Darcy and I were flying from Manila to Bangkok recently when I saw a familiar scene which never fails to unleash anger within me. It began when I saw a group of people in front of us who were in line for the airline check-in counter. There was much laughter as they took their "selfies" and it would seem like a normal group enjoying their much deserved vacation. Looking closer though, this was not an ordinary group.
The group consisted of four older men who were clearly not "local". I apologize in advance for the following description (my anger is going to seep through)...but these men were old, overweight, socially awkward and greasy. These were the guys that probably couldn't get a date in North America and so headed to Thailand.
With these guys were two beautiful young Thai women. While it may look like they were simply "on holiday" together, it is very safe to say that there had been some sort of "transaction" for the women's services. To put it bluntly, these women were being rented...and unfortunately this scene is played out all the time in Asia. The services of women are rented for the day, week or even month. I resisted the urge to corner the men to inform them that the girls weren't really into them.
Though generally not advised, I took my rage to Facebook and posted this:
Sex tourists make me SO MAD.
There was a very quick response from around the world with people chiming in with their "amens".
I then got a very interesting response from Sandra McIntosh, who is the director of Impact School of Missions in Bangkok.
Here is what she said:
Hey Leanne - I hear you. It took me a long time to see past the cocky demeanor and see the man who is so horribly broken that he is a sex tourist. I was so angry for so long, but a friend of mine who is the director of MST Project in Bangkok - reaches out to the men. Check out more here He opened my eyes to the other side - it is shocking - porn addiction, abuse, broken relationships, loneliness, rejection and a lot more. Eventually (and it took a long time) instead of anger I felt the same sadness for them as I do for the women. Slavery takes all kinds of forms. I hope the Lord raises up godly men everywhere to reach out to the many broken men everywhere.
Wow! Slavery takes all kinds of forms... While I believe that my righteous anger and desire for justice is an expression of God's heart, it was a good reminder that it is complicated, very complicated, but God's desire is to bring truth, justice and freedom to ALL, both men and women, no matter what bondage they find themselves in.
This is what drives us at ZOE Projects. Our current ZOE project partner is Krista Couts. Krista is a PAOC global worker living in Bangkok. She works with an organization called NightLight International that reaches out to women trapped in the sex industry through regular outreaches in the bars and on the street. Krista builds relationship with women just like the ones I saw in the Manila airport...and I am glad that Krista is there bringing truth!
Consider supporting Krista through ZOE Projects...because it matters.