PART 1 – Brave Girl Human Trafficking Travel Journal – Manila Trip

Dear Friends,

This will be my first post about my (our) trip to Manila, Philippines… to work in the world of human trafficking (particularly women and girls being sold for sex) …. the first time I have written about it since I got home. Below is a photo of Jeanette and I with one of our new sisters that I will tell you a bit about in the coming posts. We were walking the streets of Angeles City, just outside of Manila….wearing shirts given to us by the girls at the safe house that said “YOU’RE NOT FORGOTTEN” as they took us into the brothels to help us understand what is happening there, and to talk to their sisters who they so want rescued…

photo by Jake Hixon crasheleven.com

You can look HERE to know more about why we went, etc…..we went with our friends from FULL CIRCLE EXCHANGE ,  a beautiful organization founded by my dear friends, Jeanette and Mark Priddy (and Mark’s brothers John and Ed Priddy), with the mission to”empower women and whole communities to rise above poverty through economic opportunities that are sustainable and dignified”…..and we have partnered to create a very wonderful plan to help what is going on out there in the world…..we need YOUR help too.

I simply have not been able to speak or write about it until today. So many of you made TRUTH CARDS after watching THIS VIDEO before we left……we took thousands of them with us and I can not wait to tell you about the miracles that happened because of those works of art that you made. I will tell these stories in multiple blog posts……

It has actually been a month since I came home and yesterday, I spoke of my trip for the very first time to a room of strangers. I just have not been able to speak of it….and have put off talking to my family and close friends and anyone who asks. I have not been able to figure out why…..it has just been locked up in my heart and won’t make it past there….and when I try to speak of it, the words will not come. Yesterday, I sat with Mark and Jeanette in a room of their friends and with their help, we spent 4 hours only scratching the surface of what we saw and experienced, and the plan that we are part of to do something to help.

So…I ask for your gentleness…your understanding as I try to start telling this story from my point of view. But first I must get a few things out of the way……

I have searched and searched for the reason that it is so hard for me to talk about it…and it all boiled down to one thing. I do not ever want to contribute to any reason for you or anyone else to ever use the word “whore” or “prostitute” or as some of the slang goes in the Philippines….”birds that fly low” . My apprehension has all boiled down to my fear that I will not be able to adequately put words to this that will make you see these beautiful girls as souls that are just like you and I….just like our daughters and our sisters and our mothers and our nieces and aunts and friends.

But I am going to try. Damn it, I am going to try (and I am sorry to swear……really….but sometimes, you just have to give words to some things are difficult to talk about and I hope with all that is in me that you see what it has taken me to climb to the top of a mountain to proclaim a thing or two from a megaphone)

This first blog post will be to beg you to come to understanding that you absolutely, positively have to come to before you can begin to understand this experience….10 days smack in the middle of sex tourism, sex trafficking, sex slavery, sex workers, sex for sale.

photo by Jake Hixon crasheleven.com

These are the places that I beg you to come to…before I can even begin…..

Her identity is not a whore. Or even a rescued whore. She is not a whore.

Her identity is not a prostitute. Her identity is not a former prostitute. She is not a prostitute.

Her identity is not of a product to be sold. She is not a product.

She is not less than. She is the same as.

She is a beautiful beautiful beautiful soul.

Even if she has “chosen” to work in the sex trade….she is a beautiful soul with a very complicated story. Many of these women and girls have “chosen” this because it was their only choice (which to me, makes it NOT a choice…because a choice requires multiple things to choose from…..in so many cases the choices are sex trade or die……sex trade or starve…sex trade or be beaten to death…) …..and so, one of the biggest problems in this huge problem is when those of us who DO have multiple choices in our lives write these women off when we ask a few questions from our own frame of reference and just say….”well, she chose that life…”

photo by Jake Hixon crasheleven.com

 There are millions of sex workers all over the world. They each have a story. This is not their identity. Each is a soul. Just like you and I. Each has hopes and dreams……her story and her life and her value goes far beyond being seen as a prostitute or a product to be sold.

