Just two weeks after graduating high school, I jumped on a plane and traveled (solo) across the globe from Minnesota to Thailand. This was before email and the casual use of the internet was even a thing. My correspondence with the family I was going to stay with was all done by snail-mail. Remember that? It took almost a year to plan.
Traveling Abroad and Making New Friends
In Bangkok, I stayed with friends of my family who were missionaries and shared a living space with three Thai girls who were attending Bible college. It was such an amazing time – I highly recommend traveling and living abroad for any young person.
We went from the most northern part of Thailand, to the most southern tip, presenting a beautiful program for school age children with puppets, clowns, and music. Children were the primary focus of our being there.
People Buying People – That’s A Thing
I recall one day while walking down the touristy streets of Pattaya with one of the missionaries, a bunch of American and Australian men with young Thai women. As naive as I was, I assumed they were dating or married, and mentioned this to one of the missionaries I was with. He stopped me, and with a very somber expression, told me those girls were not their wives or girlfriends; they had bought them for their time there. Days or weeks, depending on how long they were vacationing.
I was STUNNED.
My eyes were opened, and saddened. I would never forget that moment.
Rescuing Children From Slavery
The overt mission of the missionaries was to work with churches and help create a life-affirming message to children and families. Covertly, the missionaries were doing something even bigger. They were intercepting children, as young as 3 & 4 years old, from being sold into prostitution (I believe this was uncovered and ultimately got them kicked out of Thailand). Learning from experience, they could not give them back to the families because they would just sell them again. They worked with local ministries to help these children find a safe place to be. Most kids were not so lucky.
We would drive down streets in Bangkok and look in storefront windows of young men and women who were available for purchase. Some buildings even had their photos framed on the outside.
Memories of Thailand & Human Trafficking
It has been over 25 years since I left Thailand. So many beautiful and amazing memories were made, and lasting friendships – thanks to social media. But there has always been that sad, burning, desire to help rescue those young men and women who were sold into human trafficking. Slavery.
Travel With A Purpose
It is time for me to do something about human trafficking, and this is what I am going to do. As founder and CEO of Ladies Only Travel, I am committed to seeking out local organizations that are helping to rescue women (and men) from human trafficking. It is our overt mission to give for the education and rehabilitation of these PEOPLE who have been rescued out of human trafficking.
Yes, Ladies Only Travel will create some of the most exclusive travel opportunities and experiences all over the globe. That is what we do. But that is not all. We will TRAVEL with a PURPOSE.