So my daughter needed a new bed. She asked for a “princess bed” and since I’m not sure what she means by that, I got on Craigslist and found a twin four poster bed for $75. She is thrilled with it and will be even more thrilled if I ever get around to hanging up a canopy over it. But the princess bed got me thinking.
As you know, my mission in life is to spread the word about child sex trafficking in Southeast Asia, mostly Cambodia. I found the coolest blog ever (like ever, ever) about a woman and her family who run a non-profit that funds undercover investigations in brothels in SE Asia for the purpose of convincing the local police to conduct raids and rescue girls. She describes the brothels and they’re every bit as filthy and dank as you would expect. Places that sell 8 year olds for sex are in back alleys with secret entrances and they’re dark and grimy with soiled mattresses littering the floor. They are the last place a child should ever be, and yet thousands of children live in horribly abusive situations in places such as these. Honestly it just pisses me off.
I kept thinking about my four year old daughter’s routine as the sun goes down. She takes a bath, practices reading “Dick and Jane,” brushes her teeth, snuggles up with her Piggy in her princess bed and falls asleep blissfully unaware of the problems of little girls in more impoverished parts of the world. When the sun goes down at a brothel, business heats up. Men start showing up and choosing from a line of girls with numbers pinned to their dresses. They order drinks and have a cigarette and ponder which child they would like to rape. These girls’ reality is a nightmare.
Some of them were sold by their parents to feed their younger siblings. Some were sold to pay off their father’s gambling debt. Some were orphaned and wound up in a brothel because there was no one around to protect them. Some of the older ones were promised jobs as maids or waitresses in the big city and instead were trafficked into a waking nightmare. Their price is initially high but, once they are no longer virgins, their value decreases with every new client. Some of them will get AIDS, some will die from complications of a forced abortion. One or two will be beaten to death by their pimp to teach a lesson to the other girls. Very few of them will ever be rescued.
Unless those of us who put our kids to bed in princess beds every night with warm jammies and good night kisses decide that we want EVERY kid to have a childhood, not just those children who are biologically ours. Unless we decide to take responsibility for ALL the kids in the world, not just the ones that are the same color as us or live on the same continent. When we all decide that we want a world where children are not raped for profit and we’re ready to give our money, our time and our voices, then we will see these girls’ rescue. If we are content with the happiness of only our own children, nothing will change.
Who will stand up for these girls? Who will push for stronger penalties for men who travel internationally for sex? Who will fund the safehomes and the job training centers so that girls taken out of brothels never return for lack of a way to support themselves? Who will risk their own life to go undercover in a seedy brothel in Bangkok? Will it be you?
If you answered yes or you already are answering yes, please let me know. If you want to help but don’t know how, visit AIM at www.agapewebsite.org
There are so many NGO’s and ministries that are fighting tirelessly to give these girls (and sometimes boys) a chance at a life outside the brothel. Let’s join them.