"The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all who are oppressed." - Psalm 103:6
*Note: All names have been changed for safety reasons.
Sheena wasn't always a prostitute.
The loyal daughter of two aging parents and loving older sister of two baby siblings, Sheena was working hard to make ends meet for her family in Katmandu, Nepal. They needed her to work and be the primary provider of food for them, which is a responsibility that no young woman ought to have on her shoulders yet, but it was reality for Sheena. Then, the earthquake hit.
A 7.8 magnitude monster, turning buildings into gravel like they were play-toys. Several thousand people were killed, thousands were injured, and many thousands more were permanently displaced from their homes.
“With a lack of jobs in the city, compounded by the fact that I have no husband or any other caretaker, I am all alone to take care of my two baby siblings, Jen and Mani. With the recent earthquake I have lost my hours. My parents are too old to take care of themselves so I am their only hope," Sheena said.
Due to the destruction and chaos following the earthquake, Sheena's hours at work were taken away. She and her family were forced to leave their home and move to temporary shelter. With very little food available, the options were extremely limited in how she could take care of her parents and siblings. What can a young woman do when faced with the cries of hunger from her loved ones, not to mention from her own belly?
"The society around me blames me for Karma for bringing this calamity over my house. I am currently living in a temporary shelter until something more permanent turns up. It is hard to find enough food every day for my family, and I have to increase my shifts of sleeping with men. I don’t like it but I am used to it. With the disaster now I have no choice but to sleep with men everyday just to earn enough to survive," said Sheena.
Things were getting so desperate, that prostitution seemed to be the only option left for Sheena. Another word to use for "prostitution" is "sex-slave." It wasn't necessarily Sheena's choice. She needed to feed her family. And now, she was trapped inside of an awful world with little hope.
"My master (pimp) has been harsher on me for not bringing enough income. I barely make enough for myself, let alone for Jen and Mani and my parents. He takes up to half of what ever I make by the end of the day. (Average nightly income is $10 before pimp takes his share)," Sheena told our mission partner.
By this point, if you have eyes and ears, you have heard about the mass injustice of sexual slavery that is rampant around the world on some form of social media. There are hundreds of nonprofit organizations and coalitions trying to combat the evil being committed, and hundreds more trying to reach out to the victims in any way possible. It's an immense sociological, cultural, and primarily spiritual battle. As Jesus-followers, it's a battle that we enter valiantly.
IDES was blessed with the opportunity to assist our partners in North India to reach out to Sheena and other victims in Nepal. IDES funded a large-scale distribution of emergency food and supplies, which our partners faithfully and courageously took to these victims and ministered to them.
"We told Sheena about God’s love for her and how we would always keep her in our prayers. The local church in Nepal has connected with her now doing whatever they can to help her situation and to share God’s love with her. God has used us to impact hundreds of people like her. One day they will see the true justice of God in the second coming," reported our partner mission in North India.
It says in Psalm 73, "For He delivers the needy when He calls, the poor and him who has no helper. He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy. From oppression and violence He redeems their life, and precious is their blood in His sight." We believe that the Church is invited to practice and participate in this work! Without your help, IDES could not have assisted our partners in reaching out and entering the spiritual battlefield. Let us assure you, the work pays off.
After receiving the assistance and food, Sheena said, "It is good to know there are good people who care for the likes of me. The [partner mission] team members randomly decided to come to our destroyed village to hand out bags of food and they graciously gave me [and my family] enough to live on for a long time. This will reduce my frustration. May God bless them, and please continue to pray to your God for me."
That's one step closer to witnessing our sister Sheena's salvation, and the many more victims just like her. We will continue to pray for her, and for our partners reaching out to her and the others in her village.
In her own words, Sheena said, "Life is difficult for me, but I am not the only one of my kind." There are hundreds of thousands of young women and young men trapped in similar situations all around the world. As followers of Christ, it is our responsibility to work together for their good, and to fight hard against the powers of darkness. Whether fleeing home due to violence or due to natural disaster, people are most vulnerable during times of crisis. Let us come alongside of them with generous hearts and vigilant minds.