Sometimes I cry for them on my way home for work because there is simply nothing else to do but hold the stories they’ve shared and grieve for what they’ve endured and the injustice of it all. They are worth crying for when their own tears have long since given way to the shrug of acceptance. I also cry for how brave they are – how they continue to get back on their feet setback after setback, under the weight of pressures that would incapacitate me.
Sometimes people ask what it is like spending time in brothels with trafficking victims when I am powerless to do anything about it. This is it. It feels like a choice to love and a choice to give whatever I do have, even if it is only an offer to walk through the valley of the shadows alongside. I do it because the women and girls that I encounter are worthy of being loved. They are worth crying for when things do not turn out like I wanted.
Everything her traffickers did for her, providing food, clothing, and the bed she slept on or paying for her bus ticket to Bali, became a debt. And until she pays it off she cannot not leave the brothel premises. She hasn’t been outside the gate in four months.