Since our last blog Christmas has come and gone so quickly. We hope you all had a very peaceful time and we hope this New Year holds many blessings for you all.
This month is ‘Human Trafficking Awareness/Prevention Month’. In this blog we wanted to remind you of the horrible reality that this modern day form of slavery brings. It is not just a problem that is encountered in certain countries; it is a ‘worldwide issue’ affecting millions of women, children & men everyday. It has become the second largest profitable crime in the world. In the last 10 years, the UK has seen a marked increase in internal/international sex & labour trafficking within the UK. Take a moment to learn what human trafficking looks like and be prepared with information for people at risk. The UK report line is – ‘Crimestoppers: Read The Signs – 0800 555 111’
Please take some time to read about some of the recent cases in the UK and watch the You Tube video on the Metro article and watch the news report on the BBC article. Please click on each heading to take you to the articles:
This is what awareness & prevention can do: This is an account of a conversation on a recent outreach night in Bangkok:
On a recent outreach night we visited a bar in the red light district. The music was loud, blaring as always. The women on the stage were swaying just enough to vie for men’s attention but not enough to wear themselves out. We have many friends in this bar, and it was not long after we arrive several girls come over to us for hugs and a drink. “P” was one of the women who came to sit with us. She was very affectionate and so happy to be with friends who actually care about her life.
“P” chatted away about this and that. We strained to listen but could just about catch it all, against the music blaring loudly in the background, we almost missed her words, “My friend told me I can get a job working in a massage parlour in Korea and make 80,000 baht a month (£1,700).” We were about to do the rhythmic nod of the head (you know the one, where you don’t really know what someone is saying but are trying to look like you do!), when her words set off an alarm. A job offer? In Korea? 80,000 baht? Our passive nods turned into an alarmed reaction. We quickly warned her that these offers are usually just traps leading to slavery or forced prostitution. She was shocked, and of course disappointed. It sounded like such a great opportunity. “P’s” husband left her with over 300,000 baht in debt (£7,000) and because she has been unable to pay, the amount has now grown to 400,000 baht debt. “P” works at an office in the day before coming to work in the bar at night. She sleeps 4 hours a night. At 42, “P” knows she is too old to get many customers and yet the hope of money from a few clients and even from drink tips is enough to reel her in to the scene of sexual exploitation. One job at a massage parlour in Korea, making 4-5 times what she makes through two jobs here sounds like an answer to desperation.
Women in vulnerable situations like “P” are perfect prey. She has enough ambition to work two jobs and to make real attempts at improving her life. She is not sitting around waiting for something to drop from the sky. She has initiative, she is intelligent, and she is desperate – the perfect combination for a trafficking victim. She believes there is an answer out there for her situation and if it is presented just right she will take the bait.
One conversation in a bar may have prevented “P” from being sold into slavery. If the offer is legit, it will prove itself, but one conversation opened “P’s” eyes to the risk and realities. Sometimes, that is all it takes.
Trafficking Prevention Month is almost over, but hopefully trafficking awareness/prevention is not just the “flavour or a gimmick for 1 month” but the beginning of something greater. By making a choice to become aware, you to have the opportunity to prevent trafficking. Someday, you may have a conversation on a bus, at the store, or at the beauty salon. Because you have become aware, an alarm will go off in your head and you will react as we did, informed, and ready to prevent him or her from being trafficked. YOU can prevent trafficking! Choose to know. Listen to the vulnerable. Speak up. You just might save a life!
If you want to support the work of BMS, please click on this link BMS World Mission:
We continue to thank you for all your support, encouragement and prayers.