Trapped in difficult circumstances

16 Aug, 2013 | Hong Kong
OM International
Pink lights in Hong Kong, red in Amsterdam, the message is the same
Behind the glow of city lights, a group of people easily go unnoticed—lost sheep in desperate need of the hope of the gospel. They are the prostituted women of the city.

"[Whenever] I visit sex workers at their working places, I get to understand more about their needs," said Debbie from OM Hong Kong. "Their working places are not where they live, which means we can only visit them during working hours.

"When they welcome us into their rooms to talk, they sacrifice some of their hours and income. However, these women are very amiable towards us–even their rejection is with much politeness. Surprisingly, it is easier to talk and engage with them in a meaningful conversation than with people we meet [on outreach]!"

Many of the women Debbie meets in Hong Kong are from Mainland China. With the hope of a perfect life, they marry men from Hong Kong but soon find themselves sweating and toiling at household chores in less-than-perfect circumstances. Over time, marriages turn sour for one reason or another, and many end in divorce. 

"It breaks my heart to hear nightmarish tragedies occurring to these women, one after another," continued Debbie. "They long to be cared for and listened to. Indeed, their needs are no different to ours."

Taught from childhood that a woman's role is to serve her husband and his family, the women know that failed marriages shame their family name; therefore, returning home as a divorcée is unthinkable. Academic qualifications and work experience from Mainland China are not recognised in Hong Kong. In addition, the fact that these women have not resided in Hong Kong for more than seven years means that they are not entitled to social assistance either.

For these women who are single parents with children to support, few opportunities to earn an income are available. Many resort to the sex industry to make ends meet–a secret often hidden from family members far and near.

“If not for survival, who would resort to such a life?” lament many of the women Debbie meets. Sobbing as they share their stories of misery with her, conversations come to an abrupt end. Their every word tells a true story of struggling souls trapped in hopeless circumstances.

"Had they been born in different circumstances, their lives would probably have run a different course," said Debbie. "We live in the same city, but lead totally different lives. Nevertheless, we are all lost sheep. May the Lord have mercy upon the sex workers of this city and let them see the hope they may find in Him. May he help them escape the downward spiral of a life that sells their precious souls away."

Credit: OM International · © 2013 OM International This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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