Over the last year I’ve really been burdened by the amount of women who are being trafficked.
Some women enter by choice as they are in desperate situations needing financial income. Others have been kidnapped, drugged, and forced into prostitution. Each woman then becomes enslaved to a horrid life.
My heart hurts for these women and the hopelessness they must feel.
During my time in Ethiopia the awful reality of human trafficking hit me hard.
These women live in “tent” homes at the base of the Trash Mountain.
Sadly, most of the women are being abused and misused through human trafficking.
Let me introduce you to Workhe (pronounced Work-A) a precious woman who is in BHDO’s program for pregnant women.
Workhe lives in Korah in a tent home. She is a single women with a three-year old son and had just given birth to a daughter three weeks prior to our visit.
When we entered her home, we went in a few at a time because of the very limited space.
Workhe solemnly sat crossed legged on her mattress.
Her son sat quietly beside her, no toys, books, or electronics near him for entertainment.
Two of my team members sat on either side of Workhe on the mattress laying on the floor.
Three of us sat on a small bench in front of the mattress.
Our translator and two others hunched in the doorway as there was no room for anyone else to fit in her home.
As we introduced ourselves she showed no emotion and made very little eye contact.
We learned that Workhe was a prostitute who had been raped and became pregnant.
Her “pimp” put her up in this “home” until she could heal from the birth of the baby and get back to “work.”
Workhe told us she despised being a prostitute but had been abandoned by her father, step mother, and the father of her son.
Workhe did not receive an education and is not able to read and write, she is 28 years old.
These events left her no choices for survival or providing for her son so she had to work as a prostitute.
Her story touched my heart deeply and I shared some of my story of childhood abuse with her.
For the first time she looked at me. Our hearts connected and I saw a look in her eyes that seemed to say; “You understand my pain?”
I shared with Workhe that we came from America and wanted to meet her to let her know that God has not forgotten her and He is our hope.
I shared the gospel with her and she told the translator she believed and wanted, in her words, “TO REPENT!”
I was so shocked by her readiness that I asked, “Right now? Right now she wants to repent and receive Christ as her Savior?”
The answer was YES!
So, right there in her tiny space we prayed and Workhe was born again!
It was a very precious and holy moment. For the first time we saw Workhe smile and we all celebrated with her!
Later, we found out the next members of our team went in to visit and they named Workhe’s daughter!
It’s Ethiopian custom for mothers to not name their babies right away and to later allow someone they respect to name the child.
We named her Sarah!
On our last day in Ethiopia we were able to visit Workhe again!
We brought her gifts of food, clothing, a ball for Daniel, and a blanket for Sarah.
When we arrived she greeted us with a new countenance!
She truly looked peaceful, there was life in her eyes and lots of smiles on her and Daniel’s faces!
We gave the traditional cheek to cheek hugs and sat to visit.
Workhe excitedly spoke first saying, “Since you came last time I have had hope!”
Wow! How could one short visit change her life?
Of course, we told her this hope she feels is from her born again relationship with Jesus, but I couldn’t help being in awe that one small act of kindness could impact the heart of a hopeless woman so much.
We laughed and enjoyed our visit so much!
Over and over Workhe said “Thank you, I’m so thankful!”
It was hard to leave when our time was over.
After meeting Workhe I realize these women need us, the Body of Christ, to step up and defend the oppressed.
We are called to be a part of their solution, of their story.
It’s not enough to only tell about God’s love and how He hasn’t forgotten them, we have to show God’s love.
Accepting others and providing all that we can to help allows the oppressed to begin to dream again.
This hope allows them to think about a life where they are able to raise their children and make choices they feel good about too!
God laid it on my heart, along with another team member, that we should sponsor Workhe and her children.
I’m not sharing this to boast, but to encourage.
Because of this small commitment, Workhe will not have to return to a lifestyle of prostitution in order to provide for her family!
I am completely humbled that God allowed us to meet Workhe and to be a part of helping her have hope and take a step towards restoring her dignity!
Our commitment to sponsor Workhe allows BHDO to move forward in finding her and her children a decent place to stay.
They will provide her with food and will meet with her weekly to help her grow in her Christian walk!
BDHO will also look for schooling to help Workhe learn to read and write.
I know we can’t “rescue” all, but we can reach them one by one and be the extension of God’s unfailing love.
Would you pray and consider doing something to help women and children who are afflicted, needy, and oppressed?
“Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all the unfortunate. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the afflicted and needy.” Proverbs 31:8
There are many ways to be a part of restoring dignity to others.
Christian organizations are doing it one by one.
Not everyone will be called to “go”, some are called to stay and pray, and others are called to give.
The needs are across the world and…..in our own backyard.
Here is a list of organizations I’m familiar with that are ministering to women and children who are oppressed:
Pregnancy Help Centers listed above are Christ centered and get in the trenches to help women and men facing unplanned pregnancies. During the time I spent serving at our local center I was able to see that these ministries are helping to break cycles of unhealthy lifestyles and parenting.
Man Up and Go is a registered 501(c)3 Christian nonprofit ministry domiciled in Missouri with global operations focused on fighting for the fatherless. They are a network of husbands, fathers, brothers, wives, mothers, and sisters all devoted to sharing the love of Jesus with orphaned children, single mothers, and men throughout the world. Ultimately, they want to see LESS ORPHANS, MORE FAMILIES in the geographic areas in which we serve.