Spiritual bondage in the sex trade

By September 9, 2016

India (MNN) – We’re well aware of the role that poverty plays in the existence of human trafficking. But what might be harder for us to understand is the bondage in the heart and mind that accompanies it.

Photo courtesy of Vision Beyond Borders.

Photo courtesy of Vision Beyond Borders.

Mickala Schmidt of Vision Beyond Borders recently returned from a trip to the red-light district in Mumbai, India. She and a small team met up with their ministry contact to reach out to women who are caught in sex-trafficking.
Schmidt says, “It was a real blessing to be able to go and speak with these women. The first day we were there we went and we prayer-walked through the red light district.”
Due to monsoon rains, the district was fairly empty the first day the team visited. This meant they were able to move freely and talk to more of the women.
Schmidt says she was surprised by the reaction they received. The women were not cold, mean, or bitter about their situation. Instead, they welcomed the team cheerfully.
“So many of them wanted prayer, they just wanted us to pray for them and to love on them. It was a truly amazing experience.”

Vision Beyond Borders says the women are looked at with little value. (Photo courtesy of Vision Beyond Borders.)

Vision Beyond Borders says the women are looked at with little value. (Photo courtesy of Vision Beyond Borders.)

There’s an explanation for why the group was greeted so warmly. Vision Beyond Border works with a contact who has been ministering to these women for about 20 years. Not only does she help them leave the sex trade, but she introduces them to Jesus. And because her love for these women is so evident, she is well-respected and loved by them. She exemplifies the love of Christ by the way she treats them, meeting them where they’re at.
Schmidt says, “A lot of them do act like the walking dead. They are very depressed and they go through many mental issues. But when she brings this love of Christ with her, it’s just extraordinary how it changes them. As soon as they see her, their eyes literally brighten up. It’s the neatest thing, I think, I’ve ever seen.”
This program with Vision Beyond Borders offers the women an alternative to trafficking. When they’re ready to come out of trafficking, the contact takes them to a safe home for protection. Here they will learn a skilled trade to be able to support themselves.
They are also brought to a Church to learn more about Jesus.
Ready to leave
Some people might be confused by the idea that the women have to be ready to leave the sex-trade. But the truth is, there are quite a few things holding them back. The most obvious is money. These women are led to believe that they owe the brothel owners and pimps money.
The leaders of the sex-trade have so thoroughly broken their spirits to the point where they won’t fight back or argue or run away. It’s hard to reverse that.
But there is another factor that keeps them there which can only be broken by Jesus.
Schmidt explains, “In the Hindi culture, they believe that they’re punished to this lifestyle in the red-light district—sex trafficking—because of karma, that they deserve it and if they submit to it, that they’ll have a better next life.”
But when they hear the message of Jesus, everything changes. They realize he loves them no matter what they’ve done, and that they don’t need to pay for their mistakes through a life of misery and sin.
This is one of the countless ways the Gospel is freeing lost souls around the world.
Giving them a chance
Once the women are brought to the safe house, a whole new world opens up to them.
“So we set them up with new skills, counseling if they need it, and just provide them with a new life that they can go to.”
Many of the women who’ve been rescued now work in a salon in the red-light district where they can share the message of hope of Jesus, and also begin to offer other women a way out. They build trust and relationships with them.
Others have gone back to their families to bring them the Gospel.
Schmidt has been passionate about helping women in sex-trafficking since she was little. It was a great encouragement to be able to go on this trip.

You can buy bracelets from women in the red-light district from some of the poorest areas in the world. (Photo courtesy of Vision Beyond Borders).

You can buy bracelets from women in the red-light district from some of the poorest areas in the world. (Photo courtesy of Vision Beyond Borders).

She says, “It really does just fire up your hearts once you see the way Jesus is miraculously changing these women and transforming their hearts in him. And it just makes me want to keep doing what I’m doing and keep ministering to women through Vision Beyond Borders.”

Pray, give, go 

There are multiple ways you can be helping support Vision Beyond Border’s Vision for Women. First of all, you can pray. There is a prayer guide specifically on this subject which you can find here.

“If people can just continue to pray that God’s love will shine through in this dark place in these red-light districts, and that women will continue to experience his love and healing, that would just be the biggest blessing, I think, that they could give these girls.”
You can also support the work financially here. Also, you can support women in Nepal who have escaped the sex-trade by buying a bracelet from them through Etsy. Check it out here.

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