But you see….I met, worked with and built a relationship mostly with girls who had been tricked, trapped, and enslaved into it….and who had been rescued…..they deserve to be free…they ARE free now…and they love to be free….and their #1 goal is to help their sisters to be free….here they are….the girls who changed my life forever……

 photo by Jake Hixon crasheleven.com

we worked together…we did SOUL RESTORATION work, we did job training…..but we spent our days and nights in the thick of the streets, brothels and face to face and heart to heart with girls who are still stuck in it…….whether they “chose” it or whether they had been taken there against their will…..these girls are trapped, stuck, sucked in, oppressed….no matter how they got there………no matter the beautiful smile on their face and the provocative bikini or mini skirt and the 5” heels……….her soul aches. When you spend a few minutes talking to her…………….and SEEING HER…….not just listening to her but HEARING HER……she will tell you that her soul wants to be free.

I am angry. I am heart broken. I am confused about how this can be happening. I have nightmares and I think about it every day. I also know that I am exactly where I am supposed to be and that I will never be the same after this. I am grateful, thankful, compelled…..changed. I can not stay silent and I REFUSE TO DO NOTHING…..

Soooo….before I go into the specific stories and the specifics of all of it, before I beg you to help….I am going to illustrate to you something that I finally feel like explains what I think is happening, why it is happening….and how we can stop it from happening (and this is just concerning the attitude surrounding this…which has to change before we can make things change……)

I just want you to imagine the most disgusting cesspool and lake of smelly, disgusting, vile, poisonous, puke inducing sewer that you could ever imagine…just imagine it for a minute…without anything attached to it….don’t think of it as an analogy…just as what it is…

Imagine that you know where it is….you know how it smells, (it is the sewer, it is stinking, rotting garbage and filth…there are flies and rats all around it) so… you know that you just want to stay as far away as possible from it………and once you know about it…you learn to. (of course) You teach your children and friends to stay away from it…you talk about how much it stinks, how poisonous it is…how much disease it is spreading…how you must do all that you can to stay away from it…….and of course…it would be great for   it to be cleaned up….but for now….just stay away….it is so gross, so smelly, so disgusting…so dangerous, so vile….so absolutely opposite from everything good and true and beautiful and healthy…..

Ok….got that picture?

Now…imagine a girl that you love more than anything that gets thrown into it. Maybe she can swim, maybe she can’t. Maybe she even decided to jump in because someone told her that if she does it for a while, she can have the life she wants to have.

But she is in there, ok?

She is treading water, or she is drowning, but she is in there.

You see…..one of the problems with human trafficking (specifically sex trafficking) is that we turn away when we see it…..because it is disgusting….like this lake of sewer. It is dangerous, it is smelly, it is offensive. So we make our path in a way that we can avoid being near it. We orchestrate our life so that we do not have to smell it or see it. When we do approach it…..we look for a moment and then we look away. We look away before we see the souls that are in it. We only see the sewer, we only smell the smell. We only choke on the vileness that oozes off of it, making our eyes burn. We look away before we see the soul that is drowning or treading water in it.

What if it was your daughter, or your sister, or your niece? What if it was your best friend’s daughter or sister or niece?

We have got to stop thinking the girl is part of the sewer.

WE HAVE GOT TO STOP THINKING THAT THE GIRL IS PART OF THE SEWER.

THERE IS THE GIRL….AND THEN THERE IS THE SEWER.

We have got to stop looking away when we see the sewer….because she is in there.

I used to do it. I used to look…and then look away….what could I do, after all?

This is all that I will write today. I just have to do it like this because I know these girls now with all of my heart. I could not bear the thought of ever portraying them as anything dirty, used, usable, or less than. I spent long days and long nights with them, hearing their stories. I have to do all that I can to know for sure that I did my part in making sure that you know for sure that there is not ONE SINGLE SOUL in that sewer that IS the sewer. No matter what a big smile she has on her face (something she was trained to do) …. no matter how provocative her clothes and shoes (the clothes she is trained to wear) …no matter how happy she looks on the arm of some fat, old, disgusting pervert (she is forced to be with him) …….

SHE IS NOT THE SEWER. SHE IS IN THE SEWER.

AND SHE WANTS TO BE FREE……SHE DESERVES TO BE FREE.

photo by Jake Hixon crasheleven.com

(and I added some wings because they fly now)

Tomorrow I will begin. But for now….I just ask you to come to that place…..where no matter the photos I show you, or what you have heard, or what your frame of reference is….you will never think of her as a whore, or a prostitute, or less than…..EVER…..but only see her as a SOUL who is just like you, just like our daughters, mothers, aunts, nieces and friends.

