Although Thailand’s booming red-light districts were shut down with the pandemic first hit, they reopened during the summer. And bar owners found new and more exploitative ways to make money off the girls while tourism was down.
“Traffickers, pimps, and the Enemy are always working overtime and are steps ahead,” our Thailand partner said.
She explained that at least one bar had set up livestreams of the girls, opening the door for more men than ever before to take advantage of these young women.
Today, on Human Trafficking Awareness Day, will you help fight for the freedom of women and girls trapped in the sex industry?
A recent spike of coronavirus cases in Thailand has closed the bars once more for now. When they reopen, though, it’s likely these livestreaming activities will resume, subjecting the girls to widespread abuse.
But even that isn’t the greatest concern for many of these girls right now — survival is.
With the bars closed, the girls have no work at all. And no work means no food.
Our partners met one young woman who told them she had had nothing to eat. For two days, she had only had water.
When you hear the word “trafficking,” you probably think of girls being kidnapped and smuggled into another country where they are forced into the sex industry. But in places like Thailand and India, it’s poverty that forces girls to sell themselves on the Internet and in bars, often in their own hometowns.
That’s because these girls have no education or job opportunities. And since they are expected to provide for their families, selling their bodies seems like the only option.
Som, the young woman in the video above, is one of thousands of girls trapped in the life of a sex worker. For her own privacy, we’ve blurred her face.
Som has been a prisoner to the sex industry for many years. She never wanted this life for herself, but it seemed like the only way to survive. Now, with small daughters of her own, Som fears they will meet the same fate.
Girls in India’s Banchara community also face a similar problem. According to a 500-year-old cultural tradition, girls as young as 12 years old are expected to sell their bodies day after day to pay for their brother’s marriage dowries.
One young woman I met in India named Pushana has been working as a sex worker for years. But with three brothers’ marriage dowries to pay for, she still owes nearly $10,000.
And the financial pressure on girls in the Banchara community has become even greater since the pandemic pushed many families into even deeper poverty.
Unfortunately, Pushana will spend most of her life paying off her debts.
Having traveled to India and Thailand many times in the past, I have witnessed these horrors firsthand. Poverty has forced these girls to do the unthinkable.
But you can give girls like Som’s or Pushana’s children the chance at a better life.
For $50, you will help introduce one girl to freedom by providing her with essentials like a safe place to live, food, education, medical care, and counseling. Whether she wants to be a nurse like Mia or a doctor like Nadia, your gift will allow her to dream again!
I can’t think of a better way to commemorate Human Trafficking Awareness Day than by helping break the chains of sexual slavery for one girl in need.
Please give today and provide one girl with hope for a brighter future.
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