Have you ever been confronted by a problem that is just too big to solve? A large immovable mountain that dominates the landscape of your world. Shifting it seems impossible. Overwhelmed and intimidated you open your mouth to speak but nothing comes out. You feel powerless. Dwarfed by the magnitude of the forces against you, you forget you even have a voice.
10 years ago I met my mountain. Leaving the international airport in Phnom Penh in 2005 on my first visit to Cambodia, I was confronted by a startling image. Across the road was a large billboard containing the darkened shadowy image of an adult holding a small child by the hand. Underneath the image were written the words, ‘It’s wrong to have sex with children’. I was shocked! Was it really necessary to make such an overt statement about something so fundamentally obvious?
It is impossible to visit Cambodia and remain unaware of the heart wrenching crimes of child slavery and forced prostitution. Over the course of that first trip I sadly realised that yes, overt statements really are necessary. Every year as many as 100,000 girls, as young as 4 years old, are sold into sexual slavery. Alarmingly, most are sold by people they know and trust. Statistics also reveal that more than 80% of rescued girls will return to prostitution.
Human trafficking is an incredibly complex issue. Far from being black and white, human trafficking disguises itself in varying shades of grey. Poverty, institutionally embedded corruption, the compromise that exists within every human heart and social acceptance of these violations as normal or even necessary, join forces to form a fortress so comprehensively entrenched it seems impenetrable. A mountain that cannot be moved.
There are no words that can describe the betrayal and despair that fills the hearts of young women sold into slavery by the very people supposed to protect them. But God has given His daughters a voice and our voices have the power to move mountains!
Two years ago during a conversation with a friend who works for a rescue organization, God sparked something in my spirit and reminded me of the power of my voice. As my friend shared her discouragement over the number of girls returning to prostitution and unable to break free from the cycle of brokenness, God spoke to my heart a simple statement and a powerful message,
‘My daughters are not victims. Their voices can change their nation.’
In that moment God changed the way I saw myself and it changed the way I saw my mountain. His divine whisper made way for my quiet beginning and Esther’s Voice was established.
The heartbeat of Esther’s Voice is transformation. It is impossible for any of us to remain in a permanent state of rescue. God’s word promises He will not leave us in our current state of helplessness. Instead He empowers us to be part of the miracle that transforms our world by changing the way we see ourselves.
Esther’s Voice works in partnership with both NGO’s and local churches and brings strength and support to the incredible work they are doing. As well as ministering with organisations involved with rescue and training, we also focus on the prevention of sex trafficking through our ministry with women in the villages. The emphasis of the village ministry is on breaking cycles of brokenness and empowering women to bring change into their own lives and families through healthy decision-making.
As momentum gathers and the voices of hope become louder my faith has grown so much bigger and by comparison that mountain is getting smaller. We can be part of a miracle. Change is happening and my mountain is moving.
Esther’s Voice ‘Your Moment To Bring Change’
For more information please visit www.kubalaministries.org
- UNICEF 2006
- US Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report 2005