Kidnapping. Chains. Coercion. Poverty. Lack of options. Hopelessness. However a woman comes to find herself on the inside of a brothel and/or working as a prostitute, one thing is clear. She did not choose that nor does she enjoy it! She is there for one reason alone: she has NO OTHER OPTION! The insidious process of exploiting and prostituting human beings (who are made in the amazing image of God, I must point out) involves the stripping away of all other options. At its core, trafficking is an assault on the vulnerability of the millions currently enslaved today.
Over and over again as we promote our strategic work in Southern Asia, we are asked a very important question: Can the women and/or girls actually leave the brothel? The answer is, in most cases, a resounding YES! While I can’t speak to the horrors that take place in Eastern Europe, Africa, or even behind the scenes in the States, I can identify the systems that keep girls beaten down in Southern Asia. I have walked through the very gates of Hell with my own two feet. These girls in Southern Asia are not mere facts and figures; they are friends; they have stories; I know their names.
I will never forget the day I told an Asian social worker about our plans to purchase a building and launch The Refuge. She was thrilled to hear that so many of the women she worked tirelessly to help would be our top priority upon our return to the capital city. There was only one problem with the plan, our plan to rescue, restore, and witness God redeem exploited and marginalized women all across Southern Asia. They needed this home NOW. When my friend asked me when The Refuge would open, she wept at my response. Knowing that our family would need to return to the US for twelve to fifteen months to raise significant funds, I estimated that it would be at least two years before we could offer the women in the brothel another option.
Here is where your tax refund comes into play. We launched a fundraising campaign on April 1 to challenge 100 individuals to consider donating $100 from their tax refunds. For fifteen days during tax season, we have sounded the alarm to thousands of partners and those who are interested in becoming a part of the solution. Our goal has been to raise $10,000 towards the building costs, and we are on our way to achieving that. Refunds for The Refuge is simple…100 people who are willing to turn that extra check into an extra opportunity…an opportunity for life outside of prostitution in Southern Asia.
Sitting in her office on that spring day, my heart broke as *Suhah wept when she heard that it would take some more time before The Refuge would open. Through glistening tears, I heard her heart loud and clear. If we build it, they will come. If we give them another option, they will take it. If we provide a way out, they will leave. Women CAN leave brothels in Southern Asia…if they only have a place to go.
Will you help us? Will you help them? Will you consider turning your extra check this month into an extra opportunity for hope? Hope lives inside the brothel, and hope starts here.
*Name changed to protect her identity and work
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