Trapped in the darkness…
- In Asia’s largest red light district, three square kilometers are home to an estimated 40,000 women working its 24 lanes, earning at least $200 million a year in revenue for their traffickers. They service up to 25 clients a day and make around $1.50.
Although young, the women carried ancient heaviness. As we prayed, each face expressed something different. The girl to my left was dressed in the classic skirt and tank top that many of the young prostitutes wear. She was from east India, maybe Nagaland or Shilong and looked to be around twenty-two. She cried the entire time we were there, but when we prayed for her, she sobbed. Looking into her eyes I could see both desperation and hope.
I thought about some of the stories I heard before we came—a girl with a large scar on her forearm where a client had paid to cut the skin off with a razor. Another whose pimp sent man after man to rape her until she gave in to his demand of walking the street for him. Girls kept in secret cages, beaten, starved, abandoned. The poverty in India is horrendous. Most of these women were from the poorest, most desolate slums where their families could not imagine a worse fate for them than the one they were born into. And yet, here they were…
One woman really caught my attention. She was about nineteen and had a black scarf with brightly colored stripes pinned tightly along her hairline, covering her hair. As she gazed, her eyes, lined with thick black cagel (coal eyeliner), revealed years of abuse and neglect. There was openness about her, but also the oppression of a seductive spirit. I could feel the spiritual battle going on for her soul.
I thought of the woman with the Alabaster jar–how overcome she must have felt when Jesus looked at her with love. In the midst of this brothel, with its curtained “rooms” and hollow inhabitants, I have never before felt a more real, tangible presence of Jesus. Even in the dark-stained eyes of this forgotten daughter, He was with her, like a warm, bright light. It was like He was physically standing next to her saying “This is my daughter. The world has forgotten about her, but I haven’t forgotten. I’m right here with her, right here as everyday she is mistreated. I see it all and I don’t leave for one second.”
"Other things may change us, but we start and end with the family." — Anthony Brandt
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