A Blog from one of our Thrive Thailand Interns
Last night, Ivania (Eve) and I were introduced to one of the most popular sex tourism sites in the world. Walking Street in Pattaya, Thailand.
I expected to be amazed at how much was going on. I expected to fight tears. I expected to be disgusted at the tourists who ventured all the way to Thailand for cheap sex. And while all of that did happen to a certain degree, I was more overcome with compassion than anything.
Behind every face, there is an untold story. Maybe one day some of those stories will be set free, and maybe I WILL have a part in loosening chains…but last night, I kept thinking of how very few of those faces will ever taste freedom.
It was heartbreaking. It was overwhelming. It was compelling.
Freedom. As a born citizen of the United States, I have never had to experience life without freedom. I have the right to vote. I have the right to say whatever I want. I have the right to DO just about anything I want. I can drive and wear what I want. And while I had parents and grew up with rules…I always had a CHOICE.
So many people make the statement “why do they stay? Can’t they just leave?” Some can make the conscious decision to leave, some cannot. Some are afraid and held by heavy, strong, seemingly unbreakable chains. Bondage comes in many forms…and often people who are bound feel too weak to attempt breaking them.
Last night, our purpose in going to “Walking Street” was to get a glimpse at what is REALLY going on as well as keep an eye out for children or teens who looked underage.
Overall, our team had an average count of somewhere between 10-12 children. CHILDREN. At 11 o’clock at night in a city where every tourist knows he/she can go to appease their fleshly desires. Some of these children were with adults. Some were alone. Not one of them should have been there.
Last night… this is what we saw: hundreds of people making cattle calls at one another. Bar owners grabbing people’s arms and trying to pull them into their bars. Men drooling at women dancing in windows. Men AND women (sometimes together) looking at menus of women they could purchase for a “good time.” Children. Available children. Unprotected children. Bondage.
This is what we did NOT see: Joy. Satisfaction. Light. LOVE. Hope. Freedom.
I could write forever about the injustices of this industry and all about who is to “blame” and how the problems should be fixed…but none of that will do as much as actually getting out there and getting my hands dirty. I have seen too much to let someone else do the work for me. I will accept the fact that I will not be able to “save” EVERY girl. But, if God can use me to make a difference in the life of just ONE little girl…I still will have made a difference. So every day, it is my prayer that the Holy Spirit will lead me to the people He has chosen for me to encounter and that He will open their hearts and put cracks in the walls around their hearts and that His light will start to shine in through those cracks and lighten the darkness they have known for so long. After all, the darker the room, the brighter the light shines.
Praying for the brokenhearted,