkness every time one of us walks into a bar. Progress is being made, and through the work of SHE and people partnering with them, things are not as bad as they used to be. Even a short conversation with my friend Danielle, who worked with them a year ago, showed how much things have changed for the better and how Satan’s hold has loosened. It is sometimes disheartening to be in a place so thick with lust, evil, and brokenness, but that’s when you have to remember that in the battle between good and evil, we are already on the winning side. No matter what things look like at the moment, you just have to fight the good fight and remember that there is no real competition, and we know Who triumphs in the end.
Let me paint a picture for you: One large street full of people showing you all sorts of things like advertisements for their bars and colored lights that fly up in the air. Tourists fill the area, from elderly couples all the way down to small children. Little girls run up to you, begging you to purchase a fresh flower necklace. Loud music is coming from every angle, including live karaoke or special street performances. Shops line the left side, full of anything a tourist could want. The right side is lined with smaller streets, containing bar after bar full of women dressed very scandalously. Games are being played on every countertop; games like Connect 4 and Jenga. Everywhere you turn there are women dancing on bars, flirting with men, or begging you to come into their bar hoping to show you a good time. Women also line the roadsides, waiting to be purchased for the night. The smell of alcohol and cigarettes lingers heavily in the air. Here on Bangla Road in Patong, this is what you experience.
But this is only surface level. During our first few nights of ministry, this is what I saw; people having fun and girls just trying to make a buck or two. But after being submersed in the culture of this particular area, things started coming into focus: a bar girl laughing and seemingly carefree sneaks behind the bar to take some pain pills and down a shot of vodka; a woman pushing advertising takes a brief moment to sniff some more glue before continuing her lively and upbeat persuasion; a small child being pushed away from her parents to bring home money for the family by selling flowers. This is real life for the people who work the streets here in Patong. Every night, trapped in a place that brings little to no promise for a future.
But among all these horrible things, I see hope, because I serve a God that promises hope and a future. I see women who want a change, and are just waiting for someone who cares enough about them to show them a way out. I see children with strong hearts that will radically transform the world with the love of God. I see mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends… I see light; little glimpses of light shining through the midst of such a dark place. I see the power that MY GOD possesses, and the love He wants to pour out in a place like this. And at the end of the day, what I feel the most is humility. The Almighty God, Creator of the universe, Alpha and Omega chose little old me to bring the light into one of the darkest places on Earth.
Prepared? Not a chance. Willing? Bring it on. Changed? Forever.
Bangla road, over 200 bars in less then a miles length, over 1,200 women..
To view photos and more stories, visit Bekah’s blog here
What do you tell a beautiful woman that sells herself every night to support herself, and many times her family back home? How do you react to the men who buy them? How do you treat children living in slavery? How do you look at so much darkness and not run away?
These were just a few of the questions I had going into bar minsitry this week. The only answer I have is to love. Love them because Christ loves them. Love them because my sin looks exactly like their sin to the God who hates all sin. Love because it is what we all are called to do. Because it could be you, whether you believe it or not. Because I have lived a life showered in love and I can’t imagine a life without it. But so many never know what it means to be loved. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know what to say or do, or if you are uncomfortable. Smile and treat all with the love Christ gives us. Love because it is the only way. It is all you need, the rest will come in our Father’s perfect timing.
I Corinthians 13
Love bears alll things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.
With all my love,