Suffering for Freedom
As we rounded the corner, I took in a sharp breath. My chest suddenly felt suffocated like a heavy blanket had been thrown over my face. This time, it wasn’t from the shock of the humidity. For, when I had left Swaziland, it was “winter” but when I arrived in Thailand, I was hit with the heavy air of humidity. This time, though, it wasn’t the humidity that felt heavy. It was something else.
When I walked those same streets earlier that day, everything was quiet, calm, with not a hint of evil. But now, tonight, it was like walking into a completely different realm.
The red light district. Indeed, it is its own dark world.
Before I saw anything, I felt it. The dark wolf-skin blanket hovering over the strip of clubs. My chest felt like it was being pressed upon, and my spiritual senses set off alarms. I was walking into a battlefield masked by music, loud laughter, curtains, and carts and carts of items being sold. All that to mask the BODIES being sold and the SOULS being bound.
I saw with my eyes, but I tried not to see. All it took was one – to make my heart come undone.
Our eyes met for maybe a millisecond. I had looked in the open doors as we continued walking through street, but when I met her eyes, I wished I hadn’t. She was one of at least a dozen women standing on a stage. She was holding a pole as if it was her life support, as if nothing else and no one else would hold her up. She and the other dozen women were wearing ironically white bikinis. But the only thing pure about the scene was the pure cry for help hidden beneath their eyes. That I could see – clear as water droplets in the midst of a storm – their hearts suffocating for freedom.
There’s a scene in Taken where the daughter is the last “item” up for bid, and as she’s “unveiled,” she wobbles around and looks as if she’s a zombie – like she’s not even in her own body. Multiply that by a dozen women is what it looked like on that stage. They were zombie-like, lifeless, wobbling, empty.
A once undercover investigator who was a part of busting brothels and sex-trafficking businesses said, “Sexual abuse is perhaps the very worst crime against humanity…It strips them of their heart and soul. It murders the person, but leaves their bodies alive” (Daniel Walker, God in a Brothel). “They appear to be in a trance, or under a dark magician’s spell,” he explained.
That’s exactly what I saw that night and that’s exactly what I see in the eyes of women on the streets in Swaziland, too. Each place might look different, each country, region, street/club masked by different “reasons,” but the heart of the issue is the same everywhere.
Sex-trafficking – and the sick idea that buying someone, even for a few minutes, an hour, or a night – is a world-wide problem, a globally operating network of corruption, lust, greed, and dehumanization. African women as far south as Zambia were found trafficked to Bangkok, Thailand where I had visited. Luckily for a few, they are discovered, rescued, and even able to be transferred back to their home country. But “rescue” is not enough. Freedom is not just physical, it is psychological, emotional, spiritual. There must be a holistic approach to rescue/restoration, and the fight to end sex-trafficking as a whole. Thankfully, there is hope!
Rescue: Freedom International is an organization that exists to partner with and connect organizations worldwide who are fighting sex-trafficking. We have been so blessed that they chose us, Hosea’s Heart, as one of their partners! We are so eager to continue broadening and expanding our own efforts in Swaziland to impact the global anti sex-trafficking network as a whole. And the best news yet? YOU can be part of this global initiative, this global fight, as we celebrate Freedom Week starting July 1st!
Since sex-trafficking is an ORGANIZED, well-connected corrupted business world-wide (connecting country to country), we MUST then be a well-connected incorruptible world-wide network (connecting country to country, org to org, person to person) in order to fight it.
To end the network, we must BECOME the network.
Don’t wait. Whether it’s through your time, talent, or donation, please join us now.