by Jillian, a Project Rescue worker—Here I was, sitting on the bed with the brothel Madam, swapping tales of report cards and holiday treats, laughing at the girlish antics of the one who had made both our lives come full circle. She reminded me how she had brought her young daughter, to our aftercare home, determined that daughter grow up with a different story, living out a better life. This same woman who commanded the other girls to “get back to work” had made sure another girl received the chance to go to school, to learn English and computer skills, to get as far away from the white-washed tombs hiding in the eyes of the brothel workers as possible.
I, with my rescue, and she, with her “business,” had found a little bridge to connect the chasm between us. Tentatively, we began to walk along that bridge, makeshift steps and all.
What I learned that day last spring was pretty simple, really. Whether I am sitting in front of my computer screen or sitting on a bed in a brothel, I can’t slap a one-size-fits-all label on to others. I can no longer pretend that I am capable of measuring the unseen oceans within them. Mothers want the same things for their children. Whether we are sipping luxury from a white suburban spoon or engaged body and soul in the atrocities that even a dingy curtain cannot hide, we want something more for our children.
I saw unspeakable darkness in the border town brothel that day. Its palpable grip choked my expectations and what I thought I knew about ministering to the exploited. I also saw, and inhaled in short steady doses, the reality that Light and Hope can live there, too. There is a Madam, now a friend and ally, working with my team and me to see that same Light push the darkness back a little further. I can’t help but believe that His Light is also warming her from the inside out in the process.