31 January 2013

A prayer for the women working in the windows

I pray that you are well. As part of that, I want you to know God and His love. And I also hope that you will stop with prostitution: it harms you emotionally and physically and messes with your heart and soul.

But those things are a lot to ask. It is not that I doubt that God is capable of doing all that, it is simply that I have come to know how messy prostitution is. And I know that there are many possible things that can stand in the way of you leaving this work and/or knowing God better. And so I pray for those things:

I pray for the deadbeat father of your child - that he might be convicted to support you and your child financially.
I pray for those who treat you like nothing more than a tourist attraction - that they might realize that even animals in the zoo receive more respect than they are giving out.
I pray for those moments when you feel like you're barely surviving - that a kind smile or a laugh might remind you of your worth.
I pray for the strange and crazy ideas about sex you've learned and that society teaches us - that we'd all challenge the crazy idea that men need sex, but also that we would all learn that sex really is a good and beautiful gift from God and not something that can be bartered for 40 euros (or even less!).
I pray for your families - that whatever neglect, abuse and/or scorn that you've received from them might be healed and that you might be loved simply for being you.
I pray for those who benefit financially from your work - that your lazy children or partner (or parents!) might be convicted not to use you for your money (and to get their own job) or that they might be criminally charged for pimping and/or trafficking you.
But I also pray for those situations where it is your work that is keeping the family alive and well - that your sacrifice might be honoured, but also that your family might become more creative and more able in making ends meet so they can encourage you to stop and invite you to come home again.
I pray for the circumstances (of the land) you've come from - that wars might cease, that there might be jobs and less poverty, and that there would be less corruption and abuse so that prostitution in Amsterdam no longer appears as a better option.
I pray for those who own and rent out the windows you work in - that they might treat you with respect and give you what you're legally entitled to. And that the government would force them to do so, in the hopes that it also becomes financially less attractive for those involved criminally.
I pray for those who wish to save you - not that a bit of saving for you or your neighbour wouldn't be necessarily a good thing (who, after all, couldn't use some saving?) but that they might actually listen to you and see you as the indivudual you are and not merely as a victim or as a mission.
I pray that you make enough money to make ends meet - and yet I also pray that window prostitution pays poorly, in the hopes that you ask if it isn't time to start thinking seriously about other work.

And I give thanks for all the times when I get to see things going well
- when I see you helped with health or financial stuff,
- when we can make you laugh and bring a bit of joy to your day,
 - when you have found a workplace where you are treated well and can feel at home
- when we feel like we can provide you with social support that you might be missing,
- when you assure me that you are looking after yourself and standing up for yourself - not necessarily because I am convinced you are doing it as well as possible - but you recognize the importance of it,- when you open the door to us and let someone enter into your world for a little while (and even are willing to share your food with us),
- when you have the courage to ask for help
- when you go through the complicated process of stopping - with all its phone calls and regulations and paperwork. And then you share that with us, so we can encourage you and rejoice with you.

And I pray for so much more, but the prayer is long and complicated enough - like the world around me - and it is enough simply to pray. And so I pray for these women, my neighbours, and I pray that it might go well with them.

1 comment:

Katharine said...


Thank you for voicing this prayer, Brenda. Thank you for understanding a little better than most of us. Thank you for praying, for caring, for being there.