“Is it safe?”
This is the most commonly asked question I receive about our Outreach program. Yes, I believe it is very safe. Starfish Project community services staff and volunteers always go in teams, so you are never by yourself. We treat each brothel, each woman, each person with respect. If the women say they are busy and do not have time for a visit, we respect that. Every single aspect of the women’s lives is outside of their control, so we go out of our way to give the women power in our relationships. If the women are busy and do not want to talk, then we say, “I understand that work is busy now. We hope you have a good day. We’ll be back next week. Text me if you have any questions or want to talk.”
Because we respect the women and do not interfere with the business, the bosses do not bother us. Personally, I have had more awkward encounters with people at coffee shops than I have had with brothel owners. When you start from a position of respect and humility, it opens up so many doors.
-Jennifer Melton, Events and Volunteers Manager