Monthly Archives: December 2011

When a heart breaks

She walks out of the massage parlor with the sun-glassed man. Japanese, I think. He leaves quickly. She sits down on the bench, avoiding eye contact.

Everyone around knows what’s just happened.

As I’ve sat and listened to my friend teach English the past 30 minutes, she’s been upstairs in a room with this man, most likely doing much more than a massage.

She’s in it for the money. Most of these women are. Many come from poor families in eastern Thailand and many haven’t finished high school. They are left with few opportunities. Some can’t read Thai.

When she comes back she pulls out a deck of playing cards and starts playing a game, most likely to get her mind off of what just happened.

Watching her that day broke my heart. Every time I go down to the red light district it break my heart. Every single time.

We’re hoping and praying that these women and men will use the English we’re teaching them to get out of the business. But, we’ve just heard that some women are going to another massage parlor to learn English sex talk to help “empower” them.

When your heart breaks, what do you do about it?

I chatted with a woman today who’s married and has three daughters. We talked about how the flooding in Bangkok has affected her sister. I asked her about her daughters and about the massage parlor’s business.

I don’t know if her husband knows what she does. He might. She left our English lesson early to wrap her arms around a Western man and lead him upstairs.

When your heart breaks, what will you do about it?

There’s a new girl who works at this massage parlor. She lied about her age. She said she’s 18 but she’s only 17. She has a boyfriend, she told us, he’s 16. She also left the English lesson early with a customer. I don’t know if every time these ladies have a customer if it results in more than a massage. Many times it does.

When your heart breaks, what are you doing about it?

One of our regular students brought her 17-year old son. She doesn’t look nearly old enough to have a son that age. He’s looking for work. We want to make sure he doesn’t end up working in the red light district like his mom. His mom left the English lesson early today with a man. She escorted him right past her son. Does he know what his mom does?

When a heart breaks, what should you be doing about it?


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