As I walked down the dusty streets my mind raced. I wove my way through vendors hawking paintings of elephants, colorful bracelets, silk scarves, and carved soap. A sungtow rumbled past us, seeking someone to chauffeur to unknown destinations. We turned down an alley filled with loud shouting and the deafening thump of dance music. The colors faded from the soft glow of streetlights to bright neon strobe lights and discos. And vendors were no longer selling bracelets and soap. They were selling women.
A few hundred baht and they were all yours for the night. This place shocked me. It made me want to cry and fight back at the same time. But I could do neither at that moment so we sat down in front of a bar with red strobe lights and ordered two cokes and a red bull. And we talked with the women. We shared stories of our families and theirs, stories of travel and favorite foods. And we listened to them as they told us what their lives were like each day.
Slowly over the next two weeks the noise became less loud, and the colors weren’t as bright. The faces that used to look at us with fake smiles and sad eyes now laughed and waved as we walked by. They loved our time together, for they knew it brought them a little peace from their hard lives. We were not strangers trying to use them. We had become friends and that friendship meant everything.
I’ve often wondered how to change the world. But I’m starting to realize it’s not as complicated as I once thought. Simple conversations. Smiles for someone who is hurting. Friendship. That’s what changed the world for these girls trapped behind Thailand’s red lights.
Our DTS outreach team headed out for ministry in the red light district
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