When Eden Outreach team discovered a new red-light district in the city, they were shocked at how young the girls looked and the conditions they were forced to live in. To access one of the larger brothels, team members weaved their way into a back alley behind a truck stop and up two flights of stairs. Behind a locked door was a small hallway with several cubicle sized rooms where girls were locked in at night. Other girls were kept in a larger room upstairs. When a customer arrives, all the girls must stand up for his inspection.
Who can know what they think in these moments… if a customer chooses them, they have to be with him. Yet if they are not chosen all night, they must pay a fine to the brothel owner. This fine is roughly ⅓ of an average day’s wage and gets added to the debts the girls are already working off at the brothel. Whether sold into the brothel for their own debt or for someone else’s profit, they remain hopelessly enslaved through this system.
This was the impossible situation that Enzali had found herself in when, from her hiding place behind a car, she unexpectedly locked eyes with an Outreach team member. She happened to be out on the street for the first time in many months due to the arrest of her brothel owner for another crime. Usually, captive behind so many padlocks and standing in line for each customer’s entrance, Enzali recognized that a moment of hope had arrived.
She had been looking for a job at the bus station when a rickshaw driver said he could employ her as a masseuse. Instead, he took her to a brothel where she was trapped for the next seven months. We gave her an exit strategy, stealthily wrote our phone number on some ripped paper, and sneaked it into her tiny hand. Two days later, Enzali called from a taxi with another trafficking victim alongside her! Her friend had been trapped in the same padlocked brothel for a year but heard Eden’s message of hope through Enzali and courageously escaped with her.
Arriving with only the clothing on their backs, the girls received a welcome pack of new clothes and living essentials. After several months of trauma counseling for PTSD, they are making great progress in their healing journey.
When you choose hope, anything is possible.
While hopelessness thrives in the trafficking hubs where Eden does weekly Outreach, it is also in these places that hope has the most power. The Promises of Hope Collection was inspired by the power of hope to declare new beginnings, possibilities, opportunities, and dreams. Our greatest wish is that this collection will remind you of the power hope has to overcome darkness and break the chains that hold us captive – both for rescued women like Enzali and each of us on our own journey of healing.