**Written in Athens, Greece**
It is just about to pass 10:30am here on Wednesday morning and we are in the home stretch of the trip. Today, Jim, Mike, and Tienette along with Sergey and Daniella will head into the heart of the sex trafficking world. Daniella has a ministry to the women who are trapped in the over 250 brothels of Athens (and those are the ones she knows about).
**Parental Advisory: The following content is raw and describes the stark reality of the sex trafficking industry. This content is not intended for younger audiences. Please filter accordingly.**
As we shared breakfast this morning, Daniella recounts the stories of women whom she has spoken with. Imagine a world of underage girls (as young as 12) trapped in a city where they thought they were going to get a job as a coffee barista, but found a far different reality. Women who on any given day will work a minimum of two six hour shifts (sometimes they will work as many as 24 hours before a break). During this time period, they will have as many as 100 sexual encounters in that time period. These men do not treat these women with respect.
The pimps hold their families well-being over their heads. These women work in apartment size flats. There is a kitchen. A bedroom. A waiting area. The young woman (or women–which is illegal) will come out and parade herself before the waiting “gentlemen” (very loosely used term) clients and they will either accept her or deny her. If they deny her, they will walk out and find the next brothel. All of this for a ten minute encounter.
Daniella is known by the police, the girls, the madame's, and the pimps where she usually spends her Wednesday mornings. She, accompanied by her husband and several other volunteers, move swiftly from brothel to brothel seeking to spend time with these girls, if only for a few minutes. If she is lucky, she will get to spend up to 30 minutes in one brothel before moving to the next one. The reality is that she has doors closed in her face, and only a few minutes to speak with the girls.
She, and others, will walk the streets with the brothels. The women will enter while the men stay outside and pray. Images of a life we know nothing about are burned into the very core of our brain. Women paraded around like pieces of meat. Their bodies used and abused for another man's selfish desires. These men smell. They have pure disregard for these girls. The lust of the flesh burning within their eyes, their bodies, and their souls. Each wanton desire stronger than the last. All ages enter these brothels. Old men. Young men. It has no rhyme or reason, except to fulfill the deep desires of lust within them.
There is hope. Daniella and her team are walking into the deepest pits.
They walk into these places. Sit in the kitchens and wait for a divine opportunity to share the love of Jesus.
They share Jesus in those places. Showing up is a big deal. It means someone cares.
Pray for this ministry. Pray for workers. Pray for strength.
Pray that God will bind these brothels, and that they will be forced to close. Pray that these young women (and sometimes older ones) will see that there is life behind this horrible existence and want to get out.
God is bigger than these places.
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