I ask you to love her before I even tell you about her. Love her and SEE her.

(and I know you will…..because you sent love to her and I took it with me and she received it with great surprise and deep gratitude) I just had to say all of this before I can begin……..

More soon. (ahhh, I did it……breathe deep) Thank you for being patient with me.

xoxo

melody

photos by Jake Hixon of Crash Eleven Productions …. he went on the trip with us and he is an amazing photographer, videographer and film producer…please call him if you need an amazing guy like that to do amazing things for you…….you will love him.  Jake Hixon at crasheleven.com

p.s. if you haven’t watched the video about what we are doing to help….see here….

Comments

  1. Anna Maria says

    When something is too confronting its easy to pretend it isn’t happening. You faced it Melody and that took strength and courage. You’re a great example to us all ,well done.

  2. Cathy Raymer says

    Thank you, Melody, for your amazing sensitivity and listening well. Thank you to you and the team of beautiful people who went with you to reach out to these precious suffering souls. As a survivor myself I have less useless judgement and more helpful acceptance of anyone suffering. No matter what circumstances brought them to that point. We are to reach out to the hurting and the hopeless. They need pure selfless unconditional love- like God gives us. As we unite in loving and freeing others we ourselves experience more of the same. Many are being raised up to be champions of truth to set free those caught by the horrors of sex trafficking and other abuses. All human beings have the right to live free.

  3. Patty says

    Thank you for sharing, for your heart, for raising awareness…for loving on these sweet girls. I recently watched a movie called nefarious merchant of souls…at the end is this quote by William wilberforce (abolitionist in the 1800’s) ” you may choose to look the other way, but you can never again say that you did not know”. That pierces heart and has compelled me to action..at times I think the problem is so big …what can I do? I can make truth cards to share love and encouragement…thank you for that privilege and honor!

  4. Jill says

    I love this idea, and want to make the Truth Cards… but I can’t get the Truth Card kit w/pdfs to come up on my screen. Can someone tell me what to do please!!!!!

  5. Lynda says

    Melody, the term “low flying birds” immediately brings to mind the baby sparrows and robins that hatch in my back yard every spring. I have such anxiety for them when they begin to learn to fly. They aren’t strong enough to go very high, so they stay near the ground, flying from branch to branch, sometimes hiding in the grass while they rest for their next attempt at flight. They are beautiful and perfect, so vulnerable to being snatched from the air by predators as they try to make their way to the sky.

  6. Maria T McCabe says

    This is so heartbreaking but thank you for being so courageous and telling all of us about this horror. We know it exists but we need to have someone as loving and compassionate as you to separate the sewer from the beautiful girl and show us how lucky we have never had to live like these poor girls where a life like that is even an option. Thank you for showing me and all of us that there is horror like this but that we can do something to help. God Bless you Melody.

  7. Joelle says

    Just read this after watching your interview with Jeanne. You are one brave strong amazing woman, with the biggest most compassionate heart. You are making a difference, everywhere. Thank you for being you.

  8. Glenda says

    Soul-fully & bravely concur in mind, thought and deed regarding your spiritual connection with the lovely soul-sisters from afar. I have a group of women who would like to gather together and create some truth cards for your next trip…I would like to coordinate this Truth Card Party in the Spring and hope that you will be able to utilize the cards very soon.
    Wishfully yours,
    Glenda

  9. patricia says

    This is truly a amazing venture you have been called to do , i am a strong beliver that we all have a purpose in this life of ours and your is to do what you do ! hugs keep flying !

  10. Christine E says

    Thanks Melody, this has been on my mind a lot the last couple of days….girls women, our place in the world, fate, poverty, choices, and the ways sexuality is used to trap people. I just finished the book I am Nujood, age 10 and divorced. There are so many thoughts in my head, things I am trying to work out and looking for a place to talk about it all.

    Complicated, doesn’t that say it all. How one thing is tied to the next and the next. I feel helpless to do anything. Seeing these girls as my sisters, seeing their life as a rode that I would have taken if given the same plot to write is the easy part. Knowing how to help, that is where I get stuck, because you are right, it is so complicated. It is hard not to think how unfair life is. I was born into a place where education was free, the corner market has plenty of food to purchase, and social programs help to protect those who can not protect themself. What feels like a million miles away a baby girl is born, with all of the light and sparkle in her eyes that I had, but her life was robbed of choices before she knew she even wanted make them. Ok so part 2, how does a simple girl from the middle of America help change a culture she doesn’t understand?

