Monday, October 24, 2011

How young can they be?

A photo of our parnter Don Brewster with the newest resident to the Newsong centre

Some times you hear of stories of young girls being rescued and it is hard to imagine how anyone would want to hurt a little girl. It makes no sense. What pleasure can a man get in raping a 5 year old girl? What possesses a person to do such a heinous crime against an innocent vulnerable child? What causes someone to act in such a perverse way? There are many questions that often go through our minds as we try to reconcile and make sense of all the evil and the moral degradation that we see in this ministry of child sex trafficking.

The reality is that we  cannot fully understand why an adult would seek to degrade and devalue a little girl of 5 years old. Our minds cannot compute such perversity because it is not 'normal' human behavior. No human being who has any moral compass could justify such acts. A few years ago one of our partners said to me, 'Lisa, don't try to figure out why people would do such acts because the reality is we cannot understand such evil. In many ways, our partner is right. How can we ever fully understand the mind of a child abuser, a predator, a pedophile? In some ways we can't? That is not to say that we don't have an understanding of why sin happens and the forces of darkness that distorts truth and deceives people into committing such crimes.

What we do see before us however is the frail little bodies of their victims. They come broken mentally,  emotionally and physically.  It is these little ones that the Lord has called us to focus on. It is these little ones that we desire to see be restored to wholeness. It is these little ones that we have the privilege of pouring our energies and resources into because we believe that they have been made in the image of God. They deserve to have a life free from terror, a life free from fear, a life free from shame. They deserve to have the freedom to experience love, joy, hope, laughter. Most of all, they deserve to simply be like any child, play like a child and act like a child. They come to the Newsong centre and we have the privilege of seeing God do a miracle in their lives as He begins to transform their crushed spirits, restoring hope and joy and putting a new song in their hearts.

And so the newest and youngest resident at the Newsong centre is this little 5 year old girl who I shall call Malin (not her real name). Malin began her journey of hope last Friday when she was rescued from Svay Pak. She is now safely at the Newsong centre, being cared for by many Khmer staff who are so willing to pour Christ love over her so that she can begin to have hope again. Today I heard that she was so happy and excited to be at Newsong. She has gone from a 'prison' to the 'palace of the King of Kings', but how did she get there?

Her mother is a former prostitute, known to the staff in the brothel district. Over the years, she not only trafficked her children but also trafficked drugs. Many times the police have tried to arrest her but she evaded them by paying her way out of being caught. She already had a known reputation selling her two older children---a  boy and another little girl.  They are both staying at Hagar, another one of our partners. Her young son (approximately 10 years old now) who I shall called Samnang (not his real name) was so badly sodomized about 3 years ago that the doctors needed 6 hours to stitch him back up.

As for his sister Srey Mom (not her real name) who is approximately 8 years old, she too was used as a commodity whenever her mother needed money to feed her drug habit. She was sold and abused multiple times. Recently, Pastor Chantha learned that the mother was planning to sell her youngest daughter (5 year old Malin) and had given her to a neighbor. He arranged for the rescue of this little one just before she was sold. Praise God for this timely intervention.

Last Friday the kids mother was arrested and today the police sentenced her to 15 years in jail on two counts---one count for sex trafficking and the other count for drug trafficking.  She has no money, so she can't pay her way out of jail. So in a sense, justice has occurred. But as someone once said, justice must be about much more than balancing out the wrongs of the world.  It must be about making things right, about the kind of restoration that does not reverse the pain, but moves beyond it toward something new.

For kids like Samnang, his sister Srey Mom and their youngest sister Malin, they have experienced betrayal on so many levels. In the visible reality, they face an uncertain future without a parent. How do they move beyond the pain and loss towards something new? They can with Christ.   It is these little ones, so battered and bruised, for whom Christ said that 'by His stripes they are healed.'  It is these little ones who while abandoned and betrayed by their earthly family are being welcomed and received into a new community in Christ where they discover His love for them through the staff. It is in this new community that the Lord begins to restore their lives as they begin to trust those who care for them. It is in this new community, that Christ restores their dignity as they finally live a life free from abuse. It is in this new community, they will discover that they are no longer defined as a sexual commodity but rather, they will discover that they are a child of Christ. It is their identity in Christ that will enable them to move beyond the pain of their past, to a a future that promises hope, meaning and purpose. A future that will enable them to not just become members in their community but one day we pray, they will begin to bless their communities as they use the gifts, talents and passions that God has created in each of them.

It is this hope that we have in Him that inspires us to endure and to persevere in serving these little ones. For we know that we do not labor in vain because every child rescued is one child less that is caught in the web of child sex trafficking.We hold onto that promise that they and us in all these things are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord! (Romans 8:37-39).

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