Every week our outreach teams are inspired by the hopeful glow of the moonlight as they build trust and relationships with women still trapped in exploitation. This week we discovered a new brothel and met a woman named Zao Zao* who said, “It is so easy to talk to you both, and I don’t feel any pressure at all.”
Zao Zao poured out her heart to Jenny and Shelby about her father's passing, her mother's illness, her abusive marriage, and the painful divorce that has her separated from her 5-year-old son. She shared that she had an important check-up at the hospital the following day and was nervous. We exchanged contact information with Zao Zao and told her we would check up on her the next day to see how her appointment had gone. Yet we didn’t need to call her; we were the first people she called when she left the hospital. She shared that the issue they found was not serious and she would be better soon!
“If I don’t work here (in the brothel), my mother won’t have medicine and if she passes away, I will have no one.” -Zao Zao
Zao Zao’s story is not unlike many of the women we meet in the brothel. Like so many, she has experienced trauma after trauma and feels she has no way out. With her father’s passing, she alone can provide the fees needed for her mother’s medicine. Zao Zao shared with us, “If I don’t work here (in the brothel), my mother won’t have medicine and if she passes away, I will have no one. I will be all alone. I will have no family to go home to for the holidays.” This pressure to provide is real. It is part of a greater systemic problem that we here at Starfish Project work to fight against by providing opportunities, training, and dignified careers for more and more women in situations like Zao Zao.
“Your purchases pave her road to freedom.”
When you purchase jewelry from Starfish Project to wear and gift, you allow us to say “Yes!” to women like Zao Zao. Because of your support and purchases, a safe opportunity will be available to her when Zao Zao is ready when she has found the bravery within herself and dares to hope for a better life. Your purchases pave her road to freedom. What an extraordinary impact you have, friend! Thank you for shopping with purpose.