Voices of the Red-light District
Some unlikely but beautiful friendships have been formed between a group of Christian volunteers and the red-light community in Singapore over the course of the last two years. From the stories we have exchanged with one another, we capture, after translation, some of the voices of sex workers and pimps in this feature.
“The red-light district is like living hell!”—a transgender sex worker from Singapore
“When we choose this path, we’re destined to a lifetime of loneliness.”—a transgender sex worker from Singapore
“I’m 27, I’ve no husband, I’ve two children, 5 and 3. I got in to this work to pay off the huge medical bill my late husband left me with. My documents are impounded by the authorities. Pray for me to be released so I can go back home to my children!”—a sex worker from India
“Thank you for your gift.”—a sex worker from Vietnam
“Will God forgive me for my sex change?”—a transgender sex worker from Singapore
“It’s good that you can have dinner with us.”—a sex worker from China
“I truly believe in Jesus!”—a Thai sex worker, now having returned to her country
“I’m so happy Jesus is providing for me!”—a former sex worker from Singapore
“Can Jesus give me lots of money?”
“This is the only job I know of all these years. What else can I do?”
“Life is meaningless!”
“I cannot understand why you volunteers would show so much care and concern for our girls!”
“I receive you, Lord Jesus, as my Lord and Saviour.” (prayer)
Such voices are raw and real. They unveil the harsh realities of life experienced by the red-light community in Singapore.
“These voices betray a poverty of the heart—a cry to be known and loved,” said Jan*, a volunteer. “From those who seek physical intimacy to those who give it in order to survive, everyone needs Jesus.”
“How could I, as a follower of Jesus, radically love people—the way Jesus loved the woman caught in adultery and didn’t condemn her, leaving the scribes and Pharisees with absolutely no fight? I desire to know,” Jan* continued.
In our efforts to understand and befriend this community, God is doing something amazing that we have yet to fully understand.
The months of relationship-building are bearing fruit. Some sex workers and pimps are beginning to find hope in God. Many are open to prayers. Some are keen on studying the Bible. Others read our gospel tracts.
It baffles us. It emboldens us. Most importantly, it displays the power of God at work, birthing forth a group of Jesus followers amongst the red-light community.
Join us in expressing God’s love to least-reached communities in Singapore—through praying, giving and going. For more details, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
* Names have been changed.