Eden began in a very simple way: two housewives with only one evening a week to spare had a desire to do something about human trafficking in their city. They began to prayer-walk around the red light areas and build relationships with all those involved in the sex industry. The vision was to bring God’s love to everyone involved in the sex industry and to see them set free. Twelve years later, we have created multiple shelters in major trafficking hubs in Asia, established an international jewelry business and witnessed thousands of people from the sex industry be impacted with God’s love.
Eden Ministry provides skills, training and employment to empower each woman that comes through our doors to find their worth, dignity and fresh hope for the future
Nearly every woman that has left the red light districts and come to Eden is a survivor of trafficking where they were coerced, forced or deceived into sex work for the commercial benefit of others. They were exploited because someone took advantage of the fact that they were vulnerable in one way or another. They have experienced sexual violence, other abuse and trauma in the process. In the red light districts, the women lived a life under the close watch or control of their bosses and others. They were intimidated and threatened into compliance. They were often confined. They became human commodities traded on the streets, entertainment establishments, or increasingly, on the internet. Most importantly, they lived in shame and hopelessness – believing that hope and freedom were out of their reach.
In recent years, Eden has also been receiving a rising number of women who have been trafficked across the borders, usually for sex. Some are sold into foreign countries as brides, married to men that they have never met before and often in socio-economic circumstances equal to, or worse than, the rural villages of the home country which they had travelled from. Many of these arranged marriages were premised on lies, deception and false promises. The marriages were often characterized by violence, abuse and sometimes rape from the husband and the husband’s family members. The long journey for these foreign women to return to their home country or to a safe environment is fraught with challenges because often they lack legal identification, and there are language barriers, racial discrimination and a lack of support of friends and family.
This was everyday reality for many of the women that we now work alongside in our international jewelry business and have the privilege to love and serve. It is also what we continue to see every week when we go out to the red light districts to invite women to our company. It is raw, complex and messy. But this is real – and it is still happening. This is not an embellished account of what goes on – you simply do not sensationalize the lives of women who have become your family. Because this is who they are to us.
All profits from Eden Ministry benefit each woman that comes to Eden (salary, services, shelter and other programs), so that more of the women that leave the red light districts can be provided with the opportunity to gain training and employment.