Cal Thomas has a moving article about a missionary couple who are trying to help the prostitutes of Bangkok break out of what is all too often their literal enslavement. Here's an excerpt.
Prostitution has been illegal in Thailand since 1960, but the Thailand Government Public Health Department estimates there are 75,000 prostitutes in the country. Some nongovernment organizations put the figure much higher. "Sexual tourists" come here, their visits set up by travel agents, as if they were booking people for a cruise or a trip to the beach. The newspapers constantly rail against corrupt officials who tolerate the sex trade and turn a blind eye to exploited women.
Into this den of iniquity have come Bonita and Roy Thompson, two Christian missionaries. Eight years ago they gave up careers as California educators to come to a place where they make less money and receive little notice.
Their payment comes in the lives of those girls they are able to save from a life of prostitution. Their ministry is called Home of New Beginnings (http://www.homeofnewbeginnings.com/home.htm)
At a Christmas party they give annually for the "bar girls," more than 200 prostitutes show up to play games like musical chairs and to hear a message from a former prostitute who tells her story of redemption, offering them a new life if they will only trust God.
A few respond. One is called "Nim," not her real name. Nim says she was abandoned by her mother and later sold by an opportunistic "auntie" to a couple who needed her to care for their aging parents. Nim says her work proved unsatisfactory and she was sold again to a bar where she was forced into prostitution.
When the Thompsons rescued her they took her to a doctor who estimated her age at 11 or 12. She had no formal schooling, but they tutored her and she is now in a regular school. Nim recently received a "character pin" from the oldest daughter of Thailand's king in recognition of her changed life and academic success.
The rescued girls live in housing run by the Thompsons. They receive an allowance that partially compensates them for lost earnings. Many send portions of their allowances to family, which they used to do with their income from prostitution.
"One of our girls," says Bonita, "is in her senior year at a university, studying chemical engineering. She is currently interning with a company that expects to hire her upon graduation. Another is in her senior year in textile design and has been selected by one of the top designers in Thailand to work with him on a project."
There's more at the link.
This Christmas, let's remember that millions of people are literally enslaved - bought and sold as chattels, forced into prostitution, exploited in sweatshops and factories. For them, Christmas Day is just another to endure, rather than a special celebration.
Spare a thought and a prayer for them, if you would . . . and perhaps something more concrete, if you know a charity you trust to help them. I recommend the Salvation Army from personal experience. Your help may make this a merrier Christmas for someone.