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Thinking about what life is like for a sex worker in Sydney’s brothels is not something Sydney-siders readily think about as we go about our everyday lives in this happy and prosperous city. The glamourised version of Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman” could hardly be further from the gritty truth of the life women in the sex industry face. StreetLight wants to cut through the misconceptions and help people see why opening the door to genuine friendship for sex workers in Sydney is so important.

When our volunteers visit, it’s to offer friendship and a warm-hearted alternative to the monotony of objectification girls face with each client they see.

The real toll this life takes …

But the toll this life takes on the women we meet is significant. Most girls drink to cope with the work, some take other substances. More often than not, the girls we talk to are not sober.

We find ourselves competing with the TV, and conversation can only happen between clients. Some girls we’ve never met because they’re working in secret, hidden from friends and family who think they work somewhere else.

The challenge to make a connection …

At a time when we think a girl is feeling receptive to our company, sometimes asking an innocent or innocuous question can completely shut down conversation. We are especially grateful for our cupcake and muffin bakers at times like this. They help make a connection, even when we think we’ve failed. Some girls may be reluctant to trust that they can speak freely with us, but to receive a gift without an expectation of anything in return is unfortunately a rare experience, and therefore one that is truly appreciated.

Combating isolation and loneliness …

Life inside a Sydney brothel is one of isolation and loneliness. Those we mett are cut-off from the “normal” life they see women living on the outside, but they feel powerless to find an alternative. They are treated like an object to be used and discarded behind closed doors. This treatment scars the women we meet with a brokenness that makes them believe they have no value.

It’s a privilege to meet and talk to these women. Even as they may feel trapped behind the physical doors of the brothels in which they work, StreetLight is a voice that brings light into the darkness, a voice which cuts through the lies of worthlessness with love and acceptance – the voice of hope we know is found in Jesus.

Genuine friendship through StreetLight …

Jesus indiscriminately loves and values women and men working in this industry, our StreetLight ministry does, too. Our ultimate hope is that the people we meet will come to know who Jesus is — that he is their Lord and Saviour who loves them deeply and can heal their broken hearts and restore their worth.

Opportunities with StreetLight …

StreetLight has several opportunities in which those with a heart to join our mission can volunteer. To find out more, have a look at our Brothel Outreach Team, or consider whether you can Bake Cupcakes or become a Brothel Outreach Driver.

Of particular urgency …

In many of the brothels StreetLight visits, we meet beautiful women for whom English is a second language. These are the women we struggle to connect with most because the language barrier is significant. If you are a Christian woman who speaks Mandarin, we have an urgent need of volunteers with your skills! Would you pray about joining our Brothel Outreach Team? Linda Burton leads StreetLight and would love you to contact her.

The post StreetLight – opening the door to genuine friendship for sex workers in Sydney appeared first on International Teams.