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Det här är en intervju med Lisa Samuelsen, grundaren till Eden Ministry. Hon är kanske den starkaste, mest godhjärtade och genuina kvinnan jag träffat och har bokstavligen gett hela sitt liv till att rädda tjejer från trafficking och prostitution. Det är också tack vare henne som jag fått chansen att vara här.
Jag ville inte översätta intervjun då jag vill att det ska vara 100% hennes ord, men jag antar att det inte är några problem då ni alla förhoppningsvis kan engelska.
Can you tell us what it’s like and how it looks like in the red light district areas?
For the last 14 years of my life I have been weekly reaching out in some red light area in South East Asia. Each country looks different. Thailand is very open and in your face while other areas in Myanmar, where people are very poor, its like busy truck stops and bus stops where the girls and the pimps hide between the trucks and cars. In Hong Kong there are whole buildings given over to one women brothels that are run by the triads. There are in every nation prostitution on every level. From street prostitution to high end 5-star hotel prostitution
In each place I see the exploitation of vulnerability. Girls from poor backgrounds who because of debt or family problems with sickness-have no other way than to fall prey to traffickers and those who want to exploit them.
For me this is a lifetime commitment and in fact I recently had a pimp tell me that he noticed we were different. He saw many people come and go with clipboards and questionnaires for them, but we came faithfully every week for years, building relationships, sharing life and praying for family issues.
What are the biggest obstacles you are facing to actually get the girls from the street?
The biggest obstacles to get the girls out of the street is the trauma. There are such things called trauma bonds that keep girls in exploitive situations. Its kind of like the “Stockholm syndrome”. They stay with exploitive bosses and exploitive pimps and even the shared trauma keeps the girls together in a strange way that bonds them. For many the life of control that they know is easier than the freedom that they don’t know.
The other difficulty is the “lover boy” situation where the girls are forced into sexual exploitation by boyfriends who do not love them but use them for income. The girls are convinced these men love them and sacrifice themselves for this love. These girls are the most difficult to reach with the truth, because they have deceived themselves.
I understand that you have seen and experienced a lot through these years. Can you share a situation that was extra scary?
Working with the mafia is of course challenging but I have to say though, in 14 years I have never felt afraid or worried. These people have become my friends. I know them, their family issues and difficulties. I know their background and this breaks the fear. But they fight with each other and that can be scary if a fight begins when you are on outreach and they get out their knives. Then we need to move away quickly.
I remember once when the police raided the area and our team and a brothel owner were hiding. We had been meeting with him when the police arrived so we hid in the darkness of his brothel for a long time and I was thinking about the situations this work takes me to. Hiding out in brothels from the police in order to build relationships.
Everyone is trapped in this darkness; pimp, girl, mafia boss and customer. Each one carries their darkness and longs for a time of freedom.
The Eden Mission is Reach, Rescue and Restore. Can you tell us what some of the girls that’s been through the whole Eden program are doing right now?
This is my favourite part, to see the girls having gone through the program to be empowered as leaders and skilled women.
One girl who was trafficked to China and horrifically beaten by her traffickers is now managing the Eden shop, dealing with customers and daily stock. Another girl is a professional make up artist working in TV and Theatre while another girl is a qualified accountant.
There was a wedding for one of the Eden staff recently and hundreds of the Eden girls that had graduated from the program came. Some of them married now, some with young children, smiling and happy. The trauma had faded to a distant memory and they stood together as a testimony that it is possible to overcome such great abuse and not just to survive but to thrive.
Jag vill bara säga ett stort tack till alla er som läser, delar mina inlägg och hjälper till att uppmärksamma det här. Tack vare er har jag fått chansen att göra intervjuer för bland annat dessa tidningar vilket i sin tur kommer leda till att verkligheten kring human trafficking kommer upp till ytan och att det förhoppningsvis får ske en förändring för små flickor världen över som just nu lever eller kommer att tvingas leva i fångenskap i framtiden. Syftet med bloggen har alltid varit att göra tjejernas röster hörda och därför är jag så glad att jag har fått de här möjligheterna. Tusen tack verkligen.
Och sen måste jag bara säga att oj vad konstigt det var att se sig själv sitta där och prata. Jaja, jag är bara glad att jag inte hade mat mellan tänderna då jag har gått och oroat mig för det sen jag gjorde intervjun. Skönt att få svar på det också.
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