Why Don’t More Women Leave the Brothel?
Learn from survivors' stories, gift Starfish Project jewelry, and advocate for freedom!
“I came from a really poor family in the countryside. I was often beaten as a child and I didn’t go to school because girls aren’t worth much where I come from. When I was fourteen, I left my village and was sent by my family to the city. I needed to find work to support them as we had no money. My friends told me I could get a job working at a hair salon. But when I arrived I realized I had been tricked into something I never intended to do.”
This is Ying Li’s* story. Sadly, there are millions of women who share similar stories to Ying Li’s – stories of exploitation, abuse, heartbreak, and injustice. That is why, in 2006, Starfish Project was founded to restore hope to exploited women in Asia with the vision to see every woman valued.
Exploitation is a global issue that affects women, men, and children, and while it varies in form, its effects are nonetheless far-reaching and devastating. Many of the women we work with here in Asia are tricked by acquaintances, friends, and even relatives. Many enter exploitative work and living situations accidentally or through coercion or force. Others feel like they have no choice financially, and need the money to provide for their family. Regardless of how each enters, once they are in the dark world of exploitation, the women are trapped much like a bird in a cage. In many cases, the cage is theoretically unlocked and the door is cracked open. Still, the women and girls we meet are not empowered to fly out, unaware that there is another reality aside from the one they are trapped in.
“You partner with our outreach teams to come alongside women in exploitation to ignite hope and counteract the voices of shame they have heard all of their lives.”
So, what keeps women and girls there? Most of the women we meet have been told their entire lives by everyone around them that they are worthless, ugly, stupid and a drain on their families. Many have been physically and emotionally abused. Most feel they simply have no other option except to use their bodies to provide for themselves and their families. As women have shared, they feel they cannot leave out of fear of their employers and some are forbidden to leave. While others have debt or other pressures retraining them. Many see themselves as damaged and worthless and resign themselves to the only life they think they can have. All these factors can be just as strong as any lock and key.
“Through your purchase, together we restore hope, provide practical help and bring about a new beginning.”
The result is, for the women still in exploitation that life is dark, lonely, and dangerous. Because what they do is risky and unstable, the longer they are trapped in exploitation, the more confined their own world becomes. The invisible chains grow stronger until they feel that they have no hope. In this place, the decision to leave the cage and proactively take the steps toward a new life is likely the hardest one they will ever have to make. You partner with our outreach teams to come alongside women in exploitation to ignite hope and counteract the voices of shame they have heard all of their lives. Your purchases, advocacy, giving, and social media shares catalyze our outreach efforts so that every woman can know her value. Through your purchase, together we restore hope, provide practical help and bring about a new beginning.
Friend, trust us when we say, you are in this fight for freedom! When you shop Starfish Project you are directly fighting against the roots of exploitation. As you wear and gift Starfish Project jewelry you plant and water seeds of hope that help each woman know she is beautiful, capable, valued, and has worth – that is a life transformed.
This week in partnership with the UN campaign for World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, we are inviting you to multiply your life-transforming impact. From July 25th - July 30th you can buy one, get one free (to share) on a selection of storytelling jewelry. As you gift Starfish Project jewelry advocate for the survivors of Starfish Project and against human trafficking – share a survivor's story and effortlessly raise awareness about the global issue of human trafficking.