Palma’s name used to be a number.
She was one of tens of thousands of girls working in the bars of Thailand’s red-light district. Palma felt like just another face in the crowd, another dancer up on a stage — for sale to the highest bidder.
Palma, whose name we’ve changed to protect her, came to Bangkok looking for work. Becoming a sex worker was never part of the plan, but coming from poverty with little education, she had few options … and she had a family to provide for.
Shortly after coming to Bangkok, a man took advantage of Palma emotionally and physically. Since she was no longer a virgin, she didn’t feel like she was worth anything other than working in the sex industry. But the demeaning acts she encountered in the bars only escalated her depression.
In the bars, Palma didn’t have a name — she had a number. When she clocked in for work, she’d sign in under her number. When a customer was interested in her, he’d ask for her based on the number pinned to her dress. Often, the bar owner would use a laser pointer to point her out to potential customers, making her feel even more like an object on display.
Before she knew it, Palma had been bought and sold night after night for over two years.
“I didn’t know if things would ever change for me,” she said. “I wanted my life to be different, to be better.”
But there didn’t seem to be a way out of her bondage — not without an education or some kind of job training. Even though she danced beside numerous girls every night, Palma felt alone.
Then, thanks to the generosity of compassionate donors, Palma was given the chance to live at a Freedom Home and begin vocational training as a baker. In addition to learning valuable job skills, she also learned about Jesus and accepted Him as her Savior.
And even though we can’t share her real name with you — Palma is now known to her peers by a name, not a number.
It was just over a year ago that Palma was so ashamed of her life that she left the house only to go to work. But today, she’s boldly sharing her story with others. She recently spoke to a group of more than 100 sex workers, encouraging them that they, too, are worthy of freedom.
She’s also building a relationship with Jesus Christ. After learning about God and experiencing His love while living at the Freedom Home, Palma knows she’ll never be alone again.
“When I pray, I’m not lonely. Jesus listens every time I pray,” she said.
Today, Palma is the proud owner of her own baking business, located in the community where she grew up. She’s doing work that she enjoys, all while taking care of the ones she loves. She’s also an example for other young girls in her neighborhood, showing them they have choices when it comes to their future.
“My life is beautiful,” she said.
You can help girls like Palma escape a life of poverty and abuse. All it takes is $50 to help introduce one girl to freedom.
You can help restore a girl’s life, her name, and her identity.