Provocative young girls beckoned every sidewalk passerby: “Don’t resist! Come inside!” Pulsing street music and flashing lights mixed to form a hellish vortex that pulled the unwary towards their seductive summons. I was in a red-light district in Thailand. It felt as if we were in Satan’s backyard.
We walked a few blocks to escape and find a quieter place where we could talk. I wanted to learn more about the clandestine ministry of Jack and Jaidee (not their real names), who are seeking to rescue desperate women and children from sex slavery in one of Thailand’s tourist towns (which I can’t name for security reasons). Finding our spot, Jaidee told me their story.
She had grown up in Thailand, the daughter of a pastor. When she was 15 years old, Jaidee met her first victim of human trafficking. “She was a young girl who had been brought all the way from Russia and who was forced into prostitution. She told me that she wanted to go home. I knew I couldn’t send her back to Russia. So I took her home to my parents.”
Realizing that they could be in danger from those who “owned” her, Jaidee’s father gathered the family’s entire savings and sent the young woman to a safe place where she could start her life over.
That first rescue was the start of Jaidee’s calling. She began to reach out to other trapped girls, sharing the gospel and helping them with very practical needs, such as taking them to a health clinic for HIV testing. A few years later, she and Jack married, and they dedicated themselves to work together to serve innocent victims of human trafficking in Thailand.
Although most trafficked women desperately want to escape their predicament, doing so is not easy. They are often lured far from their homes (usually to another country) by false promises of job opportunities, and discover too late that they’ve been sold into virtual slavery. Some serve their master’s wishes solely out of fear of physical reprisals, like the girl Jaidee met with only seven fingers…she lost one finger each of the three times she attempted to escape.
Experience has taught Jaidee and Jack that they must be committed for the long haul to those whom they hope to rescue. The girls have learned to trust no one. Once trust is earned it is possible to reach them with the gospel, disciple them, and help them start a new life through relocation and skill training.
Jack and Jaidee’s work is dangerous, as it threatens the trafficker’s illicit business—and it comes at a high emotional cost. Heaven’s Family is standing beside them through prayer and gifts to our Human Trafficking Fund. In future articles we’ll be discreetly telling you stories of those they’ve helped, as well as about other ministries we’ll be partnering with to help the “least of these” victimized in this way.