Encountering China's Trafficked Daughters
IMAGE: All Girls Allowed


When the bus arrived at our destination, I could hardly believe I was there. We stepped out and were asked to be as quiet as possible; not to speak, but to follow our guide. Creeping up the stairs slowly and quietly, we held our shoes in our hands. We'd been told China doesn't like large gatherings of people in homes. In fact, they are quite suspicious of it, so we had to be careful not to draw any attention to ourselves. To do this, once off the bus, we went upstairs in groups of three or four people, 10 to 15 minutes apart.


Everyone waited at the door of the apartment we were visiting while each member of our team climbed the four flights of stairs. Then, we all entered the room together. Sitting quietly, some with smiles, some with uncertainty, were about a dozen beautiful Chinese women. Some were in their very early 20s, others still in their teens. My heart sank and soared all in one fell swoop. I marveled, with a lump in my throat and heart beating in my chest, at how God brings the lives of people together.


These girls were the faces of China's sex trafficking industry. Once tortured, raped, and sold in China's brothels, they were now rescued, redeemed by the Gospel, and on their way to restoring their lives with the help of an anti-trafficking ministry. We had come to invest a week of our lives into the precious girls of this shelter.


As we made it through the doorway and sat amongst the girls, I began to empathize with them immediately. My story does not compare to theirs, but losing my innocence at age four gives me an inkling of the shame they bear. They knew we were aware they had been trafficked into China's lucrative, but rarely discussed and never admitted, sex trafficking trade. I wondered what it would feel like if a group of people paraded into a room and knew my deepest, darkest secrets. My heart ached, for even though our desire was to help them, exposing their shame seemed impossible to avoid.


The week ahead would reveal their agonizing stories. Stories of being sold by their parents, forced to prostitute themselves to pay for a sibling's schooling, or family debts incurred by a father who gambled their money away.


I will never forget the story of Xiao Mei. Because she was a girl, her family mistreated and even tortured her. Her mother and grandmother tried to kill her by putting her in boiling water. She survived, but still bears the physical burns on her body – and the emotional burns of being told that she'd never be good for anything but a prostitute. All this merely because she was a girl. We heard multiple stories about village elders encouraging parents to send their daughters to the city to work, with the naive (and sometimes not) assumption that the girls would make money for their family. After all, they seemed to think, if you're going to keep a girl, she should be useful rather than a burden.


We learned a shocking statistic: there are 4 to 6 million sex workers in China, the vast majority of them female. Virgin prostitutes come at the highest price, because Chinese businessmen believe having sex with a virgin will bless their business. And trafficked brides can be bought for as little as $460 in certain places in China.




The oppressions of the women of China are many, deep, and historic. China's daughters have been murdered, abandoned, sold, trafficked, aborted, and abused for millennia at the hands of their own people.


But in a land where there is no hope for women, Jesus Christ is a dazzling beacon of hope to those who are perishing. He is the Rescuer, the Redeemer, and the Restorer for which their souls thirst. The Gospel is their way to both eternal life and an abundant life here and now.  As a believer in Jesus Christ, I have been struck by how much brighter and more brilliant the light of Jesus shines against the backdrop of China’s smothering darkness.


Encountering these women changed the trajectory of my life. I may appear to be only a wife and mother, but once I encountered China's trafficked daughters, I could not go back to life as usual. God wants to use the reason for my hope to bring His light into China's culture of death.  He wants to use your life too.


As bearers of the light, it is our duty to shine His light into China’s darkness. We are called to sacrifice for the sake of the gospel - and even the simplest of sacrifices makes the biggest of differences in the hands of an Almighty God. We can be the generation that ends slavery and gendercide, but first we must rise up and take our place as light-bearers. We know the Way. We know the Truth. And we know real Life. Let us lead the way, giving of our time, our resources, and ourselves to ensure that slavery is ended and gendercide eliminated for good. When we send forth the light by doing this, we follow in Jesus' footsteps. The only things the journey to freedom for China's daughters lacks are the footsteps of the believer.



Guest blogger Ai Xin wrote this post for All Girls Allowed. She lives with her husband of 20 years and their three beautiful children in Florida.

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