Women’s Day in Central Asia is an opportunity to show honour and respect to the women in our lives. Daughters, sisters, mothers and friends are showered with gifts, flowers and kind words.
But not all women receive this special treatment. For those in the sex industry, the evening of Women’s Day is often one of the busiest, most difficult times as single men throughout the region turn to the women’s services to distract themselves from the reality that they don’t have their own woman to spoil.
During this time our Operation Mercy volunteers were able to offer women in three brothels a small reprieve from their schedules – an opportunity to instead eat cake, receive gifts and discuss their hopes and fears.
Often when going into brothels we think that the women in sexual exploitation need a knight on a white horse – someone to charge in and drag them into a new life. In reality, due to various financial and psychological factors, most of the women aren’t ready for that. Rather, their biggest felt need is to have someone who isn’t there to benefit from them, but who wants to listen to their stories and to believe in them. That was the very thing our volunteers were able to do on Women’s Day.
On this and other days our volunteers go and meet with the women with no agenda and an ear to listen – to let the women know that they have the right to a voice in the decisions made about their futures and that they too have been seen and heard.