That’s right. You can buy a castle here in the Czech Republic for just $13,000 and they are in high supply. Yes, please.
Everything in my life is somewhat normal now. I go to work Monday through Friday, teach a few classes each day in businesses (usually before or after their work hours) to groups of all levels, and plan/work on social media in between. I travel from business to business and although it is a lot of time on the tram, I am walking a lot, I see a lot of the city that I otherwise wouldn’t, and I get time to read/study Czech (coming along VERY slowly). After work, I go grocery shopping if needed, do laundry, or clean, make dinner, work out a little, read, chat to Shawn and/or my flatmates, then bed. Same routine, different country.
I went to London a couple of weekends ago to visit Shawn – we see each other about once a month (soon to be more thankfully) going back and forth between Prague and London. He hasn’t been to Prague yet (next month!) so I am ecstatic to show him this beautiful city. We had the best time together! The weather is still a bit cold there – Prague too – but we still walked majority of the time. London is so breathtaking – it is a city so full of life, beautiful architecture, accents, and culture. I love that I am getting to spend more time there this year.
I have started teaching Zumba twice a week as a way to be ‘more’ in my element and give back with something I am so passionate about – I love it! I teach at a women’s gym five minutes from my flat. I do teach in English but fortunately, enough Czechs know English and a lot of foreigners attend my classes as well. I am also leading a Zumbathon on Saturday morning to raise awareness for anti – human trafficking so looking forward to that as well!
As you know, I am a part of an anti human trafficking training group here in Prague. It has been so eye opening to learn firsthand about the situation both here and in other parts of the world. A few of the girls in my group have started doing brothel outreach – it is very inspiring to hear their direct experiences. The girls in the training go into the brothels and just listen to the women and pray with them. Surprisingly, most of the women working in the brothels are very open – it’s almost like they are craving that love and self- worth. It reminds me that we don’t all have to be doctors, policeman, professional counselors, or CEO’s of a nonprofit to make a difference.
So how does this work exactly? The group I am a part of has already established relationships with the managers of the brothels and strip clubs here in town. They actually ALLOW the group to go in and bring gifts to the ladies such as candles or ornaments- as a token of love. Maybe in some strange way, the managers understand that they need this. The group is not allowed to ‘help’ them escape or leave, it’s very monitored and the group also has to leave when clients arrive. It is a bit strange to type out this reality to you because it seems like a movie. It doesn’t just seem real. But the huge reality is that these women (well, mainly women) are trapped in this industry – maybe they chose to start working in brothels as a way to make more money, but then they are trapped either by human trafficking or they don’t have anywhere else to go.
Prague is one of the most popular places for women from the surrounding countries to go (or be trafficked into) because of how cheap it is. It’s cheap to fly in, ‘cheap’ experiences, and cheap to live. This city is one of the most popular places for Bachelor Parties (Stag Parties – the European word) due to the low cost. In regards to prostitution, it is actually illegal in Prague but law enforcement turn a blind eye unless they see it firsthand, which many times, they choose to not ‘see’ it. The work is disguised as thai massage places, beauty parlors, nail salons, and even some bars/clubs in the main district.
There is hope though! There are a few organizations here in Prague that house these women should they choose to leave, which is a lot easier said than done. A lot of these women are threatened with their lives or their families’ lives back home if they attempt to escape. The church I attend just opened up a Bridge Center in the heart of the red light district in Prague to help bridge this gap. One thing I have really come to realize is that the women working in brothels or prostitution are just like us as my friend in the training group shared. They love getting their nails done, talking about their children, sharing photos, getting asked questions about their lives, and having a friend or two to joke with, pray with, talk with. Unfortunately, they were either born into a situation totally different from ours or chose out of desperation for their families or survival. A few of the women asked my friend to come back soon – they really want to see her again. She promised she would visit again – and keeping that promise is a big deal to them. They crave those connections and deep sense of value and self-worth that we all need not just to survive, but to thrive in this life.
Another big thing I have come to realize is that although the women seem to have chosen this life based on their appearance, their ‘confidence,’ their resistance to leave the industry, the reality is that they are trapped. Brainwashed. Accepted this way of life as they see no other way to make money for their families. But all of them will tell you that no one wants to live this way. No one.
Alas, I am hoping we can raise enough money to buy a castle and house these women in it. To feel like the ultimate princesses – a beautiful dream, right?
On a lighter note, here are some amazing photos of Prague (and surrounding areas) that showcase the absolute beauty and enchantment of this city. Someone pinch me, I truly cannot believe I live here. And I am so in awe that I get to see these sights every single day. Come visit anytime – I am ready for ya.
“If you learn, teach. If you get, give.”