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Portrait of a Bar Girl Leaving Her Bar

For a bar girl in Southeast Asia to leave her bar can be dangerous. She leaves her source of income. Most don’t have any place to go. She may face retribution. Arlene is a smart and vivacious young woman. But after she had a baby, Arlene had no other choice other than to sell herself to support…
By Seth Barnes

For a bar girl in Southeast Asia to leave her bar can be dangerous. She leaves her source of income. Most don’t have any place to go. She may face retribution.

Arlene is a smart and vivacious young woman. But after she had a baby, Arlene had no other choice other than to sell herself to support her baby.

The horror of the work was more than she could take. She hated the bar and knew she had to leave. But how?

Then Arlene heard about a ministry called Wipe Every Tear that helped bar girls leave. So she decided to trust them, despite the risk.

“You came to me, you didn’t raid our bar.  I took a risk when I told the world I worked in a bar. You accept me as I am…”

Arlene wants to go to college and earn a degree so she never has to work in a bar again.

Meghan Tshanz saw all that it took and wrote this about Arlene’s courage:

The streets are lined with bars, flashing lights and blaring music. Vendors with boxes of cigarettes pedal their product as beautiful girls engage passerby’s.

Once through the doors the first thing you see is girls, dozens of them, in some bars, hundreds of them, dancing, serving, flirting. They work in the bars all night and then during they day they live together in a dorm. The bar and its scene becomes everything they know, the women who they work with become their sisters, the bar managers their moms, and the men who frequent them some twisted version of a husband.

Arlene left with people she didn’t know. It had to be like the first day of school, with the uneasy stomach and the racing mind, times a million. Because this wasn’t just school, it was everything. It was her new family, her new home, her new food, her new city, her new life. Nothing was familiar or safe and in her mind she must have been thinking about everything that could have gone wrong— but still she left. Risking it all for a new beginning, risking it all for a bit of hope.

How many other girls are there like Arlene who want to get out, but can’t see a way to do so? Perhaps it takes some courage to try to help them, but how much courage does it take to risk trusting that help? 

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