Finding God in a Brothel: Sharing God’s love with Women in Prostitution
For the individuals who live in Germany’s brothels, the Kingdom of God seems far away. They consider the brothels to be like hell—why would God come there?
PE/IX is a ministry of Kirche in Aktion, or Church in Action, that hopes to help reveal God’s presence to those experiencing terrible situations.
“We bring that message and light that God really is everywhere,” says Robert Stößer, a KIA pastor who is strongly engaged in the work of PE/IX.
Germany legalized prostitution in 2002, arguing that legalization would prevent human trafficking and provide sex workers with benefits like health care. Everything from large, institutionalized brothels to street-side prostitution has become commonplace. In reality, though, conditions for people who are prostituted remain dangerous, and trafficking has not disappeared. Criminals are still buying and selling humans, enslaving them in prostitution.
Church in Action
Kirche in Aktion (KIA) is a church project with a strong connection to the Church of the Nazarene based in Germany’s Rhein-Main area. The church holds services in multiple locations throughout Frankfurt, Mainz, Wiesbaden, and Durmstadt. The different locations are especially relevant to PE/IX: teams are sourced out of church sites in the same communities as the brothels, making both church and resources accessible.
The PE/IX ministry has been sending out trained groups to minister in brothels around the cities of Frankfurt, Wiesbaden, and Mainz since 2015. They bring donated cosmetics, as well as translated Bibles, verses, and testimonies of people who have escaped prostitution. These help build a bridge so that relationships can develop.
The groups have to be careful with what they say and how so they don’t risk losing their access to the brothels. They can’t directly encourage individuals to leave prostitution; instead, they provide emotional, spiritual, and logistical support.
Built on Relationships
PE/IX has worked hard to cultivate relationships with individuals who are prostituted. Right now, they have close relationships with about 100 people and estimate that they have come into contact with 1,000.
One of those relationships is with Faith*. Originally from Spain, the 41-year-old mother of two works regularly in a large brothel. When she was young, she felt as if life was beautiful and easy. But then she realized she was pregnant with her oldest child, and she wasn’t earning enough money to support both of them. Sleep deprived and hungry, she couldn’t work enough jobs to make ends meet.
Someone whom Faith considered a friend—she now calls her a “friend”—told her she knew of a job she could get in a brothel. Desperate, Faith felt that she had no other choice. Though she found the idea repulsive, what else could she do?
Faith eventually moved to Germany, where she had heard she could make more money. Unfortunately, that proved to be as false as the idea of fast money. Now, she only gets to see her children every two months.
“It breaks my heart to be able to see them so seldom,” she says. “But somehow I have to earn money to offer them something.”
Faith is very lonely. Though she speaks Spanish and English, German has eluded her. The language barrier makes it impossible to find friends outside the brothel, except for the women from PE/IX who visit her every two weeks. She expresses disbelief that they would come to such a dark place for her.
“My belief in God is the only thing that strengthens me next to my children, and I’m so glad that I finally have people who come to God with me for my family,” she says.
This story was taken from the Summer 2018 edition of NCM Magazine.
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