It’s daytime and for now you’re safe with us.
We want nothing from you other than
to have you hear that you are precious and
more valuable than you believe. Please trust
this to be true. I know the cruel unjust
nights you must spend to send money home can
obscure this truth as fast as the nameless man
who uses you to feed his aimless lust.
And he is like the plastic Christmas tree
in the corner, its lime-green candy sheen
shines awkwardly, a patchwork of crowded
swirl-bunches of thin film sheets mounted
into a mound as unlike a fragrant noble fir
as he is from the young prince you deserve.
I have just returned from Cambodia where a team of us from our church had the privilege of reaching out to "entertainment workers" in Phnom Penh's red light district, hoping to be messengers of dignity and hope in the degrading and inhumane world of consumer sex. Young women are forced into this line of work due to a combination of factors: extreme poverty, family expectations, cultural acceptance, limited economic options. Many are lured by false pretenses. Many are trafficked and held against their will. We were inspired by visionary organizations such as Precious Women, Daughters of Cambodia, and Hagar working with these women to provide income alternatives, education, counseling, trauma care, and community support.