The other night Ruth and I were walking home. It was late, maybe 9 or 9:30, which means that it’s quite dark. It also means that there are many women standing along the street working as prostitutes. No matter how many times I see this, no matter how many statistics I read and memorize, no matter how many of these women I meet it never gets easier – my heart breaks every time.

But this night was different. We walked right by two girls who were standing and waiting for customers. I call them girls, because that’s what they were. One of them couldn’t have been older than 14. 14 years old. Imagine that. Imagine what that does to that girl. It’s awful. My heart broke. But it was so much harder when I looked into her eyes as we passed. She was frightened and scared. She didn’t even know who she was and yet she had to sell herself to someone else. Her eyes were piercing. They cut right through me. Her eyes screamed for help. For someone to give her a hand and help her out of this mess. I felt as if she was saying to me “Please, please don’t hire me right now. Please, please save me. Please, please I need some help.” All within 2 seconds.

Looking into someone eyes is a powerful thing. This had me pretty distraught for the rest of the night. And it still messes me up when I think about it. I don’t know anything about this girl. I don’t know her name. Where she was born. I don’t know what circumstances led her to sell her body. All I know is that her eyes spoke of so much fear and uncertainty. Here she was being forced into womanhood without even knowing what a childhood is like.

We have got to do something about this problem. It is such a huge problem here in Ethiopia (not to mention around the world) and it is awful. I wish I could put into words just how dire these circumstances are, just how much help is needed. But I can’t, the problem is too big for any words that I know. We need to do something. We need to help these girls. We need to show them love and friendship. We need to help them get out of this mess.

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