Human trafficking victims focus of outreach in Thailand

By October 30, 2006

Thailand (MNN) — Between 600,000 and 800,000 people are trafficked each year around the world. Much of the transnational trafficking is for the growing global commercial sex trade. The problem is a large and growing problem in Thailand, where Mission to Unreach Peoples is working.

MUP missionary Mark Crawford is working in Chiang Mai where they work with people who are at risk of, involved in, or coming out of situations of human trafficking and prostitution. “What we try to do is go out and meet the ladies in the places they work, build relationships with them. We have teams of female staff and volunteers that go out and do that.”

Because prostitution is so widespread in Chiang Mai, the opportunity to minister is great. “Last month we reached out to 240 people in all of our project sites,” says Crawford.

Once their able to share Jesus with these women they respond, just like in Jesus day. “Being in His presence was something that women in His day really enjoyed. And, we find the same thing is true today. They are magnetically attracted to Jesus. Just His kindness and His gentleness really brings so much healing into their lives.”

According to Crawford says they’ve been working with one woman for four years. “She has received Christ. And now, she’s going out and helping other women. She just has such compassion and such desire to help. She’s really making an impact in people’s lives.”

What’s interesting is that despite the fact they’re trying to get people out of prostitution, they haven’t been threatened. “When we have a team of female outreach workers go in, they don’t go in with animosity toward the owner, they also try to reach out and build relationships with the owners. We haven’t experienced any negative side affects,” Crawford says.

Just the opposite has happened. Crawford adds, “We’ve had some owners that have specifically invited us in to come and teach English to all of their ladies or try to encourage their ladies.”

They do have a couple of major requests. “We’re trying to raise up 1,000 prayer partners. So far, we’re about 50-percent toward our goal. Because the only way we can see transformation in people’s lives is through praying for them.”

They also want to open a culinary arts academy. “Tourism is booming here right now,” says Crawford, “And, we want to be able to train them in the hotel and restaurant industry so they can go out and get decent paying jobs so that they’ll never fall back to prostitution again.” They need $25,000 to make that happen.

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