“I’ve been sold a few times…”

18 Mar 2016, Posted by silentimages in Blog

I was chatting with a new friend in Vietnam about photography. She used a point-and-shoot Sony camera and her arms buckled as I handed her my 18 lbs Canon mammoth. And we smile together.

As we chatted she tells me about being trafficking into China and sold as a bride to 3 different men.

I have to stop her and gently ask, “How does that even work?”

Basically, she was sold to a bride of one man in China. When that didn’t work out, a “matchmaker” sold her to another man. When she ran away from him, she was caught, then sold to another guy.

My friend is now 19 years old. When she was 16 she ran away from a marriage her parents forced her into. Then she met a man who said he’d help take her to Hanoi to get a job. She trusted him until she suddenly realized she had crossed the Chinese border.

By the age of 19 she had already been married against her will 4 times. When I was 19 my biggest struggle was surviving college cafeteria food.

In these situations it’s easy to get mad. It’s easy to just hate the horrible people who did this to my friend. Easy to walk through the red light district and want to punch the junk out all the men you see. Easy to make grand plans of how to rid the world of the evil traffickers and customers.

And yet, in my experience, this isn’t much good that hate accomplishes. Hate is a burning match that quickly dies out. I hate in the moments that I hear my friend’s story or am in the red light district or read a news article or see a documentary on Netflix… but then I get a coffee, check out Instagram, work on my grocery list and my fire to change the world dies out.

But, in my experience, love can do immeasurably more than I could imagine. I know it’s cheesy to say, but love is the candle lit to break the darkness. It’s love for my friend that pushes me to make a great video to raise support for the ministry restoring her from a trafficked life. It’s love for her that gives me the desire to keep serving ministries around the world through Silent Images. It’s love that keeps me praying for her.

It’s love that we shared over an impromptu photography session and some smiles over a ridiculously heavy camera that has changed my world.

In love,

~ Lydia



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