At any rate, we were about half way through our lunch when a young woman came screaming and crying uncontrollably towards The Sanctuary. All 40 of us got up and ran to the front to see what was going on. For a moment I thought someone's kid was being taken. But we saw a man carried off by the police and another woman come crying to talk to Bunthan. Then one of our students came rushing out and she was on her knees sobbing. It turned out that the man who was arrested was the father of the two sisters Paulie and Lim that I had blogged about a few days ago. He was being charged for child trafficking. His older daughter along with the sisters mother had come to tell Pastor Chantha and Bunthan what was happening. I am struck by the fact that people in this community see The Sanctuary as a place of refuge. It truly is a 'hub of activity' in this place and whether the person has done wrong or right, their family members come seeking help, seeking comfort and seeking direction. In this situation, Pastor Chantha cannot do anything to help this family for the father of Lim and Paulie indeed has done something wrong. Not only had he trafficked his girls but it appears that he had recently trafficked another little girl---at least that is what is being alleged by the police. They noticed that he had a new motorbike and in their eyes, that provided sufficient evidence to haul him in for questioning. Unless the family has money to pay a 'bribe' to the police, he will be held in jail for 6 months awaiting his trial. In Svay Pak, like many other areas in Cambodia, every one knows every one's business and every one is watching everyone else and reporting what they noticed. This reminds me of the time during the Khmer Rouge era where families reported on each other or the young men known as Chlops would report to the Khmer Rouge officials what was going on in the communes. In some ways, we are seeing the modern day version of this in Svay Pak and it has its advantages especially if you are trying to track down traffickers and pedophiles. It can also work the other way, where some people will tip off the brothel owners if there is a raid pending.
As the afternoon progressed the story of Lim and Paulie's father became much more clearer to me. About 11 months ago a little girl about 6 years old was rescued from Svay Pak and taken to the Newsong centre. She used to live with relatives in Svay Pak after her mother left her. Unfortunately this family would sell her for sex whenever they needed money and would allow anyone to rape her whenever the felt like it. She was so mistreated that if there was any food left over after the family ate it, they would throw it on the floor and she would have to scramble and fight the dogs to get anything. Today 'Sparky' is safe and is thriving at the Newsong centre. She can eat whatever she wants and through the staff, she is discovering how much God loves her and values her. She has a new life with a 'new' spark in her quite different from the somber, sad little girl that was first noticed in Svay Pak. Sadly, the family she lived with is none other than Lim and Paulie's family. God not only wants to redeem the life of Sparky but He wants to redeem this family. Paulie is the only believer in her family and is a gifted leader. She has the potential to influence many for God, but as you can see, she comes from an extremely disfunctional family. Pray for God to direct her paths and preserve her that she will one day testify of His transforming power not only in her own life but perhaps in her family's life.
Well another 30 minutes past and an 'old chicken' arrived in town. This is the term the team uses to describe the pedophiles they have seen who are once again visiting Svay Pak. This guy didn't stay too long but no sooner had he left, another hour past and we saw our first Asian sex tourist come walking into town. I'm told that some of them are so bold they will go house to house using their finger to describe what they want since they cannot communicate in English or Khmer. I ended up standing outside of The Sanctuary with some of the students and stared him down as he walked by to head out of the main street. Every few minutes he would turn around and look at us and we at him. So as the weekend begins, the 'chicken's are coming out or as I said to Chantha today, the 'ants' are coming out of the cupboard. They will come and hangout at the so called restaurants or coffee shops waiting to prey on the innocent. Pray that the Lord will continue to expose all the deeds done in the darkness and that He will contend with these who would seek to perpetuate these atrocities. I think its that time again to pray those impercatory psalms.