Tuesday afternoon we went to visit Night Light, an organization working to rescue women and girls out of prostitution. They apologized that we were not able to meet Annie, the founder, as she happens to be in Los Angeles this week.
On Tuesday and Friday nights groups of women from Night Light go into the bars and basically hang out with the prostitutes working there. They are not hidden in their agenda—their purpose in being there is to help the women and girls leave prostitution.
Apparently the Mamasans (basically, the female pimps) don’t mind this, and, in one case, have even asked some of the Night Light women to come teach English to the prostitutes.
A few from our group went to have a tour of the Night Light facility—the girls who are rescued are given jobs making jewelry (which is then sold online, if you’re interested in purchasing any or hosting a jewelry party to support this work) so that they have an alternative means to support themselves.
Aft the tour we met up with those who do the outreach. They intentionally have dinner in places where the prostitutes hang out (makes me think of Jesus, being criticized by the religious leaders for ‘hanging out with prostitutes’) so we went to a hotel where many Russian and Uzbek women work.
During dinner I spoke with one of the Night Light women, Emily, who mentioned that she was from London and would be going to Belfast in the next few weeks. I mentioned that I would too, to visit friends Stuart and Julianne there. “What’s Stuart’s surname?” asked Emily. When I told her she responded, “I think I know him. We met at a conference in Vienna.”
So, there we were, an American and a Londoner, sitting at dinner in Bangkok, in a hotel worked by Russian and Uzbek prostitutes, with a mutual friend in Belfast that she had met in Vienna and I had met in Scotland (well, also technically in Princeton).
The next morning I got an email from a friend in Los Angeles. She was writing to tell me that she had just been to a church service the night before, where a woman was there, telling about her organization in Thailand that helps to rescue women out of prostitution. “Her name wouldn’t happen to be Annie, would it?” I emailed back.
So, on Tuesday night in Bangkok, I was meeting Emily who knows my friend Stuart, and getting a tour of an organization that the very same Tuesday night, in LA, my friend was hearing about from its founder…