Most of us can read about sex trafficking with a sense of detachment. It is only when we see its results up close that we are forced to confront the full extent of its horror.
In the song "
Prostitution has been illegal in
Into this den of iniquity have come
At a Christmas party they give annually for the "bar girls," more than 200 prostitutes show up to play games like musical chairs and to hear a message from a former prostitute who tells her story of redemption, offering them a new life if they will only trust God.
A few respond. One is called "Nim," not her real name. Nim says she was abandoned by her mother and later sold by an opportunistic "auntie" to a couple who needed her to care for their aging parents. Nim says her work proved unsatisfactory and she was sold again to a bar where she was forced into prostitution.
When the Thompsons rescued her they took her to a doctor who estimated her age at 11 or 12. She had no formal schooling, but they tutored her and she is now in a regular school. Nim recently received a "character pin" from the oldest daughter of
The rescued girls live in housing run by the Thompsons. They receive an allowance that partially compensates them for lost earnings. Many send portions of their allowances to family, which they used to do with their income from prostitution.
"One of our girls," says Bonita, "is in her senior year at a university, studying chemical engineering. She is currently interning with a company that expects to hire her upon graduation. Another is in her senior year in textile design and has been selected by one of the top designers in
At a recently concluded conference on women's rights in
The Thompsons are doing their small part, though the numbers seem overwhelming at times. Think of these girls as someone's daughter or granddaughter and even though some of those relatives may have sold them, the message of love and self-worth sometimes breaks through, even in the red light districts of
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