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Hospitality in a Brothel


It was the last thing I expected in a brothel. I guess in my mind a brothel was just a hell-hole devoid of any humanity. But there it was… “Can I get you something to drink? It’s really hot in here.”

She was right. It WAS hot in there. The air was still and stifling. Over fifty bodies squished together, sitting on hard benches, bare-shoulder to bare-shoulder. They sat in rows, each face heavily made up, each skirt absurdly short, and each neckline low enough to reveal what they were trying to sell.  I almost felt jealous of their clothing. At least they were getting some relief from the heat, whereas my jeans and tunic were turning dark with the quantity of sweat they were absorbing.

That feeling passed quickly though when I saw the tinted glass window in the front of the room. On the other side of that glass was a row of men, five or six at any given time. The girls mostly ignored them. Some spent the time on their phones texting friends or scanning Facebook. Others took the opportunity to chat with their friends in the room.  To close my eyes and listen, it would have sounded like any social get-together full of friendly women.

But this was no party. This was a job. And every few minutes I was reminded of that when a name was called out over the loud speaker, and a young woman would stand up and head out the door to meet the man on the other side of the glass who owned her for the next few hours.

“Can I get you something to drink? It’s really hot in here.” It was a question that seemed out of place where bodies were sold like car accessories. It reminded me of how much more I have in common with the woman who asked me than I don’t. It reminded me that these women are people every bit as real as I am, who are experiencing the same kind of devastation that I would if I were in their position. Sometimes I think I pretend that they are somehow more naturally able to handle horrible circumstances than I am. They aren’t. They are flesh and blood, like me. They grieve and experience trauma, like me. They get hot and thirsty, like me. And like me, they offer hospitality to their guests… even in a brothel.

2 Comments (Add Yours)

  1. Wow! God bless you in your work! <3 I hope to do this kind of work someday.

  2. Michelle, thanks for sharing this. My prayers are with you. God bless you and give you wisdom as you minister to these women.
    I try to imagine what it would be like to be in a place like this and I plead the blood of Christ over you.

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