Prostitution is Not a Choice!

Every week our team ministers to women and children living in slum and street dwelling communities.  These at-risk areas are full of poverty, corruption, and injustice.  Many are living in situations of modern-day slavery, trapped by their situations and living day-to-day only to survive.

This week several of the women there shared their stories.

As the ladies shared, we noticed that although slightly different, their stories were entirely the same.  They all had the same story of poverty and pain, and all of the women had encountered some situation or person that forced them into prostitution.  Prostitution is not a choice!

  1. One of the ladies shared that her boyfriend had sold her into prostitution.  He had persuaded her to go to Thailand for better job opportunities, and once she was there, he sold her to a mama-san that locked her in a room and held her captive.  When she begged to go home, she was told she had a debt and had to stay until she paid what was owed.  She was forced to service 7 – 10 men for sex per day and needed to work one full year before she was finally released.  When she returned from Thailand, she was considered “used” and without job skills.  So she continued to work in prostitution, and today still finds herself in the same position – trapped in sexual exploitation.
  2. Another lady we met with shared that her family was in great poverty when she was younger.  Her father had died, and her mother couldn’t support her with all of her siblings.  Since she was one of the older children, she had to collect garbage and recyclables to make money for the family.  She tried to make enough money collecting garbage but was unable to earn enough.  She had no job skills and little education.  So, at the age of 15, she began to sell herself for money.  She hated what she was doing but knew no other way to provide for her family.  The pressure was great, and she ended up trapped in years of abuse and sexual slavery.  Just recently she escaped the cycle of prostitution and is now married with a child.  She said she hopes she never has to do that again, but her husband is not getting enough money to support the family, so she is considering once again selling herself for sex.  Her husband directs traffic and collects garbage on the street, and her dream is to learn to sew and someday open her own clothing store.

Both women cried out for help that day.  XPMissions is working with several outside persons and organizations to get these women alternative job training.  It’s our hope that their destinies will be changed – that they will be free from the bonds of slavery.  We will do whatever it takes to get them there.

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Their backgrounds are also identical to the current situation of the children we are working with.  These children are extremely at-risk, and if they don’t get help, their futures are likely to be the same as that of the women.

Click here if you’d like to donate to our projects reaching out to vulnerable and exploited women and children.



Why is There So Much Violence Against the Poor?

In nations where poverty is rampant, there is another huge injustice that is also very prevalent – violence against the poor.  It’s an issue that people are often unaware of, yet there is a very real connection between violence and poverty.

There is often nothing shielding the poor from violent people, as even though laws may be in place, there is very little recourse for the poor if those laws are broken.  Lack of finances and lack of knowledge combine to stop the victim in their tracks.  Often police and law officials are corrupt, so even if a person seeks justice, many times it goes no further up the chain.  And many times, fear of reprisal stops victims of violence before they even talk to anyone.  Basic public justice systems in the developed world are very broken and sometimes totally collapsed.

The sale of children for sexual exploitation is one of the most hideous forms of violence, and it happens most frequently among the poor.  They are often illegally confined, raped and subjected to mind-crushing abuse of every form, yet often have very little recourse, as many times it’s the high-up officials that are involved.

One organization that is doing a wonderful work in the area of bringing justice to the poor is International Justice Mission.  Listen to their founder talk about this very issue:

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We also need to tackle this issue of justice for the poor with PRAYER!  We love the verse found in Psalm 89:14:

”Righteousness and justice make up the foundation of your throne; gracious love and truth meet before you.” (Int’l Standard Version)

We want to pull down heaven’s throne of justice into the poorest areas of the earth!



The Many Layers of Injustice

Justice can come in many forms… in as many forms as needed to fight the multiple layers of injustice!

When one comes to understand the multiplicity of injustices that impede the nation of Cambodia, there remains much room for prayer, for action and for intervention to right these wrongs.

One such area is the practice of destitute Cambodian mothers selling their virgin daughters to powerful and influential men, such as high-ranking officials, military or police members, who sometimes rape them for the better part of a week.

This is a part of the human trafficking scenario that is so challenging for other mothers to hear of – how could a loving mother willingly put her daughter through such horrific abuse for mere financial gain?  Yet it happens many times over.  In some slum areas, almost every teenage girl is sold for her virginity.