    Take care of yourself Melody, really really good care of yourself.

  11. cheryl andrews says

    I feel passionate about making cards – thank you for the opportunity to show my love , concern, and care for others who so desperately need to feel truly loved, I wish no more women, girls, /people will be used, abused, and treated this way.

  12. Kathy Mahurin says

    Wow, is about all I can manage to express right now. Wow, that you’ve really made me see the souls behind the faces. I have watched many shows about the plight of these beautiful lost girls, read many stories about the ones who have made it out. Never before have I truly understood what it must be like for them. Your analogy was the perfect way for all of us to really see those beautiful souls. I’m so impressed that you were able to make this journey, and to allow it to change your life so profoundly that you wanted to really make a difference to help them get out. Now I can’t just go on like I did before. You’ve inspired me to want to help in whatever way I can. I will be sending many truth cards, and buying as many of their products that I can afford. This is not just a problem that is happening in a far away country, this is in our own backyard. It is absolutely every where. Right under everyone’s noses. Thank you Melody, thank you for making such a difference in so many lives. It’s not just all the braves girls lives that you have changed, you have changed their families& friends lives, for generations to come. I really admire you. Thank you for spreading your love! Thank you for sharing your soul with all of us brave girls.

  13. says

    It’s hard for me to digest everything you wrote about. It was a story that will always be with with me…I can’t imagine being there living their nightmare. It’s awesome that you were able to meet these beautiful souls and work with them, know them for who they are, share stories and give them hope!! I love photos of the beautiful smiles on each of those girls faces. Your doing a great thing here and we all support and love what your doing. Take your time telling the stories…I will be waiting anxiously for part 2. Peace…Yvette

  14. diana says

    I took SR2 is SR the same, would I be doing this as a repeat class? just wanting to know if I would be paying 25.00 or 99.00

  15. Betty says

    Melody, you are their voice. Thank you for speaking for them. What an amazing gift it was for you to get to meet these young ladies. I am working on more truth cards. I can imagine how surprising it must be for these young ladies to hold a truth card and to be told it was made by someone so far away that really cares for them — it must be hard for them to believe. We must keep trying.

    I feel blessed to have found Brave Girls and to have gotten to “know” you Melody through your writings. I am a bit older than most of your members, as well as you, but I have found so many times that you write/speak to just what I need at the moment. You and your family have such open and giving hearts. It is an honor to “know you” through your works.

    My daughter and I are looking forward to Mother/Daughter camp this year. Has been on our bucket list for years. So excited that one of our dreams are coming true.

    Holding you and all the Brave Girl workers in my prayers.
    Betty

  16. Annie Harris says

    Melody…
    My heart to your heart…
    My Soul to your Soul…
    My pain is your pain…
    My tears are your tears…
    We walk together…in dark and in light…
    To seek His Truth and Grace and Joy…
    But…
    for now…
    Love…
    my Brave One…
    is…
    True…
    and, is…
    Yours…

    Annie

  17. Sheryl Eggleston says

    That absolutely breaks my heart! All of those beautiful souls enslaved with no way out of the cesspool. If there is any way I can help, please don’t hesitate to call me Melody. I can help teach skills or whatever especially as you begin to work closer to home. I would think that various yarn companies would donate supplies for knitted or crocheted goods, etc.

  18. Heather Parrish says

    Dear sweet Melody,

    Thank you for being a protective mama lion & bear for these dear souls! I dare say they haven’t always had someone want to fiercely protect them…as they should be protected. My heart aches for all who are in the sewer. Thank you for giving me a tangible way to help, through the truth cards. I will be honest & say the reason I had such a hard time ever wanting to help is because it reminded me of my own history of sexual abuse. If I just ignored the sex trafficking epidemic, then I wouldn’t have to be reminded of my painfull past… No more! 2013 is my year to finally deal with my past, so that I can be a light for those in the darkest of places. You are so precious! Thank you for allowing Jesus to shine through you! You are so very loved!
    heather

  19. says

    Oh Melody…

    Over tears brimming over and falling into my coffee cup this morning…I thank you from deep in my heart for sharing what you have here…in such a tender, loving and precious way. You are helping to open the eyes and the hearts of so many people to really SEE the souls of these young women. To let go of any judgements that may have closed our hearts in the past….and to offer our love and compassion and help instead.

