Have you ever wondered what it means to help a girl “experience freedom” from life as a sex worker?
I recently sat down with Ann and Libby, two of our partners helping women escape sexual slavery in Thailand, to clear up any confusion. During our conversation, they provided more insight into Thailand’s sex industry.
Here are their answers to some commonly asked questions:
1) How has the sex industry changed because of COVID-19?
For over a year, bars throughout the entire country were shut down. They finally started to reopen a few months ago, just in time for the tourist season.
While the rest of the world is experiencing winter, it’s summer in Thailand — also known as the high season. Since travel restrictions were lifted, the red-light districts have become much busier than they were during the height of the pandemic.
That means that after being out of work for so long, women are returning to work in cities like Bangkok and Pattaya. Libby said, “It’s starting to feel normal at pre-COVID levels.”
With no other way to provide for their families, women have no choice but to return to the sex industry
Streaming also became much more common during the pandemic, a phenomenon you’ve probably experienced yourself. But the world’s increased reliance on streaming also impacted women in the sex industry.
Sadly, the pandemic helped create a new way to exploit these girls through streaming services. Most bars now have a room in the back where they film women. These videos are then shared with clients across the globe.
2) How has inflation affected people in Thailand? Has it increased the number of women forced into sex work?
Much like the rest of the world, people in Thailand are struggling to get by with the rising prices of necessities.
Libby said, “The cost of shampoo and normal essentials have gone up, but the minimum wage has remained stagnant.”
She couldn’t say for sure if this would cause more women to enter the sex industry … but it has created more pressure for women trying to provide for their families.
Women are expected to be the primary breadwinners for their families, so the burden of skyrocketing prices falls directly on their shoulders. They are desperate and will do anything to care for their loved ones — including becoming a sex worker.
3) What are the biggest obstacles to convincing a girl to leave behind life as a sex worker?
It’s not easy to persuade a girl to leave her career in the sex industry.
In Thailand, a woman’s identity is based on the cultural expectation to provide for her family. She feels pressured to care for her parents, siblings, and her children.
When offered the opportunity to leave the sex industry, girls are asked to “pursue something they can’t see.”
Women in Thailand and India need YOUR help to experience freedom.
These women need money now to care for their families — they frequently feel like there’s no time to invest in their futures.
It’s also viewed as incredibly selfish to chase your dreams … especially when your family is counting on you.
While the girls receive a stipend to help their families cope with any financial losses, there is another obstacle they need to overcome before they can experience freedom: their own doubts and insecurities.
Many of these women don’t believe they can have a better life. After living a life of abuse, shame, and exploitation, it’s hard for them to find a sense of self-worth.
They’re led to believe that life as a sex worker is all they deserve.
4) What types of care do women receive when they leave the sex industry?
Once a girl makes the difficult decision to leave the sex industry behind, she moves into a family-style home … but this is only the beginning.
Ann said, “The first step is leaving the bar, but living here is the real challenge of their life.”
It can be challenging for these women because most of them have never had a real family before.
This is their first time living in close quarters with other women. It takes a lot of courage and energy to leave behind all they’ve ever known to live in a community 24/7, sometimes against their family’s wishes.
For the first time in their lives, these girls are encouraged to chase after their dreams
At the Freedom home, they learn skills like cooking, handling conflict, and managing responsibilities. They also support and encourage each other to pursue careers in baking, tailoring, business, and more. They’re also offered trauma counseling and legal help where needed.
Most importantly, the girls have the opportunity to hear the Gospel and learn about Jesus!
5) If you could communicate one thing with donors about your ministry, what would it be?
Ann and Libby wanted to emphasize that “we are in it together to support the girls.”
They shared that in Thailand, the only person who can save a woman trapped in the sex industry is herself. But your giving provides her with the resources she needs to choose freedom and begin a better life.
Without the support of world changers like you, none of this would be possible!
All it takes is $50 to help a girl experience freedom from the sex industry in Thailand or India. You’ll give her access to essentials like a safe place to live, counseling, education, medical care, and much more.
Your generosity will also demonstrate the love and compassion of Jesus Christ. Please give as generously as you can today to help one girl in Thailand or India experience freedom.