Nana Plaza is the world’s largest sex complex.
Visiting was like walking into a living hell. Nothing I write will be able to convey how disturbing it was. It was like something out of a horror movie--except it was real.
As I walked in, I noticed a man walking toward me through the shadows. His clothes were disheveled and his eyes were ruthless and chilling. With a smirk, he looked me up and down like I was for sale. I felt violated just making eye contact with him. I could feel my heart thumping in my chest and my face getting hotter as I clenched my fists and tried to suppress my rage. It was a small taste of the hell lots of people endure daily. I set my eyes straight ahead on the ground in front of me and promised myself I wouldn’t make eye contact with anyone else.
Nana is a couple stories high, and is completely enclosed except for a small entrance on one side of the complex. In the middle is a large shrine where sex workers leave offerings in hopes of getting high-paying customers. The first few stories are filled with brothels and bars, and the top story has motels that rent rooms at hourly rates. Late in the night as the bars start to close, traffickers bring out their victims to auction them off.
The further I walked into this nightmare, the darker it became. Each story was grimmer than the last. In the other red light districts I’ve visited, prostitution is glamorized. The women put on big, fake smiles to attract more customers. But in Nana, the women don’t have to sell themselves. Other people sell them. Outside each brothel and bar, pimps and madams rally customers. Inside, customers do as they please.
I saw things I wish I could unsee.
The stench of sweat and stale cigarettes hung in the heavy air. I clung to my teammate’s arm as greasy customers brushed against me on the crowded sidewalk. I tried to tune out the sound of pimps and madams screaming at me to come into their bars. It was suddenly too much to bear. I started to feel like I couldn’t breathe. I felt sick to my stomach. I had to get out of there.
Thankfully, I was able to leave as easily as I’d come. My heart aches for people who aren’t so fortunate, who are exploited or trafficked, whose daily realities aren’t within their own control. My heart breaks for the pain they endure.
If your heart is broken for people trapped in the cycle of prostitution and you’d like to support the ministry I’ve been working with, you can do so through this link: https://warinternational.org/donate/ (choose "missionary" and "Killar" from the drop-down menu.)
Hi! Welcome to my blog. Whether you stumbled upon this page through your friend’s friend’s Instagram or you’ve been following for a while, I’m glad you’re here. Thanks for stopping by and letting me share my life with you.
I write mostly about the places I visit and the people I meet. I love to write for the same reason I love to travel: because it teaches me a new way of seeing the world.
Other things I love: thrift shopping, sustainable fashion, big sunglasses, deep conversation, a good book, digital marketing, messy hair, planes, poetry, hot tea + long distance running.
This blog is about saying yes to the things that make you feel alive. It’s about rolling with the punches and embracing uncertainty because not everything will be smooth sailing. A life of adventure is full of challenges but I think it's worth it. Here's to saying yes to adventure, whatever that looks like for you.
Thank you so much for reading and experiencing this journey with me! :)
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