We provide scholarships for high school, bible school, and college. Young women are able to dream again. Now with families, careers, and positions of leadership, these girls have hope for different kinds of futures. Through outreach events, Beginnings had shared the love of Jesus and gift of family with more than 1,000 women trappen in Bangkok's red light districts.
Thailand is a country of white-sanded beaches, exotic greenery, and a thriving sex tourism industry. In 2007 alone, an estimated 9,400,000 male tourists came to Thailand to buy sex, the majority from the Western world, with 500,000 to 1 million people involved in the sex trade. Although technically illegal, prostitution and human trafficking is flourishing while many in Thailand turn a blind eye.
Often, young Thai girls will be sold into sexual slavery by their families for sums as little as $12. Thai women are also found in the sex trade in most first world countries, often exploited by brokers who sell them to international traffickers who house them in deplorable conditions and sell them over and over again. Women working in the sex industry all have a story of exploitation—be it poverty, rape, gender inequality, lack of education, family greed, or trauma—that made them desperate enough to sell their bodies in order to survive.
When a young woman decides to leave the sex trade and move to our residence, she joins our family. Only one of two residences in the region that operate in a family-atmosphere, Beginnings helps residents heal and process past trauma and emotions through counseling and therapy, learning of God’s great love for them and His plan for a future outside of the darkness of the red-light districts.
Just like a family would, we provide for physical needs such as shelter and food, medical care, rest, and a healthy environment. Beginnings is also aware of the emotional health of their residents. Units of study on emotions such as anger, jealousy, grief, fear and shame are part of a continuous informal education. Counseling is also provided on both a group and individual level. Beginnings also provides opportunities to grow spiritually through consistent Bible study, mission trips to poor rural communities, and retreats through the church community.
Vulnerability, humility and a willingness to learn are key to the growth of both staff and residents. It is when we understand that we are all wounded in need of hope, forgiveness and love, that we can grow together as a family. We believe that internal transformation is superior to external conformity. Transformation is God’s work in all of us.
Here’s what the girls at Beginnings have to say:
Over the years, we have seen the power of education to change the trajectory of a young woman’s future. Beginnings is currently the only residence in Bangkok providing full University scholarships to young women who would otherwise have no opportunity to receive higher education.
Each resident is encouraged to complete their grade 12 certificate (many girls come to the home with somewhere between a 6th to 9th grade level), when appropriate they may enter University level programs, and when it is not, attend vocational training programs. Some have chosen to attend Bible school as well.
Non-formal education takes place often without even realizing it within the family setting - over the stove, during meals and house meetings. Classes in computer literacy, conflict resolution, budgeting, parenting, child development, and English are all taught at the home as well.
The Beginnings' residence is located just three blocks from one of the three major red light districts in the heart of downtown Bangkok. The staff at Beginnings cultivates relationships with bar owners and sexually exploited women with twice-weekly visits to the bars. Trust is built over time.
In addition to the rescue work of girls in the bars, partnerships with other NGOs working in remote impoverished villages have been forged to focus on prevention.
The young girls repeatedly fall prey to traffickers who seduce them with promises of money and goods for themselves and their families. Relationships with these organizations has been key to the prevention work. The staff of Beginnings seeks to find these at-risk girls before the bars and traffickers do, giving them a chance to attend school and dream of hopeful futures in a safe and loving family.
Story of Dok
(name and some details changed for privacy)
Growing up in a remote village in Thailand, unloved and unwanted by her family, Dok spent a good deal of her childhood sleeping in a shed. When she was still a teenager, Dok married a much older, abusive man, hoping that she would find the love she always wanted. Not the case, her husband would go on rampages that left her terrified for her safety, fleeing the home, Dok was left with no choice but to walk the streets, forced to sell herself to survive.
It was on the streets that that Dok first met Beginnings staff and was invited to an English class. Encouraged by her new friends, she eventually decided to move into the home and began the process of healing from a lifetime of rejection, abuse, and sexual exploitation. She met Jesus there and began to thrive.
Dok heard that a younger friend from her childhood village was coming to Bangkok. She knew this friend could be pulled into sexual exploitation, and she couldn’t let that happen. She asked Home of New Beginnings to let her friend come to stay at the home. “If you can only take one of us, please take my friend,” she pleaded. “Because now I have Jesus and I’ll be okay, but she won’t be.” Welcoming them both in, the young friend eventually finished an engineering degree and got employed in her field. Dok went on to graduate from Bible school and is now happily married. A miracle story, and just one of many!
Story of Choi
(name and some details changed for privacy)
Choi was born in an impoverished village in a country bordering Thailand. A woman came to the village and told her parents that she could get Choi a good job in Bangkok at a factory. Choi was elated at this news (a chance to earn money and start new!). When they arrived in Bangkok, though, Choi was sold to a massage parlor. She had become a victim of trafficking, sold to men for their pleasure.
Thankfully not long after, Beginnings staff found her. Choi did not know where she had come from or where her family might be, so Beginnings took her in. Having no idea how old she was, the hospital check-up produced an estimate, and Choi chose the age of eleven and her birth date. A new start with a family.
Beginnings tutored Choi through eighth grade, and then she entered a local high school. She excelled at school and received academic awards. Choi plans to enter University soon, and the future is full of hope!
Bonita, founder of Home of New Beginnings, moved to Bangkok in 2004 after three decades of work in the U.S. educational system as a teacher and principal. As Bonita explored the city, she viewed hundreds of Western men with young Asian women. Her eyes were opened to the horrific and massive sex tourism industry in Thailand that is built for the pleasure of men from developed countries, many of them, her countrymen. Bonita began researching. The girls came from the rural Northeastern Thailand. The industry was driven by poverty, lack of education, gender inequality, domestic violence, childhood sexual abuse, cultural expectations and man's desire for power and gratification. To address these issues, Home of New Beginnings opened its doors in February of 2006 for young women and girls. It is a residence held up by the pillars of education and family in order to provide a different kind of future --- one of hope.
One year later Beginnings welcomed Ann Thongves as Co-director and house mom. Ann had worked with vulnerable children in nearby Pattaya and helped to establish a children's home there. Later she worked in tsunami relief. Partners to the core, Ann and Bonita work hand in hand to provide the educational opportunities and family-atmosphere for girls to heal and move towards bright futures.
for our girls in residence
for victims of trafficking to be freed
for the perpetrators to be caught and prosecuted
for the bar and massage owners in Thailand
for the demand to cease.
2. Contact Us
3. Consider an internship or team visit to Bangkok or Beginnings
4. Educate yourself about the issues of trafficking and the sex trade