    I completely understand why you have not been able to speak about your time there until today. And to do it in the way that felt right to your soul. It is the perfect way to allow all those who read your words to embrace all of this with love and light.

    God bless you Mel. I love you. xoxo Sandi

  20. Tina Dirksen says

    Theres a program on the OWN network called “Our America” with Lisa Ling and I think tonight they have an episode about Sex Trafficing here in America…really strange how I read this post a couple hrs before seeing that it was on tonight..I’m not a big “news” watcher so normaly I don’t see many stories or info about these kinds of problems. Sometimes we have to pay attention to the signs God is giving us. This happens to me all the time, I hear of something and then all of a sudden its everywhere, does that make sense?
    I would love to help in anyway I can. I feel what you are saying. I have never looked down upon or judged women for being involved in prostitution..clearly they need love and understanding more than anyone!. I have always felt compassion for those in this kind of situation..many so young..My heart ahes for these girls & women. You are so incredible to be so giving with your time and love. I am convinced that you are a real life angel from above..you have changed the lives of so many people, I am so thankful that I found Brave Girls Club and such amazing role models.

  21. Theresa says

    Melody, thank you for braving the pain that comes from reliving soul-wrenching experiences. I appreciate so very much this celebration of hope and restoration. You help me believe my small contribution makes a difference.

  22. Chrystal says

    I have always felt such a connection to your heart– God brought your words into my life at a time when I needed them the most… our feelings– very, very similar in so so many ways. God has laid Human trafficing on my heart in a way that a day doesn’t go by where I’m not praying for the victims caught up in the sex slave industry. A ministry that is dear to my heart, “Project Rescue” spoke at our church & it grabbed me in a way that I will never be the same. Everywhere I turn, I am hearing about this horrible, horrible crime and I can’t help but think that God is laying it in front of me to DO something– anything.. just SOMETHING. Human Trafficing is happening everywhere in this world… 3rd world countries, little girls as young as 10 years old are being sold or kidnapped & forced into this industry and it sickens me. Fathers being told their daughter will be given a better life due to poverty. My heart aches…… I never realized how prevlant it was right here in U.S until everytime I read our local paper, I am constantly reminded by hearing of white vans driving around our city, kidnapping girls— how sex rings are talked about– it’s everywhere. I am a momma to 5 daughters & it frightens me to think that it could happen to them. It has been heavy on my heart– these poor girls, these woman… for about 6mo. now– heavy. Then I came onto your blog a month ago and see what you are doing… and my heart cried out. God placed you in my path.. in so many of our paths.. for a reason., You are an encourager to so many… but to now hear of you stepping out & helping pave a way for all of us to take action.. in whatever form that may be.. I commend you, Melody and I am grateful. Yes, some woman have choosen this path.. and yet so many others have not. They are kidnapped, or tricked… then beaten, drugged, and forced into this horrible crime. So many people are not aware of this & I’m SO SO glad that you are being the voice of so many girls who have no voice. Keep stepping forward in obidence, Melody. YOU are making a difference— bringing awareness to this dark, dark crime in itself is so important…. Proverbs 24:12 tells us that “Once our eyes are opened, we can’t pretend we don’t know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act.” — I have always turned to this verse in orphan care & awareness.. now I see it in a whole new light. There is a new movie coming out called ” Not Today”— about the sex slave industry in India…. check it out. I appreicate you sharing your heart, melody…. you are a true light!!!!

