Freedom

» Posted by on Sep 25, 2013 in Thailand Mission Trip | Comments Off

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What do you think of when you hear the word “freedom?” Does it inspire patriotic thoughts? Does it remind you of a war you fought in? Do you think of your family? Does it remind you of a song, movie or book? Or something completely different?

When I hear “freedom” I can’t help but think of the colors red, white, and blue. That used to be all I thought of when I heard the word. However, now I think of more. I think of women, girls, lots and lots of them, in Thailand and elsewhere.

I think of what Bangkok looks like after dark, I hear the sounds and see the flashing lights. I smell the variety of smells, and feel the bodies bumping against me as I make my way down the crowded street and try not to lose my group.

I open my eyes and I’m there, my feet are moving and my heart thumping. I see girls lining both sides of the street and beckoning us to enter the many clubs. I look into their many faces and in many of them I see children. I see my Nieces. In other faces I see my older sisters.

My breath catches in my throat as I momentarily lose sight of my group and am swallowed by the crowd. I stand on the tips of my toes, trying to see. I push past men to return to my group. Men, tourists, here for a good time. I look back at the girl’s faces and wonder how many of them were forced into this, drugged, tricked, how many are captives, how many have no future, how many are indebted beyond relief.

HOW MANY? My heart yells, my mind answers…MANY… MOST. I follow my group into a bar and we take our seats. Its a small place with one row of benches facing the dancers. More men, old and young. Enjoying the show and getting their money’s worth.

My ears begin to ache from the loud music and my eyes burn from holding back tears. My stomach tightens. Our waitress takes our order. I wish I could speak to her. Ask her more than for a coke. But I can’t. She doesn’t speak English and I don’t speak Thai. We are two worlds about to collide…but never will, that wall will never be breached. I will never know the truth behind her sparkles, makeup, and smile. I’ll never know.

I blink away tears and when my eyes reopen I’m somewhere completely different. I’m on a plane heading back to America, the land of freedom and opportunity. I’m heading back to the people who pay no attention to the truth of trafficking. Who have never seen it. To them it’s a word. To me its a nightmare. My thumping heart yells on the silent plane “That could have been me!”

These experiences opened my eyes to evils I didn’t know existed. To learn more about trafficking visit http://www.stopthetraffik.org/.

It’s not just in Thailand, it’s in our country as well.