High-res version

Recently as I ate dinner outside a café in one Cambodia’s most tourist focused areas I was approached by a tuk-tuk driver parked on the curve. Usually when my wife and I are in the are, we are hassled by countless drivers all keen secure our business, however as I sat there with two ale companions on this occasion the driver did not offer us a ride home. Instead he disclosed in detail where we could go to have sex with young Vietnamese girls. “Air-conditioned rooms” he says, “all Vietnamese” he stresses. “How old?” I reply, fishing for information, “18…no 17 years old…very, very young sir.” he answers.

The conversation didn’t continue much longer before we had had enough and left, but the question remains- How does a building’s worth of 17-year-old Vietnamese girls end up in Cambodia’s capitol Phnom Penh awaiting the next tuk-tuk full Western men to have sex with them? This is in a country where institutionalized brothels are supposedly illegal.

I feel like my perspective on human trafficking changes almost daily. Some days the creative wickedness and sheer magnitude of the issue I am confronted with leaves me with a great understanding of why God just wanted to wipe the earth in the days of Noah. What short of a flood could fix this international monstrosity? On the other days, as I enter our SHE Home and see a host of indescribably beautiful smiles, I am infected with joy from the inside out. What short of a miracle could restore a smile stolen forever. Nothing. To me the girls in our care are living miracles. Testaments to the true, redemptive love of a saviour.

That I am here in Cambodia to experience both sides of human trafficking is also a miracle. I have never been a great listener, and even worse at obeying the things I do hear. But at this moment there is no doubt in my mind that my wife and I have heard God’s call and for at least once in our life, we obeyed. Every time our SHE girls can see what a man’s heart looks like. one that will do anything to protect them, will fight for their security, and longs for their happiness is priceless. Even more, when they see my wife and I together and witness first hand that marriage is not abusive, self-centered or unequal, God speaks louder than we ever could with words.

My final thoughts are this- Human trafficking is one of the most degrading, ungodly, disgraceful and complex issues we humans have ever conceived. To think that someone can claim ownership over another and force them to do thins they wouldn’t even ask of an animal is beyond my understanding. Furthermore, to think that young western men, such as myself are playing a massive role in creating the demand breaks my heart. However as I read my bible, and look through history, it is clear that we humans have never fallen short of finding ourselves in a mess. And God has never fallen short of providing an answer. Regardless of my ever changing perspective on human trafficking, I know that He has a plan. My hope is that many more will hear their role in the plan and perhaps for just once in their life, obey.

Dave and Hayley