Monday, September 9, 2013

Far From Glamorous

I think the ministry of human trafficking can be over-glamorized.  I say that because I do it.  It seems like it is one of the most “popular” social injustices that we talk about in our Western culture.  It looks all "wonder-woman-ish" to go to a country where human trafficking is prevalent.  "We are just gonna go in and grab these women out of brothels and tell them about Jesus and they can live happily ever after."

Meet my friend Jill. 

I met Jill her freshman year of college. I was on staff with Campus Outreach and she was pledging the sorority I was an alumni of.   We started studying Ephesians together and I literally saw God changing her heart.  In the years that I have known her, I have seen her love for people and for God grow exponentially.  She has one of the most tender hearts for people.  I have learned many things from Jill in our 8 year friendship.  One thing that characterizes Jill’s life is obedience. 

 Jill is one of the people that prayed for me during my addiction and loved me until I could love myself. 

Jill has answered the call to go. 

Jill lives in India and is partnering with a ministry called Rahab’s Rope.   Jill is on the front lines.  She has sacrificed a life of comfort here in the states.  Jill is the feet of Jesus in Human Trafficking.   I want you to hear what ministry is really like in the sex-trafficking industry.  So, I asked her to do a guest post on my blog.  We need to know what it is really like.   
The beauty.  The heartache.  The frustration.  The warfare.  The silence.   
And how God is in every bit of it.   
Friends, we need a reality check.   
My prayer is that our hearts will be forever changed.  

 "Far from Glamorous"  (Emphasis mine)
When I was asked to do this my initial response was "I would love to!". I would love to share the reality of human trafficking and working overseas with survivors.

First I want to start off with a question for you… 

What comes to mind when you think of aftercare for survivors of sex trafficking?

Is it taking them by the hand, and walking along side them in a beautiful center that was built just for them? Training them maybe in a skill or teaching them English?

Aftercare in the area of sex-trafficking is a very long process that often starts with teaching a grown woman how to hold a pencil and write her name. 

In thinking over what I would share with you, I decided not to plan it all out, but to instead just type. So, I have only been living in India for 6 months, and I am 25. Therefore, I still have a ton to learn, but I can share with you what the Lord has taught me thus far. 

First of all to think that one could just walk in and lead a girl out by the hand is absurd. Especially in a foreign country where corruption reigns like many other places, even the US. Really think about it. How will you communicate? Why should she leave with you? She is making good money, and being fed. Who are you to her? Why should she trust you? Everyone she ever trusted let her down. It is important to understand that she has no concept of trafficking.  
She does not know she is being abused. She learns all these things later, if at all…. I use "she" here to make it a little more personal for you because it is very personal for me knowing 30 of these truly amazing ladies that have the following as their stories. 

These women are brought to the brothels in different ways. 
Some are born into them, and inherit their mother's job. 
Some are tricked by a madame at a bus stop and drugged. 
Some have a love marriage to a man that is married to many other women. 
Some live in red-light districts.
 Some operate out of their homes in the slum. 
Some work at a train station and go home in the morning. Some work out of auto-rigshaws. 
All of the methods in the brothels in red-light areas are controlled by pimps, police, and mafia as well as some of the other trafficking rings. These are highly organized systems, and the people running them are highly skilled professionals.  
These women are controlled, dehumanized, and broken to a point where selling herself becomes all she knows.
 It becomes her normal, her comfort zone even. 
Some may ask "why does she not  just run away?" Well, because a girl she knew tried to run away, but was caught. She was brought back horrifically abused in ways you could never imagine and killed in front of her along with all the other ladies she works with. They make examples out of runaways. 
So, would you run? I wouldn't.  
They remain, until a raid where they are chosen. Where often in raids the police do it for the publicity, but then take the girls right back to the brothel. However, some chosen ones are truly removed from their situations. 
Among these even fewer are removed forever.

Now that you have a little idea of what sex-trafficking in India is I can share with you daily life.

First off, it is hard. 
It takes a lot of patience. Things take so much longer. What takes 5 minutes in the states can take days here. It is consistently inconsistent. There are culture things that shock you daily. Even sometimes things that you don't even realize.  
There is a constant presence of darkness. 
A constant presence of confusion. It is often a fight to even be able to wake up and face the day. 
Then there is the understanding of trafficking in India and what it looks like. It takes a long time to even be able to understand where the trafficking is, and how it is happening.  
The enemy is working and has grabbed many souls here, many are captive to the lies that he constantly breathes out. 
Many are in great need of the Savior

What I do daily is far from glamorous. Every day there is a need of constant prayer. Prayer against confusion, lies, and exhaustion… Some days it is getting lost for 4 hours because you can't find the right place, or waiting for 3 hours for no one to show up. Or waiting for and entire day for the water truck to come so you don't thirst to death. There is a concept of survival time that accounts for a lot of the day. Life in general takes much more energy than in the States. 

Then there are the beautiful ladies that I have the privilege of knowing. Some days it is just helping them get all the bed bugs out of their things and killing roaches. Some days, it is teaching them to use dental floss because they have no idea what it is. Sometimes it is teaching them how to save money because they are about to leave and "go work elsewhere." 
Some days you walk in to realize that one of your favorites and her 2 year old daughter are gone. Then you realize that you will probably never see them again. You wonder if they will ever know the love of Christ. You wonder what will happen to that beautiful baby. 
Some days you cut and glue photos so that the ladies can get identity card, or work with one for hours just helping her write her name. 
Some days you just sit while two ladies lay on your lap and weep because they miss their family. One missing a family that has passed, and the other missing a family she hasn't seen in 4 years. 

Again It is far from glamorous. I do nothing. Only God has the power to save.  
So, I  pray a lot, and carry a lot of souls to the throne. 
In the midst it is often hard to believe that the Lord will come to them in the midst of such great darkness and oppression.   
He is bigger than all the oppression, all the darkness, and all the pain. 
He sets the prisoners free.
 It is for freedom that He sets free. 
I have seen very few glimpses of this freedom over the past few months until recently. 
And the glimpse is just that, very small. 
A smile for the first time from a lady that finally decided to try writing after not being interested for 6 weeks. 
A laugh. I love to get to see these ladies laugh, and I am so thankful that they still can. 
Most exciting thus far has been this one question and comment. 
One of the ladies asked what fruit Adam ate, and shared how she had been reading in Genesis. 
On her own. 
Now the question is insignificant, but what the Lord communicated to me was of great encouragement to my soul. 
The Lord draws them near to His word. These ladies have the opportunity to experience Christ, their redeemer, in ways you and I never could. He showed me that He was not only hearing this prayer to draw them near, but also acting! These moments are increasing so Praise be to God. Lets us walk in belief in the power of the Holy Spirit and know in our heart that He is Faithful. At the end of the day He is all we have. He and our hope in Him. 
May they soon have the same. 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Katy for allowing Jill to post on your blog today. The Weathers are praying for her. Hope you are doing well! Miss you Katy!!!