She dreams about going back to Africa to make a shelter for orphans. But in the future. Today she still wants to enjoy the dream of childhood. She is in Europe, among the white people. She told me about that during one night in July in a brothel in a Czech town on the border with Austria. That day I met eighty other prostitutes.
I do not like call them like that. I do not like a proper one too – a sex worker, and I certainly do not agree on synonyms offensive. I do not like them, because each of these words closes this women in schemes in which society operates so easily. And they are ordinary girls. With some story, just like any of us. In the place where they came as a result of circumstances, experiences and choices. They are women to whom respect is due.
Ama is almost twenty years old. I ask about her dreams. Just like every girl that night, she sees herself in another, better world. Once.
– Sure! – she answers vividly. – A man without a dream would be nobody. Every one of us sees herself in the future as someone who has meaning. I also want to be important and do something for others.
This thought begins the story of returning to Africa and helping children who do not have parents. She already knows that dreams come true. Finally, she lives among the white people. She dremed about that as a little girl. As if she did not care about the fact that she was in a roadside Czech club, which is a brothel actually. She tells me she reads the Bible in the evenings. The most she likes Gospel music, actually she sings too. During the conversation she eats all the sweets she got from us.
Our conversation is interrupted by the boss. It’s her turn to dance. On this basis, clients choose girls. Ama dances as if she does not care. But when we pay attention to her, she is happy and starts to dance better.
When I’m waiting for Ama, I have time to look around. There are twenty other girls in the club. Most of them live on the spot. All of them half-naked with horrendously high heels. When they are sitting and waiting for the clients, they take off their shoes so that their legs can rest. Like at home. Large screens display pornographic videos. In the next room there is a nervous bosses meeting, because the business in the area does not go well. But I’ll get to know about that only after leaving. I can not get rid of the impression as if it is one big happy family. But the contrast of this illusory idyll with reality causes even more pain. In subsequent conversations I hear about further tragedies. In that club there are twenty of them. The same number as number of girls. Ama hugged me tightly to say goodbye, maybe one day we will meet in Africa. That is why I repeat her face in my mind.
This evening I also meet Nirina, who has three grown children. The oldest daughter runs her business in Ukraine, which does not go well. Nirina works to help her daughter and the other children. Jasna has a mortgage. Marija comes here every year for four years and stays for a few months. At that time, her 10-year-old son lives with his grandmother. Julija wanted to be an actress. She even played in several films. At last she hit here. She knows she can not come back, sooner or later someone will recognize her.
After a dozen conversations, the stories begin to mix, just like faces and names. I try very hard to remember them, but it’s impossible. The scheme is always the same: to such places came women who are broken by the circumstances. Some of them knew what they would do, others were cheated. Some may just go out and never come back, others must repay the debt. It is our role to distinguish them. For the past seven years I have heard dozens of such stories. Once again I find out how easy it is to judge a man. I know well that women who become victims of trafficking have a past that has just created a environment that favors to trafficking. Likewise – a woman works as a prostitute because of what happened earlier. I learned long ago not to judge the behavior of another man if I was not in his/her place.
I went there to learn how to come in to places inaccessible. For me it’s a privilege. And I want more. To meet them and to love them. Through respect and attention, dedicated time and shared laughter. To recognize their needs and to answer them. To share the Gospel without words and in words. I know that Jesus also liked such meetings. Finally He came to those who are in need. Today He also comes, just through us.