Everyone has a limit. I pray for those who have not yet found theirs that they never will, for when it is reached, in most cases, the majority of humans will do things they truly do not want to do. Throughout the world, poverty is the lever that drives people to such desperation. However it is not poverty alone that causes the worst things. Those require people willing to exploit desperation to their own advantage. No matter what brought them to that state, such behavior can really only be called for what it is. Evil. One manifestation of this combination of factors is when people sell their children.
Throughout my time in Southeast Asia, I have seen all levels of this trade. From the poor villages where prostitutes and slave workers come from, to the high rises and pleasure districts where no one sees the workers living like rats in the foundations or the pain in the eyes of the boys, girls, women and men for that matter who never wanted to be there. In between these two places are fields of abuse, lies, suffering and broken dreams.
Being confronted with a system of exploitation so large, so powerful, and so degrading, pushes many to another kind of desperation, that of giving up hope. This is until you meet them. This more than anything makes it clear that confronting this is not about nameless suffering masses, but about that one girl, that one boy. It’s about that one man on the job sight who is only paid in beatings because he isn’t a citizen and has no rights. It’s about that one bar girl who was sold by her drug addicted father when she was 14 and now is very good at giving the impression she likes foreign men putting their hands all over her. It’s about that one kid on the street selling flowers to profit her owner when she should be in school. It’s about that one boy begging so he can give what he makes to some gang and maybe get enough to eat today. Soon it is hard to think of them as them, but rather as one of our own, as in fact they are.
Do one good thing for just one of these and you have already changed the world for the better.
For this I am thankful for the chance to do all we have done with Chala and his peoples in Tak province and to all those who have made it possible. However small your actions may seem, your partnership has kept children off the street, out of the hands of pimps and free from slavery. We all look forward to working side by side as we expand to change ever more lives and set ever more captives free. The light does indeed shine in the darkness and the darkness shall not overcome it.