Not For Sale: Shining Light into the Sexual Darkness-Cambodia and Thailand part 3: The Rescue Efforts part 1

23 Apr

Over the past couple weeks we have looked at Srey Neang and how the sex-trade can engulf a life and leave one feeling hopeless for any sort of escape or social acceptance. Now I want to look at those who are doing something about it. The first person is a woman named Annie Dieselberg:

Her project is called NightLight Design. The thought behind that name is that a nighlight is what guides you in the darkness where many of these women find themselves. “Annie had taught herself how to make jewelry. So she spontaneously offered the bar girl a job to work alongside her producing jewelry for commercial sale. The young woman accepted and became employee #1 in NightLight Design…Annie did not even have an office or work studio for her company at that moment. So she told the bar girl to meet her at a McDonalds restaurant in central Bangkok. So with the waft of burgers and fries deep in their nostrils, Annie delivered to the young woman her first training session in jewelry production.”p26

“…it is a for-profit business that trains women in how to make and sell jewelry. The products are made in NightLight’s humble facotry in central Bangkok and sold primarily through religious networks in Thailand and the United States. The jewelry is high quality, and the design ranges from classic to trendy…”

This businesses are inspired by the fact that “programs that encourage girls to escape the sex trade but leave them poor and jobless do not yield long-term success stories. The girls remain vulnerable to being trafficked one again.”p 35 As seen in previous posts when Srey Neang escaped she had no other way to make money to survive.

Annie makes a comment on the culture women find themselves in, “Society won’t pay a poor woman a decent wage, but men will shell out big bucks just so they can abuse her body for a few minutes.” NightLight pays twice what the goverment would call minimum wage to these women who could not get work anywhere.

Besides providing a source of income, NightLight desires to equip these women for a better life by providing “workshops on health care, HIV/AIDS prevention, personal financial management, spiritual formation, and how to speak English.”

Why doesn’t Annie just tell the police when she finds a problem? Because they won’t do anything. She recounts a story when she saw a woman being abused across the street. She went to an officer to ask him to help and his response was simply, “It’s just his girl.” This woman is just screaming in desperation and the car squeals off and all the officer can say is that “it’s just his girl.” Gary Haugen in this book The Good News About Injustice tackles the idea of police abuse so I won’t go into that now. Nevertheless, Annie realizes that she needs to provide help through a source other than the police at this point in her life.

So in the face of injustice Annie has created a company that employs fifty women and which provides for them financially and holistically. Pray for her and if you want to help you can purchase your jewelry from NightLight Designs.

www.nightlightbangkok.com

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