I don't know my age, but I remember my kidnapper. "I'll help you find your family," he said in a soothing voice. That was the last morning I'd seen my Mother and Father. He told me I belonged to him now as his laborer. This was the beginning of my nightmare. Repeated rapes followed. I hated him. And because my body brought bad luck, I also hated myself. He "trained" me to become a sex slave while annihilating my innocence. Then, like a commodity, he sold me to a brothel.
The polluted stream of drunken men, handling me like a cheap toy, is a memory I'd love to bury. "Whore!" they'd scoff before discarding me in the ash pile. When I refused to cooperate, the brothel owner punished me with beatings, electrocution, and starvation.
"No more," I yelled, "let me die!" Darkness, steeped in vinegar, clothed me. Death's finality taunted me like a mirage. If the grave meant freedom from this rotting prison, then I'd find a way. But something miraculous happened instead.
I'll never forget the loud hammering on my shanty's lock. Nor will I forget the face of my hero; he risked his life for mine. Praise God! I've been rescued! God not only raised me from the ash pile, but He also placed me in a new family.
My new name is Agraciana, which means "forgiveness." Dignity greets me on her royal road. Peace is finally mine. I refuse to step foot on selfishness and deceit's low road. Nor will I adorn my head with weighted lies: raped women are scum below men's feet.
My new passion is to rescue, restore, and educate similar young girls at the shelter where I work in Cambodia. There is nothing as beautiful as a little girl's innocence: her ability to love, laugh and play. My shelter seeks to restore some of these girls' childhood; love empowers.
Consider the following facts: brothel owners force 10-30 clients upon these girls daily, for the owner's selfish bounty. Much of the outside world either turns away or isn't aware of the frequency and enormity of sex trafficking. Families seldom come forward when their child is abducted for fear of retaliation.
Men have gotten away with this injustice for years. They think it's noble to take away a girl's virginity. Even local authorities won't aid in rescuing if military personnel capture these girls. Most perpetrators are drunk, thoughtlessly spreading sexual diseases. When a girl becomes pregnant, her baby is aborted.
Please pray that these girls will overcome their trauma. Some are only infants when stolen and/or sold into brothels, some by their own parents. One of my dying girls asked, "Agraciana, when you speak, will you tell men: 'A few moments of your pleasure kills me?'"
Please pray for the project workers and those who seek justice. Pray that our culture will turn from this evil. Pray for the offenders, for they will answer to Almighty God. Finally, pray how God might use you to help in this work. One person can't do everything, but one can do something. Together, God can move mountains through us. With funding, my shelter can rescue, restore, and educate these precious girls. Like me, they'll educate others and effect change. For these girls, I stand tall.
*This story is fictitious as told from Agraciana's point of view; however, the circumstantial happenings are not. I gathered most of my information from the documentary, Half the Sky.
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