  23. Sara Windsor says

    Melody,
    I so appreciate your honest, heartfelt sharing of what you are experiencing as a result of your trip to the Phillipines. I can imagine you must have a whole journey to get to the point to share…and how beautifully you relate your experiences and feelings. Take your time, know that most of us truly know what precious souls all these girls and women are and that we support them and you. Thanks so much for allowing us to be a small part of the important work you are doing.
    Peace to your heart,
    Sara

  24. Misha says

    Tears….Thank you so much for sharing. Sending prayers…mojo….and Big Love to those Beautiful Souls, and of course you as well :)

  25. says

    I like to watch caop shows, crime shows and stuff of that nature. A couple years ago I saw a show about the sex trade in asia. Now I can’t remember what show it was or anything but I remember what happened. The fact that anyone could think badly of these girls makes me sick. They (in some cases) know nothing else than that life because that is what they are taught, trained and forced to do. This particular show I saw was about setting up a sting in one particular brothel where some girls were as young as nine. AS YOUNG AS NINE, dressed in dresses and heels. The men were caught and the people running it were caught and the girls were moved into some sort of foster care in the end. It made me sick. I have not thought about much since then until this last month of hearing about your story and the work your doing. But this has reminded me what I saw, how I felt and the terribleness that is the everyday for these women and girls because they need more help to get out. They need help not being forced into this at age nine. Thank you melody for the work that your doing. I know a simple thank you doesn’t sound like much, but what your doing is important.

  26. says

    Thank you Mel for using this huge blessing that God has given you for good, to better the world and to bring some love and peace to these sweet girls. Thank you also for sharing it with us so we can SEE that it is there, really there.

  27. Becky says

    ohh Melody, you just made me cry while reading your post, each word penetrates the innermost of my heart. I can’t help but to thank God for how He made you come on that trip for you to see and experienced it yourself. I always thank God everytime I remember you and your beautiful heart. Thank you for being an inspiration to all of us here at the Hope House. And to all of you here at the Brave Girls Club… THANK YOU for the encouragement you have brought to our girls through your truth cards. Th girls just loved what you did to their picture… adding wings. Very symbolic… let’s continue the work in giving wings to those girls, allow them to fly and be free from the bondage of slavery.

  28. Dianne says

    Thank you for sharing the truth.
    Will the girls see a copy of the picture with wing, I hope so, they look so beautiful and FREE

  29. Dragonfly says

    What beauty and light your work and your words bring to the world Melody. Thanks you for reminding us to LOOK and to SEE and to LISTEN and to HEAR – to remember that our life experiences do not define us and to seek opportunities to reach out and help others – just as the life experiences these beautiful souls have endured do not define them. Thank you to all those in Brave Girls Club for giving us these opportunities and for working so hard to get the Truth Cards organized so that you could take them with you. As much as I hope these cards planted seeds of hope for our sisters in Manilla, I also know that they planted seeds of hope and purpose for each of us who made them. And so, in reaching out and opening our souls to others, we also gifted ourselves and strengthened our corner of the world as well. This is all part of the gift your warm heart is giving to us!!

    I also want to comment on the beautiful photographs of the precious women and how you have transposed butterfly wings behind each of them in the second picture. How symbolic of the work you and they are doing – the safe house is their cocoon – a place where they can rest for awhile and liquify their former life and all that they were to find the best of who they can be – emerging with beautiful wings and displaying their courage and strength to the world. What a powerful message of HOPE for them and for us!! Please let us know what we can do to continue to support you with his endevor.

  30. Laurie Jacobsen says

    Dear, Sweet Melody,
    I can only imagine why this has been so hard for you to express. Please know that we will wait until you’re ready and we’ll hold space for you to tell your stories and we will hear about these beautiful souls in whatever time it takes. I’ve said it before that you are love and you are. I love you so much.

  31. Barb says

    I am so overwhelmed with your courage, not only to go there, but to actually do something and now talk about it. I volunteered for the superbowl when It was in my town and as workers, they trained us on what to look for. We had one incident and handled it like we were supposed to. My heart went out to the girl. This is a huge problem and you are leading the way to show us what we all need to do. Love you.

  32. Therese in Australia says

    You are doing an amazing and loving thing. Your words are powerful. God bless you in all you do. I will be praying for you as you share your experience in Manila and as you plan future works.

