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Operation Open Eyes has some exciting things happening!

Firstly: OOE finally has a LOGO!!! Woo hoo! (See header pic)

Secondly: Check out our new YouTube channel and subscribe to be notified when new content gets added. To be honest, there’s only one video on there at the moment but I have plans for more!

Thirdly: Founder, Daniella, has been featured on All of Us Matter’s blog talking about how OOE got started. Head here to check it out.

Other ways you can keep up with OOE is of course here on our website, on Facebook and on Instagram. 😀

A group of women walked down the street: 4 foreigners and a Thai girl. Women tourists were always walking past, looking at her, usually with cameras. She supposed they found it amusing to see men groping her; seeing what it looks like to be worthless, trashy and the lowest of society. Some looked disapproving and she knew it was aimed at her, but what could she do? Of course she knew he was married. She’d seen the glint of his ring as the light bounced off it and felt the cold metal contrasting with his clammy hand against her skin as he rubbed her bottom, but if she said “No”, the Mamasan would slap her again. It was her job to make him happy, no matter what he wanted to do. Anyway, she had stopped looking at women’s faces a while back, it was only the men she needed to entice.

The Thai girl from the group of women approached her Mamasan as the foreigners hovered close by. She moved in to hear what they were talking about. Why would these women be here? What could they want? Are they lesbians? ‘Please don’t buy me’, she thought.

Could it be true? A Christmas party with no men and they were willing to pay her bar fine? Her friend was telling her that the party last year was fun. With the Mamasan’s permission, she cautiously agreed to go, as long as her friends went too.

Five of them went off to get dressed and came back fifteen minutes later to find one of the foreign women, Leah, waiting for them and smiled as they approached. Leah seemed nice. But then, clients often do at first.

Getting to the hotel where the party was, took a long walk. She had heels on and her feet hurt but she kept smiling as Leah chatted away.

Finally entering the hotel, she saw him. Her face dropped. “There are men here? I HATE men!” She spat through gritted teeth. Leah assured her that he was just a friend helping her and would not be joining them for the party. The party was for her and her friends to have fun – no men.

Cautiously she moved forward but everything was as Leah had said! There were crafts and games – she particularly liked musical chairs and limbo, small gifts, a famous singer performed, and some girls did karaoke; she was enjoying herself so much she didn’t even notice that it was a man who had jumped onto the platform. ‘That man speaking is from my village! He’s so funny.’ She thinks as she looks across at Leah who is looking around smiling and catches her eye. Leah shrugs, and she laughs. ‘Leah doesn’t seem to understand anything, perhaps this really is for me!’

As waiters serve the meal she is glad to be sitting with her friends though she notices girls from other bars at tables around her laughing and having fun. A Thai woman, Ann, takes the mic and introduces girls who used to work in bars like hers. Ann talks about a Home where she could go and finish her education, some of those girls have already graduated! She takes a photo of the phone number on the screen, after all, you never know.

The evening draws to a close with a raffle and Ann picks out names of girls winning prizes. She is disappointed because her friend won a prize and she didn’t, but suddenly Leah reaches under the table and reveals a bag with presents for everyone at the table. She received make-up!

Grinning happily to herself she heads home thinking about the evening, pushing away the twinge of guilt that she did not make any money tonight to send back to her family, but she did have fun. Maybe she will call that number tomorrow and see if she can go to that home. Maybe she can finish her education. Maybe they will take her sister too so she doesn’t have to work in the bar!