There are many layers of false & unjust beliefs that lead to such a horrific situation, and here are some of them:

  • Women are worth less than men – this is a common belief in the Cambodian mind
  • a child is there to serve the parent – a child holds less value than an adult, hence they are dispensable to serve the adult needs in the household
  • powerful & influential men are beyond the ways of justice in the nation where corruption prevails
  • having sex with a virgin will bring good luck and good health
  • short-term gain for the family is worth the long-term pain of the child

These injustices are deeply ingrained ways of thinking that go against the heart of the Father for His children.  The nation of Cambodia must be mentored into justice, changing the hearts & minds of the people in order to bring about justice at the grass-roots level – in the minds of the mothers who willingly give over their children, aged 12-17, for paid sex.

Pray for justice to come to the mindsets of people, so that a foundation of righteousness can begin to prevail in the nation of Cambodia.

To read more about the horrors of mothers selling their virgin daughters, read this article.



Education is Empowerment!

The World Bank estimates that 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day.  Poverty is rampant all over the world, and it is a determinant for much of the world’s corruption, including human trafficking.

Many people without skills, job training, and education are trapped in cycles of poverty and exploitation.  Countless poor Cambodian families rely on their children to earn an income and support their needs.  As a result, children often are forced into begging, collecting recyclables, or scavenging, making them targets for abuse, exploitation, and trafficking.  The outcome is another generation of unskilled and uneducated persons, and the cycle continues.  Education is a key to breaking these cycles of poverty that lead to exploitation.

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UNICEF has determined that nearly one billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names.  Cambodia’s functional literacy rate (defined as a person who can read, write, and calculate for his/her own or their community’s development) is only 37.1%, as estimated by UNESCO, per their 1999 report.

It is for these reasons that we have purposed to see Cambodian children and families educated.  XPMissions is excited to announce an upcoming project focused on educating poor and vulnerable children.  Children in Poipet and Phnom Penh that are unable to go to school will now have the means to do so, through our Education Empowerment Program.  We believe this project is imperative for the nation’s development and transformation. As well, it is a route of prevention that will open doors of opportunity for families in need.

Please join us in prayer, as we plan and implement this exciting, new education program.  Look for announcements in the Spring, regarding project launch.  In the mean time, if you are interested in sponsoring education for an at-risk child, please contact cambodia@xpmissions.com for more information.

Together, we will see the nations empowered through education!



How Much Are They Worth?

We often get asked, “How much does it take to rescue a child?”.  Some stories circulate of someone buying a child out of slavery, giving the trafficker a meager amount of money, then running off with that child, thinking they’ve rescued a child for that amount.

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For starters, doing that is illegal – it’s called kidnapping and if anyone does that, they can be in as much trouble with the law as the traffickers themselves.  Working with the legal authorities in the country is imperative in rescue work and over the years, XPmissions has built a network of valued and trusted officials as we do the work of taking children out of the hands of captors and placing them in long-term care.

Another misnomer is that it only costs $35/month to care for a child, a number chosen by some larger child-sponsor organizations, because it’s been deemed there is a psychological plateau for the public easily absorbing that amount into their person budget each month.  But the people in the field know that the raw cost is more like $150 upwards to $300/month per child, depending on the number of children in the home, the level of counseling/special care & education requirements, and on the list of needs goes.

But back to the question of what is a child worth?

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The issue goes much deeper than a dollar figure, as the value we place on each life is an intrinsic number, never measurable in mere financial terms.  In most of Western society, we value the life of each child, going to great lengths to develop the potential in each one through education, family values, cheering on their unique giftings through sports and arts and other innumerable ways.

But in many other regions of the world, a child is often viewed as a liability, one more mouth to feed with an already-stretched meager monthly income.  If the child is handicapped in any way, their value drops even lower, causing  special needs children to be trafficked in higher percentages.

This low value of a child’s worth is why tackling trafficking in these nations is so challenging – it takes the entire mindset of a nation to be changed in this area!  God sees each and every child as unique and made in His image, worthy of love and care of protection and we must work to disciple the nations, so that parents do not default to placing a monetary value on the life of their child.

Each and every child is so very, very worth it!!!