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The Faces of Sex Trafficking

Statistics and numbers only do so much for me. I know that over a billion people in the world live in extreme poverty, but that does little for my heart in terms of daily life. I need a story to relate, a face to remember. But once I have that face, once my heart breaks for a single person, I can…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
Statistics and numbers only do so much for me. I know that over a billion people in the world live in extreme poverty, but that does little for my heart in terms of daily life. I need a story to relate, a face to remember. But once I have that face, once my heart breaks for a single person, I can’t forget it. It’s no longer an issue; it’s a human life.
 
That’s what happened to me in Swaziland with AIDS, it’s what happened to me when it came to hungry orphans in India, and it’s what’s happening to me now with the sex trade in SE Asia.
 
Last month, Trevor Curington shared an amazing photo blog of faces he captured while walking the streets of Chiang Mai in Thailand. Human trafficking is so rampant there that he makes the point, you can’t tell who has been or is being trafficked and who is not. He writes:
While in Chiang
Mai, Thailand we went to the market for the first time. A few of us had
wanted to go there and we finally got our chance. It’s one of the most
busiest markets I have been to and you can walk for hours and never see
the same area. On one of the streets I noticed a boy playing a
traditional Thai instrument and was begging for money. As I kept
walking, I noticed more and more people in the middle of the street
begging for money. About every 50 yards was another child or adult. Some
had some physical disabilities and several looked to be blind and
possibly had their eyes burned out. It wasn’t until a few later I
started to realized that there was a high chance that some of these
people were victims of trafficking. I will never know for sure whether
they are or not, but trafficking is high in this area. You can only hope
that they are not trafficking victims.
Below are some of Trevor’s photos. See how each one tells a unique story:

 
AIM has put together a specific World Race human trafficking trip as an opportunity for young people to have first-hand exposure to the sex trade and to play an active role in bringing healing to the lives of those who have been trafficked. It is an intense, five-month ministry journey around the world, with one of the steps actually in the U.S. (yes, people are trafficked here in the United States).
 
If God has placed the sex trade on your heart, please pray and consider how you can be a part of this. Find out more about the trip here.

Comments (4)

  • Thank you Seth. As someone with deep engagement for more than 25 years in the ministry nonprofit community the only organization I trust doing work in this sad world is The International Justice Mission.

  • Indeed this is quite disturbing, and it’s eerily similar to the equally disturbing problem of human trafficking. I think an important thing to keep in mind is that this does not happen only in Thailand, but in many countries worldwide (including the United States). I have lived in Thailand for several years now and have seen numerous news reports about people being trafficked in to work in various types of lucrative underground businesses. Although laws in Thailand should be put into practice (because such laws do exist) to eliminate or greatly reduce this problem, money often takes center stage and enforcement is sometimes overlooked. Corruption still plays a very big role in developing nations and as a result many victims pay a heavy price, while their exploiters become extremely wealthy and hold themselves “above the law” so to speak. More international joint efforts are needed.

  • What on earth are you talking about? Like most Christian missionary types, this is mostly about you, not about Thais – about whom you know absolutely nothing. In the photographs you reproduce *nobody* is “trafficked” (whatever that means ). But then again, why didn’t the photographer just talk to them? Memo to Christian missionaries in non-Christian countries : nobody gives a shit about you or your religion, and they don’t want to be saved by you. Thais, especially, can’t stand you and wish that you’d just go home and leave them alone. Trust me, that’s how 99% of them think.

  • Maybe it was a naive effort. But here’s something four years later: we didn’t give in to cynicism or the notion that the status quo should persist and that the best move was to do nothing.

    Arlene, for one, is glad we kept looking for ways to make a difference:
    https://www.sethbarnes.com/?filename=portrait-of-a-bar-girl-leaving-her-bar

    And this week there are 16 more like her being given an alternative to selling themselves in the bars. Ultimately we help them get college educations and a job.

    In Thailand we serve Emmi, who knows what it feels like to be trafficked and has committed her life to freeing others as she is now freed: http://www.lighthouseinaction.org/

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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