The other day I took some friends through Kirkos, the red light district where our project is focused. We walked through on foot during the day time. There were little kids running around laughing and playing. There was a general hustle and bustle of people doing various things. And there were women all over selling their bodies. As we walked further into the neighborhood, a few of them were asking if we wanted their services. Most of them were just surprised to see a few white people walking through that neighborhood.
We came back in a car a few hours later to see how the place changes at night. During the day there is at least some other business going on in that neighborhood, but come nightfall there is little else happening except commercial sex work. Nearly every door has a young girl standing there, waiting for a customer to arrive. The few doorways which didn’t have a girl standing in front had a curtain drawn across the doorway, signalling that she was currently with a customer. There were girls who looked like they had barely hit puberty. Most of the girls couldn’t have been older than early teens.
We saw guys walking all around too, looking at each of the girls – apparently waiting until they saw one that they would be interested in hiring. We pulled the car over and stopped for a while, which gave us the chance to see how this business actually works. Right across the road from us were a few of the houses which these women work out of. These houses are very tiny, barely able to fit a twin sized bed. The women have to pay a lot of money and they have to pay daily. If they don’t, their possessions will be taken by the landlord. Some of the houses have doors – most do not – but they are never closed. These women are available 24 hours a day.
So, there we were, sitting in a car across the street. As we pulled up, we saw two houses – one with a girl standing outside and one with the curtain closed. We waited there for about 10 or 15 minutes. In that time, we saw a girl come out of the house with a closed curtain and go back inside with another man after just a few minutes. The other girl took a customer inside her house. The man came out after a few minutes and she stayed inside to wash up. As soon as she came outside she began joking with her friends and trying to get another customer. It was as if nothing happened, no big deal.
One after another. That’s how these girls live. Getting paid about a dollar per customer. No hope of making a better life for themselves. Many times, the girls don’t even imagine that there could be a better option. They have given up and assume that this is what their life will be like until they die.
I’ve visited this red light district a number of times. I know what they get paid and how much they pay in rent. I’ve memorized the whole awful situation. But none of it prepares me to see it the next time. Every time I see the way they are living or hear their stories, it breaks my heart. What a difficult and hopeless life they live. I can’t even imagine.
It can be easily overwhelming. There are thousands of girls working like this in just this one red light district and there are a number of other areas like this around the city. But the work has to start somewhere, it has to start with someone.
Helping even one lady get out of this life has exponential impact. It means that her daughter won’t need to grow up and sell her body just to survive. It means that her family, through the generations, can contribute a lot to the world. These people have just as much potential as anyone else, each and every one of them could change the world. But, if they are never given that chance, if they continue to be stuck in the sick cycle of this red light district, then we will never know what could have been.
Please consider partnering with us and helping to bring hope to these women. $30 helps us to start getting a woman out of prostitution, $16 helps us to get a child in school. Or, you could give to our coffee shop fund. We are trying to open a coffee shop with which to be able to hire these women and bring real, long lasting change in their lives. If you are interested in giving to the coffee shop fund, please make a note of that on your check or in the Paypal donation.
It is only with your help that we are able to do any of this. Thank you.