Hi. Recently came back. Thai politics was getting lethal.
Anyway, saw this today:
Lower Burrell couple to go to Thailand to combat sex trade
By Chuck Biedka, VALLEY NEWS DISPATCH
Friday, August 12, 2011
Rev. Samuels and his wife, Joanna
About the writer
Chuck Biedka is a Valley News Dispatch staff writer and can be reached at 724-226-4711 or via e-mail.
By fall, the Rev. Bill Samuels will exchange a Lower Burrell pulpit for the seamy streets of a Thailand city known worldwide for its sex trade.
Samuels and his Thai wife, Inthira, known here as Joanna, will depart Lower Burrell Baptist Church to open "The Hiding Place," illuminated outside by a white electric light, to help prostitutes in downtown Pattaya, about 2 1/2 hours south of Bangkok.
"In Pattaya, hundreds of bars and 1.5 million people are crammed into an area about the size of New Kensington," Bill Samuels said.
The trade relies on girls from Thai, Cambodia, Laos, and parts of the former Soviet Union, he said.
The working girls -- who Samuels said are all younger than 18 and nearly all tricked into the dangerous life -- will be able to get tested for AIDs and sexually transmitted disease, and know that someone cares about them, Joanna Samuels said.
The girls often begin their trip to sex trade slavery when men visit their villages or towns and talk with their parents.
"They look for a family with eight daughters, and they tell them that they can get one of the girls a job washing dishes," Bill Samuels said. "And then the pimp says, 'Here -- take this $300 to help the family.' That's a fortune to them."
After the girl begins in the sex trade, she is often trapped by tradition to honor her family.
When she cooperates, the pimp starts to send a little bit of money back to the village so her little brother can go to school. The pimp will then taunt with her with guilt, saying, "If you leave, he can't go to school. Do you want that to happen?"
An enduring image of a Pattaya prostitute is a shapely, mini-skirted girl grasping a Teddy bear or a baby doll, Joanna Samuels said.
"I talked with some last October," she said. "They still want to play with toys. They have gone through a lot, but they are children inside.
The couple are parents to two boys and two girls, ages 18 to 13.
The family of six is now trying to find the money for plane tickets. Each costs about $1,000 and the couple doesn't have the money yet.
"At some point, we'll just have to set a date and then go on faith," Bill Samuels said.
GUIDED BY PSALM 32
The couple said the name "The Hiding Place" was taken from Psalm 32:7 of the Bible and refers to man and God: "You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance."
The Hiding Place is a way to reach the girls who wake up in late morning and are looking to get their hair and nails done in the early afternoon so they can be ready at the bars later on, the couple said.
Bill and Joanna know the job won't be easy, and even then they might only reach one out of 10 girls who visit.
"We know some might come in, use the services and laugh," Bill Samuels said. "But some will know we really care and will want to learn about Jesus. We will reach the ones we are supposed to reach," he said.
The couple will look for ways to help the ex-prostitutes who are turned out by the pimps at age 18.
"They are considered used up -- too old," Samuels said. That will mean finding job retraining for red light district veterans, helping if they are sick and bringing Christianity to life for them by example.
"We will pray for them and when they ask about the cross, we will tell them about Jesus," said Joanna, the daughter of a minister, Thai native and long-time missionary with Bill, who is a one-time mischief maker, Army military policeman and ordained minister.
The couple met in Bible college and spent their first date at a Penguins' game.
From 2000 to 2004, the couple worked in Thailand with the International Justice Mission. Bill Samuels investigated the sex crimes and presented surveillance photos and reports to police.
They left that work to return to Bill's hometown of Lower Burrell.
"We were tired," Joanna said.
"We knew we had to leave, but we knew that we would go back," Bill said.
"We love America and if we felt after our prayers that we should do another ministry here, we'd do it," he said. "But we know we're supposed to go to Thailand to help the girls."
Read more: Lower Burrell couple to go to Thailand to combat sex trade - Pittsburgh Tribune-ReviewLower Burrell couple to go to Thailand to combat sex trade - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
If you want to challenge the world's most powerful factions, you're going to get attacked in all sorts of ways. That's the nature - the essence - of power: it is capable of exacting a cost for defying it.--Glenn Greenwald
KMS, where have you been???? Nice to see youposting again.
...with a cut and paste. Fantastic!
"Take this, brother; may it serve you well."
if i lived in pittsburgh , pattaya would sound pretty good to me too , whatever the reason
Last edited by The Quiet American; 14th August 2011 at 20:20.
1. You are going to start a mission and haven't even got plane fare? WTF.
2. What are you doing with your 4 kids? The only good international school running an American Curriculum is ISE and it costs about $20,000 a year, per kid.
3. The basis of the story is a lie. (But one perpetrated by much of western media.) Poor family girls tricked by lying pimps, debts owed, all underage.... used up by 18 yada yada yada......(when was the last time you heard that story?)
4. I particularly liked the part about the teddy bear.....
But 3 and 4 largely go to support the fundraising efforts i assume. Not sure the backers would like to hear about 25 year old, yaba smoking hookers on Soi 6 using their funds to have their hair and nails done before going off to turn a few tricks.
5. Why don't they just go do this in Pittsburg or Philly?
Over to you.
I watched about half of the 'Marjoe' documentary last night. I had to knock it on the head. Too much.
Your so easy to please AK.
Isn't England a riot now, AK?
I saw it on the telly and felt homesick for the hood in South Central.
Stamp, its been a while.
You forgot me.
How could I forget you Natalie? Still in Dubai?
Nat. Post 8 was to you but the text box got dropped somehow... in cyberspace.
--it wasn't me!!!!
No probs. I'm still in Dubai and making plans to move to London in the new year.