SE Asia (MNN/GFA) — Have you ever wondered what happens to women when a red-light district is shut down?
Gospel for Asia says a woman in Southeast Asia sold her baby out of desperation.
The government had talked for years about clearing out prostitutes like Lakhi from a neighborhood in one Southeast Asia nation. But it wasn't until recently that they actually got serious.
An official notice came the night before the crack-down, saying police would arrive at 7:30 a.m. the next morning to tear down all huts involved in the sex trade. Prostitutes and their children had until then to leave.
Four buses waited to take sex workers to a mental asylum-turned-government rehabilitation center. If sex workers refused to get on these buses, they could return to the lands they'd been trafficked from or be put in prison. Despite their lack of options, no one trusted the authorities enough to climb aboard the buses, and Lakhi wasn't going to lead the way.
Instead, she and thousands of her fellow sex workers fled on foot as the walls of their homes and businesses turned to rubble. Lakhi didn't know where she would get a job or how she would live, much less how she would provide for her daughter.
But by God's grace, Lakhi's baby didn't wind up in the hands of traffickers. Instead, she was purchased by a loving mom named Naavarasi, whose path crossed with Lakhi's on that fateful day.
After agreeing on a price equivalent to $22 USD, or nearly $1,200 rupees, Naavarasi brought the baby girl home and called her Tamanna.
All went well until Naavarasi became ill with stomach issues that caused her to vomit blood. As a day laborer, she didn't earn much; but all four of her children depended on it and she was the family's sole provider. Though Naavarasi belonged to one of the region's traditional religions, the gods she worshipped did nothing to heal her.
When every course of action Naavarasi tried had failed, she was left with only one thing to do: talk with others about her problems. One of those other people happened to be Chahna.
Chahna was a cook at a local GFA-supported Bridge of Hope (BOH) center, and she knew Jesus was the healer Naavarasi needed. She told Naavarasi about Him and invited her to church. As the adoptive mother heard the Gospel for the first time, she decided to embrace God's love for her.
Over time, Naavarasi was healed of her illness. Not only was she able to resume her position as the family's provider, she's raising her children to know the God who saved their family.
Because of Naavarasi's love, Tamanna never had to know the life of pain she was rescued from as a baby. At age 5, she was enrolled in the local BOH, and through the godly examples of Naavarasi and BOH staff, she is learning what it means to be a Christ-follower.
As BOH staff members watch Tamanna's growth, they're encouraged to do more to reach the children of the red-light district. They're even making plans to open another BOH center in the district soon.