Preface/Warning: I wrote this entry on my way back from Thailand in February. It’s a true story of my experience when I was face to face with human trafficking. Nothing crazy happened but be warned, it’s intense. It’s not intense because I wrote it, it’s intense because it’s human trafficking. And I hate it. So here’s my story…
“Fear has never played many parts in my life. Although a nightlight was mandatory well into my teen years, I still rarely felt afraid. Maybe believing I was invincible for most of my life was my way of making up for what I lack in body mass. Small girl. Big heart.
The night of my 18th birthday came as a rude awakening to my invincibility. My boyfriend and I started off by taking a walk down the street to get some air and ended up running from a group of vicious guys who punched a tooth out of his mouth. Even though I wasn’t filled with fear, it still shook me up for quite sometime. My discomfort with the dark returned and dangerous scenarios seemed to dance in my mind.
The years have passed and I have experienced much since then. I have discovered that I am, in fact, not invincible. But I still posses a bravery and fearlessness that in some cases might just be foolishness. Either way, in the moment, I think I ” know” what I’m doing.
I am standing with my three friends in front of a building in Bangkok, Thailand. There are some stairs on the right side that go down into a bar. Girls who appear to be prostitutes are standing at the top of the stairs. They look as if they have no agenda other than watching all the happenings of the city while they wait for the next customer. My friends and I prepare ourselves and instruct each other to walk down the stairs and not let anyone stop us. Ready. Set. Go.
The door to the bar is locked and it appears as if it is close. I supposed that’s what the people at the top of the stairs were trying to tell us. A man walks up, unlocks the door and let’s us in. There are very few people in here. We walk over to the two prostitutes sitting at a booth. They speak very little English so we decide our best bet is to see where those stairs lead to. We climb up two flights of stairs, walk around a corner, and are faced by hallways with numbered doors much like hotel rooms. It’s incredibly quiet up here. There are cameras at the end of each hallway. My friends are nervous and anytime I walk down a hallway ahead of them they say my name multiple times.
We find the stairs and climb one more flight when we’re stopped by a cage-like door with a lock blocking our way to the next floor. I push on it and it swings open. It’s unlocked. We rush up the stairs to more hallways with more numbered doors. Silence fills the air. It’s strangely dim. Almost creepy.
I walk down the hallways looking at these numbered doors and discover metal rings on the outside of the doors. I wiggle my finger through the two rings and tell my friends that I’m guessing things are for locks.
Walking down to the very end of a hallway, my friends nervously stay back and are muttering things to each other. I don’t remember anything they said. Ignoring my name being called a few times out of anxiousness, I continue down the hallway where there are clothes and things outside of the hallways. People live here.
Facing a numbered door, I stare at an object that makes every fiber in my body what to scream. A lock. The door is locked. The door is locked from the outside. It’s not some fancy lock or a lock that you usually see on a door. This is the kind that you lock up a bike with or a cage. This is the kind that you purposefully put there to keep something in. Not for safety but for possession.
My insides are screaming. I’ve been told about these rooms with the locks and now I am standing directly in front of one. Behind these doors are little girls who have been taken captive for the purpose of men to come and use them as they please. My friends call for me again and this is the first time I feel as if I might outwardly explode. I want to beat this stupid door down. I can’t stop seeing the little girls in my head. I can stop thinking of ways to rescue them. My mind is racing with a million scenes and my sweet little girls that I just want to take home. I notice that I am talking to myself. Or maybe to God. I keep saying that I just want my baby girl. I want her home with me. I want to rescue her. I can’t leave her here.
This is not the only door with a lock. There are a few on each level we explore. We get to a level, walk down a hallway and see another cage-like door but this time it’s blocking a small hallway. I shake it to find that it’s locked. There are two doors behind this thing and I can see that people definitely live here. Well, let me rephrase that: Beautiful girls are definitely locked behind this cage and exist here while men come and pay to rape them. This is so wrong.
Everything’s fuzzy now. My friends are pushing to leave, telling me that we’re just going to find the same things on each floor. I don’t care. I strangely don’t want to leave. But at the same time I want to be as far away as possible. All I know is that I don’t want to leave my babies.
I finally give in and we start to make our way back. I can’t remember what floor we started on or what hallway we went down. Oh, this is the way. We head down more stairs, turn down this corner, and walk towards the stairs that take us back to where we started. The further we get from the doors, the more I have the urge to turn around and sprint back up. I keep walking.
We’re back in the seemingly normal bar. But no, this is no normal bar. This is where the men come and pay to rape girls. Little girls.
I open the door to exit the bar, walk up the stairs, and I am in front of the building that girls are trafficked in. No body walking by, in the building, or even in the rest of city has any idea. My throat tightens from the urge to scream at every person around me to tell them what their ignorant brains don’t know. No longer am I ignorant. No longer can I keep quiet and stay still.
I go numb. Or maybe blank. Angry or upset doesn’t cover it. Neither does sad. I feel as if my heart goes ten stories deep. There is a hole that goes all the way to the bottom. Going down passes sadness and anger. Next comes pain, rage and numbness. Sitting at the bottom of the pit in my heart is an excruciating ache for my baby girl, for freedom, for healing to oceanic (titanic, immense, massive)brokenness that is swarming around me.
The rest of the night is a blur. It would be useless to talk to me because I can’t function. I can’t explain what I think or what I feel. Headphones in. I distract myself with a game. I wish I could just sleep and escape this world. Guilt floods my soul as I realize that she’s the one trapped and being raped daily.
What am I going to do?
What the heck am I going to do?!
I will come and get you. You are not alone and you are not forgotten. You are worth far more than you could ever imagine and one day you will know it by the way you are loved by me, daddy, and Jesus. I know you are scared and hurting. Take heart. Hold onto hope and never let it go. Your Papa God is with you. He will rescue you. He has never ever left your side. I will bring you home, my sweet little princess.
I love you so much!!