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Along this path, more people are taken against their will (aka trafficked) than nearly any other place in the world.  It’s not just women and children, it’s men, too.

Don’t talk to strangers” campaigns don’t work here. Young women, teenagers and children often sold by family members…fathers, uncles, sometimes even mothers.

Some do come by choice.  Men and young women come from remote villages to work with the city to support their families at home.

What they discover is a horrifically different reality.  This is the “tame” version of how it works:

She or he :

  • walks for days or weeks to get to Myawaddy, a Myanmar/Thailand border town
  • is taken to this little strip of lawless land in between Myanmar and Thailand
  • held in a meth hut, drugged and compromised, until time for transport
  • is walked along this path into Thailand under the cover of night..but it’s not the glamorous version shown in movies
  • begins the life of a slave in the back of a covered truck

What does “life of a slave” mean?

  • women and girls sold to brothels…which by now is becoming more well known
  • women and girls sold to men as “wives”
  • men may be shipped to Israel and beyond to work on farms. In fact, over 30,000 are being held at work camps in Israel alone
  • men and boys may be forced to become “lady boys” or transvestites and work in brothels

Yes, you read that right…

If we can help the faithful “soldiers” here doing the work, the really hard messy business, maybe life can be just a little bit better for others. One less taken, one intercepted.

I really, really struggle when the subject of “Red Light District” comes up, or when I hear people talking about what they saw, or “buy-me-drinky” girls…all of that.

Sure, some of them are there by choice, but I contend not many are.

Before the make-up, high heels and short skirts, most of them were petrified, shaking, filthy, drugged, hopeless and helpless, not knowing the language in which they were being yelled at, never being exposed to the weapons, other than machetes, being wielded in their faces and poked on their bodies. And they’ll never see their moms, dads, sisters, brothers or grandparents again….ever.

Thankfully, my friends love me and accept me for who I am. But this is where I typically bow out of a conversation.  It’s too close to my heart, too personal.

I can barely even write about it.  But this is why I go.  This is why I want to connect people who want to give with those doing the messy work.

They are making an impact.  But they need us to do our part, too.

Look into Outpour Movement (www.OutpourMovement.com). Want to get involved locally?

Yes, this is happening where you are, too.

Check out Rethreaded (www.rethreaded.com) and Grace Ministry (http://graceministriesjax.org/).