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  • Writer's pictureKim Westfall, Founder

How the Brothels of Germany Confirmed the Need for The Sanctuary

Updated: May 9, 2023

There is a reason it is called a “Red Light” district. I saw it firsthand when I was recently invited to visit women in the brothels of Munich, Germany.

We received word through our networks that there are hundreds (maybe thousands) of trafficked women in Germany, many who want to return to their homeland and be reunited with their families. Our team was asked to come and I was overwhelmed. What would I say to women who have been manipulated and brutalized? I couldn’t even imagine what they’d been through.

In Germany, I met a brave team of advocates doing the hard work of showing up and making regular visits to the brothels. They are building relationships with the women there. Germany is known as the “Bordello of Europe.” With more than 3,000 legal brothels across the country, its sex trade is worth around $14 billion per year.

The brothels there are legal but the majority of the women there did not choose to be there. Fear, violence, and debt are used as weapons to keep them there. They are working off debts that are impossible to repay.

At the first “house” we visited, I saw the green and red lights above the doors in the long hallways. The green light was on if the girl was available. Red was lit if they were hosting a “client.” We knocked at every green-lit doorway and had dozens of conversations.

The majority of the ladies were Romanian. Many shared their stories with us and allowed us to pray for them. They told us stories of husbands and family members that had sent them here to earn money for operations, homes, cars, and their children. They were sent by their own family members into situations they cannot get out of now!

We told these women about The Sanctuary—a place of transformation in their homeland ready and waiting for them. I left there with a heavy heart, wishing I could take them all with me. Frustrated, and desperate for them, we know we’ve done all we could at the moment. Now we wait and pray that they dare to step towards freedom.

One thing was overwhelmingly clear—the healing we offer at The Sanctuary is desperately needed. In just one city in Germany, there are hundreds who need to open the door to freedom. There are many more all over Europe.

We are ready. We see the need. We have built the solutions for the aftercare of survivors and are blanketing nations in anti-trafficking strategies. We stand at the frontline. But the frontline can only go as far as the supply line. That’s you!

It’s a big job and we will do all we can with the resources we are given. We have access to the strategies, the networks, and the women and children in need. Now we need you to join us by contributing today. Think of your daughters, nieces, and sisters. What would you invest to buy their freedom?

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