A few years ago, my whole concept of prostitution changed. Back then I didn’t realize how many teen girls were wooed into “the Life.” The new boy friend tells her how beautiful she is and how much he loves her. Then he gets her to try some drugs until she is completely hooked. Once hooked he demands that she have sex for pay, turn the money over to him, or there will be no drugs for the craving he created. Drugs are used to numb the women into giving their bodies away. It is, as I have learned, the only way women will be willing to have sex with strange men who can and do demand anything from them.
Breaking Free works to free women from sex trafficking. They provide shelter along with emotional and practical support for women. In the brief time I’ve been on the Board, I have been astonished at the scope of their work and their many programs. They manage programs for both men and women, including one which brings together men who have been arrested for soliciting. The program is unique in seeing men as needing to work at healthier relationship with the women in their lives. Formerly called “John School” it is being renamed as “Men Breaking Free” recognizing the addictive nature of their actions. Those who attend the program have their records expunged.
Each month there is a new revelation for me. I marvel at their resilience. Almost all of our staff have lived “the life.” When a person comes to Breaking Free, they are met with arms ready to do anything possible to help out. I find myself humbled to be in the presence of these women who have lived hard lives, but are filled with compassion and grace. I’m reminded Jesus had a special love for and recognized how women who have lived “the life” were entering the Kingdom of Heaven ahead of the religious zealots who where blind to the truth he brought.