Ruins: Slave Trafficking in Thailand

[phil h] / / CC BY-NC-ND

Everywhere I turn ruins surround me: broken homes, broken families, broken people and broken lives. Even the buildings and towering architecture, once the pride and glory of man, reflect the ruined state of this country.

Ashes sift in the wind from the burnt buildings, and just as quickly as the flames consumed this security of man so too the flames destroy the hope of man. Even so, brightly, for one brief moment burns the flame, then it fades into oblivion and the ravished are left to grope in darkness.

Reality sets in as I gaze around me into chaos and disorder. People are just people, in every nation, country or tongue — we are the same. Each has his struggle, weakness, misery, secret, joy, happiness, dream and hope.

Atlas has shrugged and left the weight of the world to rest on our weary shoulders. Each of us has paused under the weight, the heavy pressure that would crush and consume us.

Each day as I walk down the road, I witness the struggle of those who bear this heavy burden that I no longer carry. I see the men God created to be strong and tall reduced by the greed and cruel desires of others, often family, and by so many being forced into what people call Lady-Boys.

Maybe their family had no daughters, but still wanted to have the motorcycle or the flat screen television the neighbors can afford now that they have sent one or two of their daughters to the big city to sell the one possession they have. So the family chose the most feminine looking of their sons or the least valued and placed him on female hormones for a few years before getting him the surgery and sending him to the city as a Lady-Boy to sell himself. Or maybe after years of abuse and rape by men in his life, often temple monks, the wounded young man followed a horrific path never meant for him to more pain and wounds.

Truly, many of these Lady-Boys who flash smiles at me before resuming the dance of shame under a vacant mask are more delicate and beautiful than I could ever dream of being. Yet, never would I envy the ruins in which they live.

Nite is my favorite Lady-Boy of all. She smiles so brightly as we embrace and chat each day. She sometimes holds my hand and she loves posing for pictures. She is obsessed with beauty and dreams of being light skinned and having light eyes. She tells me I am so beautiful and pulls one of my curls. She smiles, laughs and beats me at pool every time I play her. The other girls fuss just as much over this Lady-Boy as any other member of their bar family. She is one of them and for the first time in her life, she is accepted and belongs — to a certain extent.

In the most horrible circumstances my friends live. With smiles, soft voices, laughter, humor and a ton of makeup they so diligently wear their masks and try to hide their bruises, wounds and pain. To show emotion, especially pain, is a shameful weakness, unacceptable culturally.

In their minds, the ruins in which they live were built by their own hand alone and no one else’s. When they are choked, it is because they talk too much and when they are beat it is only bad karma they earned from a previous life.

The ruins surround and overwhelm me. Where is civilization? Yet just as the Phoenix rises from the ashes, so too do I glimpse a glittering glimmer of hope through the ashes for once my life was a ruin and I too carried the burdens of the world which were crushing my spirit. But another took my burden and from the ruins of my fallen life He made me into His own beautiful image with love and tender hands.

How I wish my beautiful friends would meet my Savior and be forever freed from the crushing weight of the world they carry on their shoulders and from the masks they are forced to wear. How I wish they would meet my Lord.

Sunday, June 27, 2013

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