Thursday, May 08, 2008

the rahab house.

Amber and I first heard of this developing project a few days ago while chatting with Don and Bridget of Agape International. Immediately our interest peaked. About two years ago, you might recall, Dateline did a piece on human trafficking called “Children for Sale”. Unbeknownst to us, we’d be visiting the very same brothel as the one shut down through their sting operation. What Agape has done is go into this brothel area and create a safe place for children at risk to come by turning a building full of hate, lust, and evil into a home of hope, freedom and love. This very much resonated with our soul and what Freedom’s promise is all about.

During the short, but very intense, tour… we saw and heard things that have been burned into our minds forever. Our intent by voicing these things is not to arouse feelings of anger and bitterness, but to allow a love deep within to surface for these young children and victims involved. Ok, take a deep breath… here we go.

As you walk through the metal gate of this building you can almost feel the battle that took place just a few short years ago… one that continues all over the region... and many parts of the world. This unjust behavior will continue until we bind ourselves together, step out on faith… and do something about it! Where the chairs and tables now rest peacefully with the intent on educating, the swapping of young girls and children for money was so common. As we walked along the dark narrow hallway, evidence of fear and hopelessness was all around. “I love you” was found written in red on one of the doors… presumably being a cry for acceptance and true unconditional love. Inside were painted crosses with sad faces on them and poems written posing the question, “God, why has this happened to me?” and “If you are real please save me”.

My heart began pounding harder with each story they told of how the girls were locked in the rooms during sex so that they could not escape. Can you even imagine a fear of this magnitude? Does hell exist on earth?? I’m sure these children thought at the time that it does… and most thought they may never escape. Only the older children were allowed to leave these rooms, for the pimps presumed the small children might run off if released. This is slavery my friends. This is inhumane. No one…EVER… should have to go through what these precious innocent children are dealing with every single day in this neighborhood and many many others just like it. As if this wasn’t bad enough, viper snakes, rats, and many other rodents were found in this building before the cleaning process began. The living conditions and mal nutrition is horrifying to think of on top of the pain and fear of giving ones body over forcefully time and time again at such a very young age. Seeing this made it real, but I could never imagine myself or loved ones ever having to go through something like that. I am certain the despair and pain will torture them the rest of their days. Even more so if we do nothing to help.

Just when we thought we were finished with the unspeakably heinous images, we were led upstairs to our final but most horrifying place. At the top of the stairs was a bright pink room. Much like one we’d see in the Western world, with pink flowers and such. Yet, instead of it being a safe comfortable room for a child to play and learn… it was being used for a place in which children would have all of their innocence stolen from them for the first time being introduced to a new world of pain, fear and sorrow. This my friends, was called the “virgin room”. Later we found out that virgin children are becoming a high commodity and are being sold for up to $4,000 these days. Unfortunately, in some cultures businessmen find it lucky to sleep with a virgin… even if it costs the child everything. There are actually some cases in which the mothers will sow the child back up, only to be sold again for a high price. Oh, the inhumaneness of it all breaks my heart and brings tears to my eyes. If only those tears could bring just a drop of peace to a victimized child’s life… but they are scared forever.

Right now, Amber and I are working with this organization as well as many others to find ways in which we can be most beneficial… and fast. Time is of the essence here, this gruesome door of hopelessness is opening daily for children being forced to enter in this world of endless pain and suffering.

Fortunately, in the midst of this animalistic behavior, we can do something about this. There are several NGO’s like Agape in which we can partner with and support. Financially, there are many needs to be met and physically there are hands on things that we can do. Start thinking about what this may look like to you. Don and Bridget are doing a great job of providing care for the young children and women who have been rescued as well as providing this place of refuge (soon to be church) right in the center of this intense brothel area called Svay Pak.


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