The night starts off by going to an area in the outer parts of Tokyo called Machida. We target specific areas in Machida known for the sex business.
As we approach, there are many women standing outside on a particular street. The first group of women we see are high school girls. After initially greeting them, we talk about human trafficking. The girls quickly engage in deep conversation, receive our information card, and even thank us for doing this ministry. How precious it is to see open hearts. We knew it would be a night to remember.
While the entire night is extremely rewarding, it is not all positive. Many people who are passing by ignore, reject, and avoid any conversation with us. Doing what is right and speaking the truth in love isn’t something that is always accepted by everyone, but this is what God calls us to do, and our strength and acceptance comes from Him!
Something else miraculous happens around 30 minutes into the outreach. At that moment, some women walk past us. They are not Japanese and initially try to avoid us because they think we are trying to convert them into a religion, but that quickly changes. They even apologize after hearing that we are there to create awareness around human trafficking. One woman asks, “What do you mean by human trafficking?” Using the cards we were handing out, we begin to talk about “pornography.” They quickly look at each other and the youngest woman says, “I think I need a few of those cards please.” They are very interested to learn about ZOE and know exactly what we are talking about the moment we mention sex trafficking in Machida. We believe this is a divine contact to help people who are entrapped by trafficking and give them hope!
Even if one person is eventually prevented from being trafficked by the night’s work, the job would be well worth it!
As the night progresses, we hit sections of Machida that are known as love hotel streets. We see many women standing right outside these hotels. Their “job” is to stand there and wait for men to negotiate prices for sexual massages and sex. None of the women we see there are Japanese, but all of them are from other Asian countries.
We are cautious in our interaction with these women as their manager may get upset with them for talking with us. The women could get punished for engaging with those who are not potential customers. So we make ourselves available to talk if they want to.
From this outreach, we see signs that human trafficking may be happening in many parts of our own city. The battle lines are being drawn and we believe God will show us much, much more. The reality is that there is much more than meets the eye.
God calls us the light of the world. The ladies we talked to this night could be in the darkest possible place, but that is exactly where we need to go and shine His light. Please join us in prayer and support ZOE Japan missionaries as we continue to serve in Japan.