Thousands of Thai children and other ethnic minority groups living within the borders of Thailand are enslaved in systemic evils that have plagued their country for generations. When one hears the sorrowful tales, it can often seem dismal for the future of boys and girls who are victimized by sex traffickers and sold night after night like a tuxedo at a bridal store. Sex tourists and locals alike press the demand for sex traffickers who prey on marginalized children (like the ones in the YouTube.com video: Underage). According to a prestigious school in Thailand called Chulalongkorn University, “there are 2.8 million girls in prostitution in Thailand; and of that total—800,000 are children” (as quoted in Nefarious: Merchant of Souls).
For Thailand to be shifted in every sphere of society to a place that will bring freedom for these children, we must look for God’s chosen partner in true justice—His Bride, the Church. But what about when His divine partner in justice is sharing the bed of sexual immorality along with a majority of the Thai culture? In a communication with Joel Karum, director of an anti-sex trafficking organization, Ezekiel Rain, based in Chiang Rai, Thailand, he admitted that the problem is Thai men who claim to be Christians frequenting the local brothels just as other Thai men do. As high as 95 percent of all men in Thailand over the age 21 have slept with a prostitute*. While this is a picture of the state of the current spiritual climate, a true remnant in this country remains who are faithful to the covenant marked by purity of devotion.
Enter John the Lahu. He breaks the norm of Thai society. Still in his mid-twenties, John is by no means the average Thai. In fact, he is not an ethnic Thai at all. He grew up as a village boy in one of the Lahu hill tribes of northern Thailand. This man is a rare breed in Thailand: he did not have to live directly in the overly sexualized culture in his early years of life. He was spared of much needless baggage that is often carried by those living in the mainstream society of urban life. He married a young woman named Ann from another Lahu village, and they began a life of ministry together. After being privately supported for a short time to study at a Bible college in India, John and Ann returned to Thailand in hopes of bringing change to their country, where less than 1 percent of the entire population subscribes to Christianity**. Early in 2012, John and Ann found a place to express the compassion they share for children by taking full-time staff positions with Ezekiel Rain. Now they are the house parents to the organization’s first safe house, and John is living as a father to a boy who has recently been rescued as a sex trafficking victim.
The profundity of John and Ann’s ministry is the unique role they play together, compared to other aftercare facilities and safe houses that provide a safe place for survivors of sex trafficking. Joel Karum stated that their vision for safe houses that had both a mother and father received a lot of criticism from other groups working with sex trafficking survivors. Many believe Ezekiel Rain’s commitment to securing godly couples for aftercare was not realistic. Because of the prevailing compromise of men in the church with sexual immorality, finding a godly man who can be entrusted with the restoration of sex-trafficked children appears to be a daunting task indeed. Joel agreed that finding the right father is not easy; however, like John, he believes that providing these children with a godly mother and father figure is the Lord’s idea, and He will bring in the right people.
Cynics may say that men like John in Thailand are an obscure case, but God promised that before the return of His Son Jesus, He will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children (Mal. 4:6). Let’s pray that this great turning of hearts would continue in the nation of Thailand; and that men would have vision and desire to serve the fatherless of their own country.
Consider partnering financially with our good friends at Ezekiel Rain, who are enabling men like John to be a light to survivors of human trafficking and be a representation of the heart of their heavenly Father. Contact them at ezekielrain.com.
— Peter Kiiskilla