Tomorrow she will call Ann and see if there is actually hope in this hell that freezer van had brought her to.

~~~> In case you missed it, click here for Part 1! <~~~

*** Disclaimer: Details have been changed to protect identities.

She was just a child when he took it from her. He was driving her home when suddenly he pulled off the road and dragged her out of the car. After raping her time and time again he drove off, leaving her battered and bruised – almost dead.

Somehow she made it home and her mother took care of her, unable to press charges as he was a man and they were simply women. They had hoped to avoid him, but a week later he had broken into their house and was threatening to abuse her mother and sisters unless she did what he wanted. This was how she learned to be compliant and do what men wanted to keep them happy; to protect her family. He moved in that day.

Years later he eventually found someone new and moved on. Being the oldest girl at 14, she was now expected to be the financial provider and here was an opportunity… a man had come to the village and was offering a good job in Bangkok! She decided to trust this man and went with him into the jungle. After 2 days of waiting, she got nervous and decided to go home, but the man wouldn’t let her leave and raped her in front of the other women waiting – letting them all know that he was in charge and they weren’t going anywhere!

When the freezer van did eventually turn up, it was packed with women and girls, and they had to sit on each others’ shoulders for the long ride to Bangkok. It was dark, bumpy and uncomfortable. Upon arrival, they were sold to a bar in the red-light district where she was ordered to serve men.

How could she go home? How could she tell her family that she had been so foolish? How could she tell them she was now considered one of the lowest in society? How could they possibly accept her back? So she shut off her heart and started listening to her head. “I will do as well as I can, and make as much money as I can to send back to my family. Then they will be pleased with me and I will make them proud! Maybe one of these Western men will want to marry me and they will take care of my family. This is my new dream. This is my way out.”

So here she stands, being sexually exploited; begging men to choose her. Knowing at any moment, any one of these men could get violent, or refuse to wear a condom… giving her AIDS or getting her pregnant. There could be more than one man in his hotel room and they could gang rape her; anything could happen. But maybe, just maybe, this will be the one to save her.

After all, this is her choice…. right?

~~~> Click here for Part 2 <~~~

*** Disclaimer: Details have been changed to protect identities.

There are many forms of human trafficking across the world including:

    • Forced Labor (Anti-Slavery)
      Any work or services which people are forced to do against their will under the threat of some form punishment.
    • Sex Trafficking (Shared Hope)
      The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act where such an act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age.
    • Child Trafficking (Unicef)
      A crime involving the movement of children for the purpose of their exploitation.
    • Child and Forced Marriage (Unicef & Anti-Slavery)
      – Defined as a formal marriage or informal union before age 18, is a reality for both boys and girls, although girls are disproportionately the most affected.
      – Where a marriage is entered into without the full and free consent of one or both parties, as a result of physical or psychological pressure or abuse.
    • Bonded Labor / Debt Bondage (Anti-Slavery)
      When labor is demanded as a means of repayment for a loan. The person is then tricked or trapped into working for very little or no pay.
    • Domestic Servitude (The No Project)
      When domestic workers are treated like slaves.
    • Child Soldiers (Human Trafficking Search)
      Involves the unlawful recruitment or use of children – through force, fraud, or coercion – by armed forces as combatants or other forms of labor.
    • Organ Harvest (Ungift)
      – Where traffickers force or deceive the victims into giving up an organ.
      – Where victims formally or informally agree to sell an organ and are cheated because they are not paid for the organ or are paid less than the promised price.
      – Vulnerable persons are treated for an ailment, which may or may not exist and thereupon organs are removed without the victim’s knowledge.

Many stories of survivors include the following terms, but what do they actually mean? Here is a list of terms used within Human Trafficking as defined by Dictionary.com. These are not the complete legal definitions but can be used to provide a basic understanding.

Abduct
To carry off or lead away (a person) illegally and in secret or by force, especially to kidnap.

Abuse
1. To speak insultingly, harshly, and unjustly to or about; revile; malign.
2. To commit sexual assault upon.
– noun
3. Bad or improper treatment; maltreatment:
4. Rape or sexual assault

Assault
An assault on a person is a physical attack on them.

Child Abuse
Mistreatment of a child by a parent or guardian, including neglect, beating, and sexual molestation.

Coercion
The act of coercing; use of force or intimidation to obtain compliance.

Deceive
To mislead or falsely persuade others; practice deceit: an engaging manner that easily deceives.

Exploitation
1. Use or utilization, especially for profit.
2. To use selfishly for one’s own ends.

Fraud
Deceit, trickery, sharp practice, or breach of confidence, perpetrated for profit or to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage.

