One of our outreach workers in Europe shares how building relationships with women who have been trafficked is a vital part of the process of setting them on a path to freedom. Here is how they go about it
‘A beautiful Nigerian lady leads us downstairs. We are heading for the basement. This is where the girls work – entombed in a concrete prison, no windows, little air and no escape. On the stairs I feel a sudden urge to strike up a conversation with the woman – I feel that we might not be allowed to stay for long. I hand her a care package, tell her we are Christians. In the package she has a Bible, a small gift and crisis hotline numbers. Will she even use them? I tell her God loves her.
At the bottom of the stairs, in the dimly lit chamber, sits another Nigerian woman. We talk to the two of them about their lives. They tell us they have only been in the Czech Republic for one month. They are worried about their families back home – the traffickers told them that if they try to leave their families will be killed.
Soon, we are asked to leave but not before we are able to leave more Bibles and gifts for the other women.
In the next brothel we visit, I meet Natalia, a Cezch lady who has had a difficult past. Her father left when she was young, and her mother is not capable of providing, financially or emotionally, for her and her sister. Natalia feels that she has no choice but to work as a prostitute. She carries her parent’s rejection like a heavy weight. We spoke a little. But what was perhaps more important was sitting with her in silence, just being with her, acknowledging her pain. It’s so important that these women know that they are not alone. That someone cares for them and is fighting for them.’
This story is from Helena, an outreach worker supported by The Freedom Challenge, based in The Czech Republic.
Our team here try and visit as many brothels as possible each week in Prague. On the day that they met the Nigerian women and Natalia, they visited six and were allowed into three – a big success.
The team’s heart is to build trust with women who often feel forgotten and overlooked by society. And they want to offer the hope of a way out which is why they make sure each woman receives the crisis hotline numbers; these link to our partner organisations which provide places of safety for women fleeing the sex industry.
It is such a privilege to hear these stories. We are so excited to hear how the funds we raise enable our outreach workers to build relationships, to tell women who may be at the lowest point in their lives how much they are loved, and that they are not forgotten.
But what excites us most at The Freedom Challenge is YOU - the wonderful community of women who share our heart and our passion, who want to make a difference, and who use whatever time or money they have to bring freedom to just some of the 30-million people caught up in modern-day slavery around the world.
You can set more women free by joining us on our hike in Wyoming this July to raise funds, and raise awareness of modern-day slavery.
Or $150 will set one woman on the path to freedom.
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*names have been changed