Dear Mr and Mrs Forrest,
Your deep desire to free the oppressed touched me when I recently read about your dream to end slavery.
You were evidently moved by the hopelessness you and your daughter Grace encountered. The Bible speaks so much about God’s care for orphans and the fatherless (Isa 1:17, Psa 72:4, Psa 146:7). I am grateful that influential, successful people like you resonate with that care and refuse to rest until the enslaved are set free.
I deeply appreciate your tenacity.
Thank you too for taking time to read my letter.
I have been concerned about oppression and exploitation of Burmese refugees and trafficked victims in my country Malaysia for a number of years. The stories I read horrified me and I have felt compelled to join awareness efforts. I was however frequently overcome with cynicism and despair – how exactly could our efforts make a difference? The problem had far-reaching tentacles and seemed so deeply entrenched.
Then, in August 2011, I started working for David and Ros Phillips at FamilyVoice Australia in Adelaide. My eyes were opened to a different aspect of this problem.
I learnt about laws that protect our community and laws that lay out a welcome mat for exploitation instead. The legalisation model of prostitution law (in Victoria, ACT, Qld) and the decriminalisation model in NSW fall into the latter category – problems are rife.
I learnt about the Phillips’ 40-year involvement in researching and campaigning for good prostitution law – as well as laws that support families and protect the community from harms such as pornography. As you know, pornography consumption cultivates a mentality that is at the heart of what drives sex trafficking demand.
This knowledge and understanding galvanised me – I began to appreciate the goodness of our societal foundations in Australia. I began to appreciate the importance of upholding good laws and preserving good values. Once averse to the idea of raising a family – I now understood the contribution of fatherhood and motherhood, and the simple power of strong families who collectively make up a successful society and nation. It is important that Australia rids itself of porn, substance abuse, fatherlessness and violence. While these problems do great harm to mainstream society, they always do even greater harm to the most vulnerable in the community – among whom aboriginal people are sadly featured.
So it greatly encourages me that we can all make a difference in a real and tangible way, not just those involved in admirable frontline rescue work. Our nation’s legislators play an important role. I am heartened to hear that Australian MPs are going on a fact-finding tour to learn about the Nordic Model of prostitution law, which has been effective in curbing trafficking. I believe having Australian legislators tightening prostitution and brothel laws would contribute a great deal to reducing trafficking rates!
Like you, I have now also met faces I cannot easily forget – the women who work in Adelaide brothels. The hopelessness in their eyes compels me to act.
You may have heard of ex-prostitute and ex-madam Linda Watson who now runs a rescue ministry in Perth called Linda’s House of Hope. She was a state finalist for the Australian of the Year Award in 2013, and was voted Australia’s Most Inspirational Woman by Women’s Weekly in 2003. When I learnt about the dangerous attacks (for example here) Linda faced for speaking the truth about prostitution, I was outraged and moved by her courage at the same time.
When someone like Linda is putting her life on the line, how can we rest?
I pray that you will find favour and success in the good work you are doing.
Amos 5:24 Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an everflowing stream.