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What it feels like to be sold for sex

Micah Thomas used to live in Atlanta and work in public broadcasting. A new Christian, she describes herself as "still figuring out how all of this works. I'm still understanding the Gospel and how to pray.  But I'm fearless with God on my side." She's putting shoe leat…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

Micah Thomas used to live in Atlanta and work in public broadcasting. A new Christian, she describes herself as "still figuring out how all of this works. I'm still understanding the Gospel and how to pray.  But I'm fearless with God on my side." She's putting shoe leather on that commitment by reaching out to girls caught the sex trade in the Philippines. She describes how her time has impacted her in the following post:

It’s one thing to be educated on human trafficking and another to see it face-to-face.  When we arrived at the strip in Manila, I quickly realized case studies and statistics meant nothing.  My team and I were staring at one of the most popular streets for prostitution and sex trafficking in the Philippines.  Ironically, this strip is located directly across the street from where Congress meets. 

The “bars” are actually notaries, post offices, and karaoke joints, among other things, turned into brothels at night.  You can barely fit three people inside.  But upstairs, you’ll find VIP rooms outfitted with video games and beds.  The girls range in ages and attitudes.  Some were overjoyed to speak with us.  One girl even let us pray for her.  She stressed a desire to leave the bar, but needed a job plan first. 

That gave my heart hope.  Some girls are caught in the darkness.  They see no way out and have no hope of ever leaving. They are either sold into the business or, because of their lack of education, cannot get another job.  But this girl's desire to leave was a huge first step.

The second night out we hit the busy streets.  It hurt my heart to see girls on just about every corner, then to see them hide in the bushes as we came near.  You could see their pimps sitting and waiting on their motorcycles.  Some pimps let you talk to the girls, some do not.  They don’t want to lose business. 

Travis and Hayden saw one girl get picked up, and then dropped off about 100 feet later.  I suppose the customer wasn’t satisfied with his purchase.  Can you imagine the rejection that girl must have felt?  This is all she knows.  This is her life.  Every day,every night.

What hurt my heart the most was another girl, probably around 20 years old. She was dressed up in fishnets, a short skirt, way too much makeup, 5 inch heels, and looking to be on the verge of tears.  I waved and smiled at her.  Her pimp “graciously” flashed me a HUGE smile and aggressive wave, but the girl, well, she looked like stone.  Her face didn’t crack.  She looked in pain.  She looked lost and hopeless. It killed me. 

I wanted to help her; to save her.  But I couldn’t.  All I could do was wave, smile and pray that my love and kindness was communicated to her.  I wanted to talk to her and pray for her personally, but we couldn’t.  In that moment, she was a commodity and worth too much to her pimp.

After that night, the girls in the Hope House (where we live) started sharing their stories with us.  It hit me like a ton of bricks.  These girls, who we share meals with and hang out with, were in very similar positions to that of the 20 year old on the street. 

How could this be??  I became defensive.  I became angry.  It was one thing to be educated on sex trafficking.  It was another to actually see the girls working in the brothels and on the street.  But it was a whole other thing to think about my friends being bought and sold for sex.  “No, no, no!  This didn’t really happen to them!  It couldn’t!”  My soul hurt.  But I realized I couldn’t fight the pain. 

I couldn’t fight the sex trafficking industry.  I couldn’t fold up my arms and sulk.  That’s not why I’m here.  I’m here to love.  I’m here to make a difference in at least one person’s life, and maybe for just one day.  I can support and encourage the girls in the Hope House.  I can smile and pray for the street girls from a far.  I can bring the girls in the brothels small gifts of perfumes and lotions.  I can make a difference.

Comments (3)

  • Yes, One person CAN make a difference; and if we each believed that and allowed it to be a driving force in our lives to reach out and love, the world would be a better place…

  • It took me this long to gather courage to read this article. I am very frustrated and helpless when I get to hear stories like these and I find escapism as the best route to bury my cowardice and impotency. Please God give me the strength to do something to the innocent children who don’t even know there is something called innocence or childhood in the vocabulary. Please empower me with your compassion to make a meaning in my lifeless life.

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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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