I had never heard of a “bed bus” until I boarded one bound for Poipet, a small city on Cambodia’s border with Thailand. After squeezing down an aisle that thin people have to walk sideways to fit through—two tiers of beds down each side—I soon discovered that the bunks were double-occupancy, meaning I had to share the last remaining 3.5-foot-wide by 5-foot-long bunk, all the way in the back of the bus, with another person for the 9-hour ride through the dark, bumpy night.
Poipet is a hot, dusty town (this time of year) of more than 100,000 residents. Glitzy casinos, built on a neutral patch of real estate that’s neither Cambodia nor Thailand (a crafty way to elude gambling laws), rise up in stark contrast to the poverty surrounding them. At night, desperately poor children and young adults seep from nearby slums, where they live during the day, into the streets around the casinos to sell their bodies so that they can make enough money to help their families survive. Thousands more pour back and forth across the border each day—both legally and illegally—to find work in more prosperous Thailand, and many end up being trafficked into the sex-tourist cities of Pattaya and Bangkok.
I traveled there with my friends, with whom I had spent the day before visiting the slums of Phnom Penh (click here if you missed my first blog). My purpose was to learn how Heaven’s Family might be able to help protect these children—especially the youngest, who are most vulnerable to being forced into this dangerous, dehumanizing existence.
Among our strategies, we hope to help families start small businesses like sewing, raising pigs, and operating simple pedal or motorized taxis, so that they can afford to feed their children, send them to school, and keep them off the streets at night. Please pray for wisdom and the resources to do so.
I’ve again included several photos below to help connect you more intimately with the situation here.
Next time you hear from me I’ll be in the Philippines, where I’ll be working with trusted partners who help protect children in the slums there. I’ll also help victims of a fire that leveled a slum, as well as check on recent typhoon relief efforts—both on behalf of the Disaster Relief Fund.
If you’d like to help the Human Trafficking/Slavery Fund help these children and others like them, please click on the blue donate button below.
Because of Him,
Co-Director, Human Trafficking/Slavery Fund
Three more photos…