Soi Cowboy is part of the Red Light District in Bangkok Thailand. It covers about a city block and employs well over 3,000 women. This street caters to the Westerners. As I was walking down the street, the men were watching me but I guess that was fair play since I was watching them.
I met a young woman who said she was 20 but there was no way she was a day over 15. Her hair was in french braids and she wore a bikini. I watched her face as she talked to Kay the Director of Samaritan Creations. As she spoke, I noticed her eyes and hands. She had the mannerisms of a very young girl. We invited her to come to a banquet we were having on Wednesday night. She wanted to come but was very afraid of her father. He wanted to make sure she worked as much as she could.
I met another young woman who had aspirations of starting her own business selling clothes. “I am only going to do this until I can save enough money to open my business.” She has been working at that bar 1 year and had not saved a cent. She said she needed to make at least 500 baht a night. I started to tear up, that is only $16.50 a night. I wanted to reach in my wallet and just hand her the money and tell her to go home.
I could tell you story after story of the young women we met. Of the lost look in their eyes as they waited for men to choose them, each of them wearing a number pinned to their bikini top. We bought women drinks so we could have the opportunity to talk to them and build relationship. We learned their names and heard their story. It became personal and they were so hungry to tell their story and just be known.
Seeing what I saw was overwhelming because I can’t unsee what I just saw and I can’t ignore what I now know. For me, things cannot remain the same. So I wait. For what? For God’s next assignment.