  33. says

    Oh, melody. I am just now realizing the rampant sex trade RIGHT HERE in Riverside, calif. what? Yep. It’s here. Unbelievable. Thank you for your words. Every woman deserves to be free.
    xoxo
    Lynn

  34. Heken Yarrow says

    Oh Melody,
    I only came across Brave Girl’s Club recently but it has been life changing!~ You write from your heart and so incredibly! I am touched deeply by your article!
    I went with a team to Cambodia and Thailand last year to spend time with an organisation that rescues these girls. We went to Pattaya Beach where these incredible girls are trapped (as you say even if they have smiles on the outside).
    Then we met the girls who have been rescued and put personal faces to these beautiful women (some oh SO young!) We met the girls we sponsor and took them shopping and to carnivals just so they could feel free again and get back some of their lost innocence.
    When I read your words you describe it just like it is and I can never get them out of my heart now!
    Keep doing what you are doing and reminding us! We CAN and we WILL make a difference even if it is one girl at a time!
    God bless you Melody!!

  35. says

    This made me tear up. I have been watching the pbs special called Half the Sky (a documentary about the book) and i couldnt stop crying. i just kept thinking about the brave souls trapped in those hard circumstances. I want to do more to help, but for now I will promise not to look away until i have the means or opportunity to do more. Love you Melody.

  36. kathy b says

    Thanks for sharing melody. My daughter ran away when she was a senior in high school. She was gone for 6 weeks. That was the most horrible experience of my life but thank God she came back to me. Ii think of what could have happened to her when Iread these words.. so Ilook at these women/girls as though they could be my daughter.

  37. Michelle Lekar says

    Thank you for sharing with us Melody – I can’t begin to imagine how hard it was/is for you to put into words that hell that you saw. My heart is aching for those girls – know that you did and are making a difference. Much love to you sister!!

  38. says

    My heart has been broken on so many levels. I see things differently now. I cry for those who are not where they should be. I pray to find a way to stop this, and keep these girls safe. All the girls.

  39. Missy Brooks says

    We are supposed to be watching for where God is working – and join Him there. Thank you for joining Him there and taking us along. It will be an incredible journey to join.

  40. Dianne West says

    So grateful for your beautiful heart, Melody, your caring soul, your willingness to make a difference in our sisters’ – these brave girls’ – lives. I watched your interview with Jeanne Oliver earlier today and when you spoke of your time in Manila it touched me deeply.

    And yes, I love these girls, these women, these brave, brave souls – and I SEE them and will patiently await your next post. ♥

  41. Susan says

    Melody, dear one, you have been chosen for this work and I am proud to be a very small part of it. I’m glad that you are now able to speak of what you saw and experienced and about shining light into this darkness. I look forward to hearing more, as I know that even with all the darkness there is also so much love and hope and light that is now at work in the lives of these beautiful souls. You are the bravest of the the Brave Girls. I love you and your loving spirit!

  42. Kellye Kimmel-Fondren says

    Thank you so much for the reminder that we all need. One sad fact is that many of these girls do not have anyone that is looking for them or cares about looking for them. I think this feeds into the way the public sees them as being “thrown away” and therefore not worthy, which is totally not the case. You are so right that they are important, beautiful souls just like any other girl in the world. I have always thought that human trafficking was a horrid thing, but never knew what I could do to help. Now I know that I can make some truth cards and that you will get them to girls/women who will then receive them and hopefully it will be a small thing that will touch their hearts, to know that another person in the world does not view them as a piece of trash, but rather as a human being, worthy of unconditional love and never ever being thought of as a prostitute or a whore. I’m so sorry that you saw the things you probably saw while you were there, but I’m sure that it is part of your life plan and purpose, to help, because that is what you do best Melody Ross. Take care of yourself. You are so brave. xoxo Kellye

  43. says

    Thank you for sharing this with us…I felt so still reading your words. I sent a truth card and I am honored to “know” you and the caring you have within you and the fact that you are doing so much to help, to care for and to love these girls. I can honestly say I never thought negatively about the girls themselves, because I know they truly feel they have no choice–it is heartbreaking. I feel for them and they are so lucky to have you taking them under your wing (no pun intended).

    Jill

  44. Vennita says

    Thank you s very much for sharing. I appreciate that you waited until your heart was ready. We love you for what you are doing, and inspiring us all to do! Go you BRAVE girl, GO!

  45. Kate Ware says

    Oh Melody. You did it. And there are lives that are forever changed because of you. Not just there. Here. Mine. The next person to read your post. You are an amazing, generous, beautiful soul, and we are each of us blessed to have been touched by your knowledge, your heart, your love. I won’t forget their souls, Melody. I won’t turn away. Thank you for sharing with us – thank you for being you. Much love!!

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