Escaping Southeast Asia’s Red-Light District

By Send Relief Staff

Along the Asia Rim, modern-day slavery still runs rampant.

Tourists, businessmen and locals alike throng to the red-light districts week after week, and it is telling that even amid a global pandemic, this industry continues to thrive.

In one main human trafficking hub, women from the community have few education opportunities and little knowledge of vocational skills, so many have turned to working the streets in order to provide for their children. Most have never heard the name of Jesus.

Send Relief was able to build and develop an employment center that has had 10 women successfully graduate this past year, encouraging them to leave the sex trade and equipping them to make a sustainable income in the long term. “Ten” may not sound like a big number to a lot of us, but it is representative of ten lives saved from lifelong slavery. Ten souls given the hope of the cross in their darkest nights of the soul. And ten women who have broken generational, repetitive cycles of abuse and poverty in their families.

It is no less than a miracle.

One of the graduates, Dewi*, had lived for five decades in this system of exploitation. She shared, “I was happy in my younger life but, after having four children, my husband began to beat me. I fled my family and came to the city to work when a friend offered me a job, but the job was not [what was promised.] I began to work as a prostitute. One day when I went home to visit my children, my husband wouldn’t let me see them because I was an immoral woman. I cried all the way back to the city.”

Dewi was left with no place to live, so she spent the next two weeks sleeping on the streets. Then, she met a man who claimed to care about her and her plight. She was elated at the thought of another chance at love and a safe place to rest her head at night.

Her new partner, however, ended up being a “john,” forcing her to sell herself to pad his pockets. If she refused, he would beat Dewi within an inch of consciousness until she consented to go out again. Soon, the physical assaults became a daily occurrence, regardless of whether she obeyed or not. Dewi tried to run away multiple times over the next year, but it took becoming pregnant to give her the courage to pack up and leave for good.

With only her knowledge of the red-light district and its ways of earning money, Dewi was still working the streets to provide for her newborn when she discovered Send Relief’s employment center and was offered a job. Today, she has a happy, healthy child and a life free from abuse because of your care and generosity!

At the center, Dewi and other vulnerable women like her are being provided with a safe and entrepreneurial workplace, and their children are being given preventative education to help keep the entire family unit whole and protected. Pray for word to spread about the center and its benefits and for women throughout the region to be freed of the bondage in which they so often find themselves!

You have the opportunity to learn more about human trafficking and its causes at a free webinar on January 21stregister today! To help more women like Dewi escape their captors, give now at

*Name changed for security.

Published January 13, 2021

Send Relief Staff