Grooming
To prepare for a position.

Human Trafficking
The illegal practice of procuring or trading in human beings for the purpose of prostitution, forced labour, or other forms of exploitation.

Illegal Immigrant
A foreigner who has entered or resides in a country unlawfully or without the country’s authorization.

Pedophile
An adult who is sexually attracted to young children.

Porn / Pornography
1. Television shows, articles, photographs, etc., thought to cater to an excessive, irresistible desire for or interest in something.
2. Obscene writings, drawings, photographs, or the like, especially those having little or no artistic merit.

Prostitution
Having sex with people in exchange for money.

Rape
Unlawful sexual intercourse or any other sexual penetration of the vagina, anus, or mouth of another person with or without force, by a sex organ, other body part, or foreign object, without consent of the victim.

Slavery / Slaves
1. The system by which people are owned by other people as slaves.
2. Someone who is the property of another person and has to work for that person.
3. You can describe someone as a slave when they are completely under the control of another person or of a powerful influence.

Smuggle
1. To import or export (goods) secretly, in violation of the law, especially without payment of legal duty.
2. To bring, take, put, etc. surreptitiously: She smuggled the gun into the jail inside a cake.

Traffic
1. Illegal commercial trade in human beings for the purpose of exploiting them.
2.
To trade in (human beings) for the purpose of exploitation.

Transport
To carry, move, or convey from one place to another.

There are many different types of men who visit red-light districts. While it’s easy to put them all in a box, you’ll often find that the closer you look at things the more complicated it gets. I am sure there are more reasons than these, but perhaps this will give you some insight and open conversations.

  1. Men are Lonely
    Ever felt like you would be alone forever while your friends all seem to have someone? Ever just craved someone’s arms around you? Ever just wanted to feel like you had someone’s, anyone’s, undivided attention? Ever just wanted that connection with someone? Whatever the reason, we all get lonely sometimes. Perhaps these men have not been able to find a girlfriend or are just socially awkward. While this may seem like an extreme way to find companionship, for some this is their answer.
  2. Stag Dos / Lad’s Holidays
    Weekends of testosterone with men proving to each other they are as manly as the next, with nothing to prove and yet everything to prove. All it takes is for one lad to think it’s a good idea, that it truly is the ‘last night of freedom’, or ‘what happens on the stag do stays on the stag do’ and with the welcoming arms and looks of girls paid to make you feel good self-control goes out the window.
  3. Men Looking for Wives / Nurse Maids
    While the red-light district may seem like a strange place to look for a wife, anyone who’s desperate for love knows love isn’t as easy as it may seem to come across. These men may have tried to find love unsuccessfully in their home country. Some simply prefer [Thai] women, know someone who found a wife there or want a wife who will obey them. Men on the older side have been known to make a last effort to find someone who’ll look after them in their elderly years.
  4. Men are Curious
    People who watch porn will have a differing reactions, from disgust to curiosity. Most will have felt a weird need to discover more. Eventually porn isn’t good enough and a natural place to take this curiosity to the next level is a red-light district. Even better… a red-light district not in their home country where they might bump into someone they know.
  5. Men are Handicapped / Ex-Veterans
    If love is hard to find, how about for those with physical disabilities / trauma? Loneliness can come into play again here and a need to feel something other than what’s going around their head.
  6. Graduation Gifts
    Every now and then a Father will be seen handing his son a pack of condoms and sending him off to “use responsibly”. Using a prostitute can be seen as a rite of passage… from childhood to manhood.
  7. Men who Hate Women
    There are many reasons a man may hate women; from childhood abuse to mother issues to unforgiveness. Hate not dealt with, always comes out. Prostitutes are easy targets partly due to the ease of getting them alone.
  8. Sex Tours / Fetishes
    It happens.


Disclaimer:
Understanding some of the above reasons does not mean I condone them. This blog is only one part of a big puzzle. If any of these resonate with you and you are thinking of using a prostitute as an answer, please talk to someone trusted like a counselor who can help you deal with the root of these issues.