How Women Freed from the Sex Trade are Freeing Others

While on a Kingdom Journeys trip in 2014, Adventures Staff Meghan Tschanz saw women leave the bars and discover worth and freedom in Christ. Now those same women are going back into the bars to tell their friends!

Last year, my Kingdom Journeys team travelled to Angeles City, Philippines, a place known for its estimated 100,000 women and children stuck in the illegal sex trade.

When we went to the bars the first Friday evening, I didn’t get my hopes up. I expected laughter and surface level conversation, but nothing too substantial. So when two girls who worked there had the courage to leave right then and there, I was floored.

It was a sign of things to come.

The next day, around 25 women went with us to a Girls Getaway with Wipe Every Tear, an organization that takes women out of the sex trade and puts them through school. We took them to Puerto Galera, where we spent our days on the beach and nights talking about God, his great love for them, and the his plans for their lives. 

At first, the women were quiet and didn’t seem comfortable sharing their stories with one another. But they they slowly began to share their stories – stories of rape and parents who had sold their virginity, stories of boyfriends who forced them into prostitution. 

*Photo by @angel_bythe_sea

I held their hands and wiped their tears as they cried, praying God would bring redemption to all of them.

After they shared, I spoke about redemption and the plans God still had for their lives. Then I asked what their wildest dreams were – because God could make them happen.

The women were quiet until finally one spoke up. She said,

“I want to be like you. I want to go to the bars and tell women there’s a better life. I want to show them there is hope and love in God. I want to do with them what was has been done with me.”

Then another echoed the same dream. These women, who had been raped, lied to, and cheated wanted to go back to the very place of their bondage and get more women out. It was all I could do not to stand up on my chair and cheer.

After the retreat, 20 girls came back to Wipe Every Tear. For two months, I lived in a small, pink, three bedroom house with 29 women and children.

During that time, I slept next to 19-year-old, Amy*, who had been manipulated into prostitution by her aunt. Sometimes, I woke in the night to her tears and whimpers from nightmares of her past. 

Amy soon became one of the girls I was closest to. We talked about God’s love and the plans He had for her. She drank it in, hope awakening in her eyes. 

Amy struggled with depression and cutting, and many other things she didn’t know how to express. Her past threatened to keep her from her future. But even through her struggles, I knew God was going to use her for something big. 

After returning to the States, I learned Amy had left the house to return home for needed papers for school. She ended up being gone longer than expected and posted pictures on social media of herself in the bars.

After several days, she showed up back at Wipe Every Tear, but this time she showed up with five girls nobody had ever seen before. It turns out Amy went back to the bars and met with her old friends.

But not for the reasons we feared.

Amy went to offer her friends hope, to tell them of the better life she’d found. Now that she’d encountered freedom, she couldn’t help but share it with her friends who were still in bondage!

Three of the five girls stayed at Wipe Every Tear and began their schooling. Over six months, Wipe Every Tear grew from fifteen to forty women. Now others have joined – going back to the bars and sharing the hope they have found.

Jesus is truly redeeming every story, and now these women who were formerly stuck in the sex trade are our biggest agents for getting women out.

These women are living their wildest dreams. They are sharing freedom, and I couldn’t be more honored than to have been a part of it. It’s impossible to count the ripple effects that happened from that one week event, but one thing we are sure of is that God is not done yet!

*Names changed and faces blurred for protection

Do you feel called to help sexually exploited women find freedom? Click here to view trips for adult women and here for trips for college students.