It was the Friday before Christmas, the last Fourth Friday Intervention of the year. It was 6:00 pm as we were preparing to go out to the brothels, cantinas, and Bissonnet Street. Suddenly, the weather dropped to a freezing temperature in the 30’s. The women being prostituted on Bissonnet were completely caught off guard by the drop in temperature and instead of walking their regular posts; many of them were staying warm in their pimps’ car while they waited for customers.
As we walked by with our supplies, one of the windows rolled down and a lady asked us if we had any hand warmers, remembering us from last month’s intervention when we handed out hand warmers. Within minutes we had multiple cars rolling down windows asking us for more supplies, and we nearly ran out.
We began talking to two ladies out on the street and noticed they had flip flops on their feet. As I spoke with the two ladies I asked them, “could I put some hand warmers in some slippers to keep your feet warm?” She looked at me and said, “I don’t want to ruin my new slippers.” So I grabbed another pair of slippers and got down on my knees, on the dirty cold street, and put hand warmers in slippers and slid them on her feet. We then did the same thing for her friend. She then said, “I feel like Cinderella and you all are my fairy godmother.” In that moment I realized what truly being a servant looks like. It isn’t pretty, it isn’t neat, and this isn’t a fairytale.
As I put those slippers on I prayed over their feet and fought to hold back the tears because I knew that the remainder of the night these ladies will be sold by their pimps to strangers. The need was so great that night that we assembled a small team to go out again the next night to deliver full drawstring bags of blankets, hand warmers, and slippers.
There is a myth deeply entrenched in our society that we must rescue the sex trafficked yet the woman being prostituted does not need help because she is doing it by choice.
I realized that regardless of the reason these women are there, we need to do something.
– Vanessa Forbes, Intervention Coordinator
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