I have been in Copenhagen, Denmark for three days now. Bad weather forced our team to leave earlier than expected to get out in front of a snow storm. I have been spending some time with our host here, and getting a feel for the atmosphere and culture of the city and the country. It has been amazing how well they have taken care of us. What is more remarkable is the way in which they are deeply burdened over the injustice of sexual exploitation.
Today would be a highlight for me. Some of the girls who do outreach here took us to the Red Light District. To be honest, I am still learning how to talk about being in these places. I know it's not normal for men to be in the place of prostitution outreach. The very problem is that it is not normal, when it should be. I look back at Ezekiel 8 where the Lord forces him to look at the abominations of the earth. I believe the Lord has taken me on this journey this past year ( by the grace of God ) to look upon immorality of the earth and the exploitation of women, children, and men. What I have seen is an industry that is fueled by the sexually violent desires of men.
Normally when I have been out on outreach or investigation of exploitation, it has always been at night. So going out in the middle of the day I did not expect to see much at all, and I thought we would be walking through some type of slum area.
This was not the case at all. My precepts began to seem far off as we entered the Red Light District of Copenhagen. As you can see from the pictures below it is an active area, filled with coffee shops, shopping, and Restaurants. You can see that some of the brothels are your typical Asian message parlor, which are well known as brothels. You can also see the Thai Corner, which by day is a restaurant, and then by the fall of night is a club that invites you to come and take home the best of the "lady boys" ( Thai transvstites )
This area is divided up into three different sections. One area is for all the brothels, the second area is for all the street prostitutes, which are mostly Romanian women. These two areas are divided up by a section of porn stores. All three of these areas are connected around Central Station. Central station is what makes the trafficking industry thrive here. There are no passport checks throughout the European Union really, so the girls can be bussed in or taken by train and when they get off they are right in the area where they are going to be working as soon as they arrive to Copenhagen.
There is a very strong presence of mafia groups here who are always at odds for more control of the area. And it is very obvious that there is an unspoken system to this blatant yet underground system of exploitation.
As I stood and looked out from a street corner outside of Central Station, I couldn't help but notice the oversight of what is really going on by the locals. And I realized how small the church is here, and how there is so much of an atheistic mindset pervading the culture.
So as I looked back through all the streets we just walked through, I was taken back by the enormity of this injustice in this city. But I looked over at Anne who was leading us through the streets and explaining how the system works here. I was so eager to do something in that moment, until I was reminded that I am not the savior of these ones. I realized how inapt I am to just react or think that if I don't do something, nothing will happen. I looked over at Anne and realized God is setting her up and her team up to see His plans for this city come through a work He will use them for. I saw the passion for Jesus in these girls and a real desire to see the love of God break through in this Red Light District of Copenhagen.
I knew right then that it was time for a heart check. I knew we had sown seeds of prayer and I may never get to see the fruit. I knew God had promises for this team and this city, but they were not my promises. I was reminded that I am not a part of a movement to end slavery but a prayer movement to end slavery. The deception of justice is found in our strength; the truth of justice is found in Jesus and His faithfulness.
And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord. "And in that day I will answer, declares the Lord, I will answer the heavens, and they shall answer the earth." Hosea 2:19-21
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