• Let the Little
Let The Little Children Come Unto Me
By June Narber
There are many organizations in our societies around the world that reach out to the poor and needy. Among those that suffer the most in this world are the children. As Christians, we should do all we can to help alleviate the horrible pain many suffer. We all know that we cannot solve this world’s problems in this age, which is why we pray for the arrival of God’s Kingdom to take away the pain and evils of this world ruled by Satan. Along this introduction, I would like to tell you about an organization I am currently volunteering at in Mae Sai, Thailand. Mae Sai is located in northern Thailand, in the “Golden Triangle,” a spot filled with jungle covered mountains and slopes dotted with hilltribe villages, where the borders of Thailand, Burma and Laos meet. I have only been here about a week and will remain for another six weeks. (I am abroad completing research and fulfilling an internship requirement for my graduate degree in international development).
This organization is called Development and Education Programme for Daughters and Communities Center (DEPDC). The Center, started in 1989 by its present director, Sompop Jantraka, was conceived as a community based initiative aimed at preventing girls from being forced into the sex industry. It helps over 400 girls and their families. For those readers who are not familiar with the “sex industry” problem in Thailand, I will provide the following information.
At an age when little girls would be regarded as children playing with dolls by America’s standards, thousands of little girls from babies to early teens from Northern Thailand are being lured into prostitution. Girls as young as age ten are being SOLD by their own parents into the brothels of Bangkok, other Thai cities and overseas. In some places as many as 90% of girls have left their villages to “work”. They come from families in the Golden Triangle area trapped in a cycle of poverty and debt. Their parents are subsistence farmers or poor villagers with few to no work opportunities. Their traditional lifestyle is being eroded by the influx of consumer goods, and desires for western goods and materialism.
Faced with these pressures, parents view their daughters as commodities that can be traded (a concept that is really cross-cultural, although in other cases, traded in marriage for a cow or pig is the norm). Brothel owners have networks of agents going from village to village looking for troubled families they tempt with money in exchange for their daughters. Money is the bottom line in these troubled areas. Many people benefit from this business, such as: relatives, the village headman, the police and government officials; except of course, the girls, who will face every unimaginable sexual horror.
Once sold or coerced, the girls have a slim chance to escape prostitution. The reality of their lives is rarely what they been told, since they are tricked to believe that they would work in hotels, restaurants, as maids or in fields of entertainment. Instead they find themselves enslaved in damp, dirty, and over crowded situations. Frequently, these girls are introduced to drugs by their pimps in order to control them, and naturally they become addicted. Since HIV is epidemic in Thailand, these girls run a high risk of contracting AIDS. Besides facing this potential death sentence, they encounter the never ending cycle of having their bodies abused by strange men. Sadly, large numbers of Western men visit Asia to shop for sex. (Note: men from all cultures buy sex in Thailand; however, the “white” man is well known for his money).
DEPDC offers young women an alternative to prostitution by providing them with education, job training and assistance in finding work. The organization operates on the belief that through financial and moral support, young women will remain in school or be trained for alternative employment, only to improve the material and spiritual quality of their lives and communities.
DEPDC is not a resort area. It could not be classified as a school by any western standards, since it operates on an almost non-existent budget. The office I work in has few supplies, lacking even the basic things like paper, scissors, a reliable computer and even postage to cover the last newsletter mailing to its financial sponsors. While here, I will be doing a variety of jobs, including teaching English, office and computer work, and teaching other subjects based on their needs.
Many girls live in bamboo huts. For the purpose of understanding and experiencing their plight, I also reside on the site. My own bamboo hut resembles the huts you may have seen on the television show “Gilligan’s Island.” There are no flush toilets, only cold water for showers, and many night creatures running everywhere inside the bamboo huts searching for food. I sleep under a mosquito net, with the dual hope of not contracting malaria and to discourage these creatures from making nests in my bedding.
Jesus Christ told his disciples to let the children to come to him (Mark 10:14-16). Children are gifts from God, and very precious in his sight (Psa. 127:3). We Sabbath observing Christians have learned to love our own children, and our neighbor’s children, but how much do we really love foreign children, often seen as pictures on the television screen during one of those fund soliciting campaigns? Often these are wonderful service organizations. My point is, how real is this world’s suffering to us? Do we really understand that the children have to suffer because of the sins of the parents.
There are no Sabbath keepers that I am aware of in this area. Most people in this region are animistic Buddhists. While a few individuals might blame the pagan religion for the prostitution and sex enslavement of children, do we realize that the United States is the biggest kiddy porn producer and consumer in the entire world? Regardless of where a child lives and the religion kept, we should be deeply concerned about the pain and horror children face. It is easy to turn our heads from these uncomfortable situations. Many Christian families refuse to discuss sexual sins or problems in our societies. But until we face problems of this world, we cannot have full understanding of just how HORRIBLE, ugly and deadly sin really is.
God’s laws are not known or obeyed in this area. “Buddha” is the Lord here. In spite the difference in religious affiliation, human efforts exist to assist these Thai children. I am volunteering for this reason to learn how this organization functions, and to really understand this particular human development problem. Just today, I saw this beautiful little two year old Thai girl. Her hair was cut into a little bob and her face could have described the word innocent. Because of DEPDC, she stands a good chance of never having to face the horrors of forced child prostitution.
One day very soon, this story will be old news. A new day and world will have dawn. All parents around the world will understand and obey God’s laws (Isa. 66:23). Children will safely play in the streets in Jerusalem (Zech. 8:5), but also in every other street all around the world. Every human race and color will know the peace, joy and prosperity of living God’s way of life. Once humans understand exactly what causes their misery (Matthew 13:15-16), and they truly understand that sin is the breaking of God’s eternal, perfect law of love (1 John 3:4) as found in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:3-17), they can begin to learn HOW to obey God and desire the right way to live (Deuteronomy 5:29).
In that day, we will hear the Eternal say to all of us, “Let My Children Come Unto ME” (Mark 10:14-16, Matthew 25:34, Revelation 22:3).
At last the pain and horror and abuse of children will be no more (Revelation 22:4). But until that day, we must do what we can to assist those in need (Matthew 25:35-40), and pray for God’s deliverence for this sin ridden world (Ezekiel 9:4).
Copyright © 2010 June Narber, All Rights Reserved.