Painted Orange

love shines on

Roxy Was Trafficked Before Our Eyes. Let’s Do Something About it.

I sat down and cringed. I knew he had spotted us, and in a bar like this, the very last thing you wanted was to be seen by the men who frequent them. His hair was long and greased back, and his small beady eyes that looked at us with disdain; making me want to crawl into a hole.

But we had nowhere to hide.

Walking Street is a place almost exclusively frequented by aging western men looking for sex. They come to Angeles City for its sex tourism, for the thousands of girls and women are trafficked for their bodies. So as a group made of mostly young western women, we stood out like a sore thumb.

We were there to offer hope in the form of Wipe Every Tear; an organization that would rescue women from the bars and put them through school, allowing them the freedom to choose their career path. I tried to focus on the hope we were bringing and not the man as I looked at the girls on stage swaying slowly to some pop song.

But he kept blatantly staring at us, sending chills down my spine. It felt as if he knew what we were trying to do and he wanted to destroy any shot these women had of leaving the bars. He was younger, and he spread out on his seat, long and confident as he alternated staring at us and the girls on stage.

I just kept my eyes up, focusing on who God might want us to speak to.  One very skinny woman, who looked especially young, caught my eye. I shouted this to my teammates over the music and we agreed she was the one we should speak to tonight.

We flagged down our waitress and pointed to the young woman on stage. She promptly shone a green laser on the girl, and she came down to sit with us. Her name was Roxy*, she was 19, and she had what looked like knife scars on her chest. Roxy pointed them out as if they were nothing more than freckles, explaining that her addict boyfriend sometimes attacked her. We began to tell her about Wipe Every Tear and how there was hope of going to school if she chose to leave the bars. Her eyes lit up as she expressed interest, she began to eagerly ask questions. As she was speaking, I noticed that the man who had been looking at us earlier had taken a new level of interest.

He glared at us, with a smug look on his face. I didn’t know what that look meant until Roxy was called away by the bar owner. Before she left, she ran back and grabbed our card, leaving us all confused.

Our waitress explained that Roxy had been purchased for the night by the man who was staring us down.

I was shocked.

In all the time of going to the bars, I had never had a girl taken from right from under our noses. It felt like he knew that we were there to help, and had a personal vendetta against us and any girl who still had hope of a better life.

Our waitress continued to explain how working at the bar made her very sad, but she, like the girls on stage, had no other choice. Her younger sister, who had just turned 18, was one of the dancers on stage and labeled a “cherry girl,” meaning that her virginity was up for auction.

The man who had taken Roxy from us had come to the bar every night for the last several days, staring down the younger sister and offering large amounts of money to take her virginity. The girl was resisting but was feeling heavy pressure from her employer to accept the creepy man’s advances. As bad as our waitress felt for Roxy, she was glad it wasn’t her sister.

She asked what we were doing here, and we told her. A smile spread across her face. She asked for our card, though her sister wasn’t working tonight. She was going to go home that night and give the card to her sister so she could leave. As she spoke I prayed that she and her sister would never have to enter the bars again. Especially under the gaze of the man who had taken Roxy.

I left the bar with some hope for our waitress’s sister, but it seemed to be overshadowed by the men like the one who had taken Roxy. I have no idea what happened to her. Yes, some men came to the bars for companionship, but as much as that was true, so is the fact that some men came with nothing but malice in their hearts.

They are not seeking any form of love. They seek control, dominance, and power, at the expense of a woman who has no other choice. There are men who come to the bars to rape and live out their violent desires, leaving girls abused or even dead in their wake.

It fills me with an urgency to get these women out of the bars and for the sex trade to be shut down completely. The sex trade MUST end. The objectification of women MUST end. The violence against women MUST end.

But it is not a simple fix. In order to enact change, we must reach out to the demand and supply of the sex trade. We must show them the love of Jesus, because truly, He is the only one who can make good out of all of this mess.

If you are feeling a rising in your soul, and you want to help, there are ways that you (yes, you) can tangibly get involved:

  1. Pray- Pray as you have never prayed before that God brings redemption to the stories of objectification, abuse, and manipulation. That people will be fulfilled by God and stop searching for fulfillment in lust. That women have the courage to leave and have a place to go to escape the trade. That the demand for the sex trade just stops.
  2. Send notes- I get the opportunity to meet with and disciple women who have left the sex trade in the Philippines. I am able to bring encouragement and love to these women about once a year. Please send them your prayers and your love in a handwritten card so they may know that they are not alone. Email me in the “talk to me” tab if you are interested.
  3. Donate- And if you feel lead, you may also donate to Wipe Every Tear, an organization that takes women out of the sex trade and puts them through college. 

Don’t believe that you can’t make a difference, because you can. Let women like Roxy inspire you to make a difference in this world.

About Meghan Tschanz

I believe in love, empowerment. and adventure. The kind of love that believes in the face of adversity, the empowerment that allows people to step into their destiny, and the kind of adventure that leaves your heart pounding in your chest. I write because I want to remind us all that there is so much more to life.

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  • Courtney

    Meghan, thanks for sharing this! So many times we want to help but don’t know how. Thanks for the practical steps! You’re right, this must end and it’ll only happen if we all do our part. Keep telling the stories!