Ruth’s moving story highlights exactly what life can be like for a young woman who has been trafficked into Europe. But our faithful outreach teams play a vital role in making a difference to these women’s lives. Here’s how…
Ruth* is always standing at her corner of the street, waiting for customers, when our team comes to visit at night.
She has a smile on her face and shares a few polite words with the team. She accepts what we offer her, whether it is tea, biscuits, handwarmers, or an Easter or Christmas gift. She will reply vaguely to our conversation without ever giving anything personal away – and then she makes it very clear that the interaction is over.
This has happened almost every week for six years.
One night, after praying for meaningful opportunities, our team went on outreach to the streets of Athens as usual.
Ruth was at her corner, and accepted her tea and biscuits, and was about to turn away… then she turned back and, suddenly, the flood gates opened. Out poured the story of her home in West Africa, of being brought out of her country, finding herself pregnant, brought to Greece, put on the streets, of being hurt and scared, missing her child, being attacked by abusive customers. We were amazed at God’s answer to prayer. After six years of being politely shut out, we were able to speak truth into Ruth’s life.
The following week, and the weeks to come, Ruth retreated back into herself and put her mask back on. We continued to pray for her more specifically because we knew better what she was struggling with. A few months later, we were on the streets one night when she was very distressed by something that had happened – she felt able to bring her fear and grief to us and ask for our help and to pray for her.
This isn’t a story with a happy ending – yet! But God is working, slowly, quietly, in his own time. We haven’t reached the final chapter. We are trusting him with Ruth.
Trafficking in Athens
There are over 300 brothels in Athens, as well as studios, hotels and stretches of open road filled with thousands of victims of trafficking. Nearly 40,000 women and children are trafficked into Greece each year from Eastern Europe, Africa, and Asia. These young women are often lured to Athens with the promise of a job. Some are sold into trafficking by family members. Others are manipulated into the work by men they consider their romantic partners.
Our partner project in Greece provides a 24-7 helpline and they have a network of people who can offer help as it is requested – in the form of doctors’ visits, language lessons, or shelter and support to enable woman to escape forced prostitution.
How you can make a difference
It is for women like Ruth that we are taking on our Grand Canyon Wilderness Backpacking Challenge in just over one week. Your support could bring much needed shelter, rescue, or just simply someone to talk and pray with, to let them know how deeply they are loved by their heavenly Father.
Will you help us reach more women like Ruth? You can donate today!
*Name changed to protect identity