From My Husband: Thoughts on an Indian Brothel and How Rescue Changes Us

by Laura on January 25, 2013

My husband says I’m the writer of the family, and that he’d rather just stick to the speaking-bit.

And maybe he’s right. Because he rarely writes but every time he speaks publicly he brings people to cry tears or draw swords.

The man seeps inspirational leadership.

And these last two years, I’ve seen him endure things I never would have imagined when we stood on my parent’s back deck for senior prom pictures 17 years ago. During our time in SE Asia, I watched him hot glue a covert camera into a computer bag when we were starting out in investigations — so completely out of our league. I’ve seen him with tears in a corner because of the girls he’s left behind, and I’ve heard him talk-fearful when it was the real-live mafia on the radar. I’ve had a front-row seat to late nights where he dragged his feet out the door from nothing but determined obedience,

and I’ve heard him talk about our own girls and how we have to figure this out.

But last night, in a hotel room in India, he did write something. He had just returned from a night of undercover surveillance with a team of national investigators we at The Exodus Road will be honored to support in the near future, and I’ll admit, the evening left him shaken. He’s been in over 300 brothels in Asia, but India was a new level of hard for him. A 15-year-old virgin was for sale, and she sat right next to him– the only Westerner in the bar. There were two other virgins in the same grim-ridden place, along with many other young women– all with stories the rest of us would rather not really think about.

And this man who has literally become the most courageous one I know, he sat down and he wrote the following. . .


Victims of human trafficking are not lost forever, unless the very last one of us gives up.

And till the day they are free, I choose to hope and set my eyes on the horizon. There I see freedom coming–  freedom for victims of human trafficking and freedom for me as I seek it for them.  Freedom is the very aroma of God and love is his firm step.  I have never known joy as I know it today, as I too take up the smell and step of God.  Justice is the mix of these two elements, freedom and love.  When both are present, the Kingdom of God is realized.

Last night I witnessed the slavery of over two hundred women.  On my left sat a young virgin and on my right a young girl maybe twenty years old. Both for sale. All for sale. And I wanted this justice fueled by love for them so very badly. 

This work that we are doing is a powerful thing in my own life. It stretches beyond my comfort, calls me to be courageous in the face of fear, costs me greatly and has shown me the face of God in ways that have surprised me.

Many people claim to know God.  If the work of rescue has taught me anything, it is that I know very little about God and am a fool to claim that I do.  I now believe that he is so much bigger than I will ever comprehend and his love, justice and mercy are equally unfathomable.

This is a big story, after all, that we are living.  A story of impossible odds, brokenness and courage, passion and justice.  It is the best story I have ever read, and I still do not know how it will end.

I am forever changed, and we are only at the beginning.

– Matt Parker
Jan. 24, 2013
Executive Director, The Exodus Road

  Perhaps he’s more of a writer than he thinks.


A Follow-Up.  And those virgins in India? The national investigators diligently went back two nights after Matt visited to capture the necessary evidence needed by local police for the girls’ rescue. The four member investigative team shares one piece of lower-quality surveillance gear. Unfortunately, the camera battery died during the investigation and no evidence was effectively captured.

Pray for funds to provide this team with quality gear (read here about why this is so important) and pray for these three precious teenagers as they wait for rescue.

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  • Justin Lukasavige

    A story I’m too familiar with. We’ll be back stronger than ever with the redemption of God on our side.

    And we’re Never. Giving. Up.

    • Laura Parker

      Thanks, Justin, for entering this story with us . . .

      Love your willingness to jump in and your heart for justice

  • OutnumberedMom

    This breaks my heart, Laura. I rejoice at these rescuers’ love and courage and determination…and faith. I pray daily for the women of India. My daughter-in-law and son have a huge heart for the country. Their dream has been to adopt from India, and as soon as adoptions open up again (they hope Feb.), they’ll be back on track for that. I’m already praying for our little India belle — and her mama there.

    • Laura Parker

      Laura, thanks for this comment and i love that you are praying daily for India and her children and women. Love that you have family moving in that direction to adopt, beautiful. And I LOVE that you call your future granddaughter your “little Indian belle”.

      ps– I did get your email and will respond shortly– promise! I have been swamped. But I didn’t forget! :)

  • Heather

    “Justice is the mix of these two elements, freedom and love. When both are present, the Kingdom of God is realized.”
    So Beautiful.
    Praying for both of you <3

    • Laura Parker

      Thanks, friend. Loved that he wrote that, too.

      Thanks for entering this journey with us in such practical ways. We’re better because of you guys.

  • Angie Washington

    Wow. So many faces are flashing through my mind. Thank you for the work you do, Matt and Laura.

    • Laura Parker

      Thanks, Angie . . . . feel like it’s small compared to the need. . .

      But isn’t that the way of Jesus? Taking the small and multiplying?

  • Annie

    Praying for your work to shine the light into the darkness exposing all harm and injustice for the world to see, so that we can no longer say we didn’t know!

    • Laura Parker

      Annie, yes that is it, isn’t it? Shining light into darkness . . ..

      I love that line from the worship song, Our God:

      “And darkness tries to hide. And trembles at his voice, and trembles at his voice.”


  • Richelle Wright

    Thank you, both of you, for what you are doing.

    • Laura Parker

      Thanks, Richelle. :)

  • Kevin Miller

    As a guy, I’ve gotta say that even as we strive to authentically work to serve our God and do all for HIS glory and HIS rewards…testimony like this from our wives is second ONLY to the Big Guy Himself. Thanks for publicly loving Matt. What a gift.

    • Laura Parker

      Thanks, Kevin. I appreciate the shout-out. He makes it easy to give positive testimony to. I’m really grateful for that.

      Thanks for being an authentic, inspirational leader for others yourself.

  • Elizabeth

    Could you explain how you are different (or the same as) IJM? Do you and IJM cooperate? How do your missions overlap (or not)? I’ve looked on the Exodus Road website but didn’t see an answer to this question – my apologies if I missed it.
    I ask only out of curiosity. The more people fighting to end sex trafficking, the better.
    Keep up the good work.

    • Laura Parker

      Hi Elizabeth,

      Thanks for writing in. This is a great question!

      IJM is a fantastic organization that has done and is doing SO MUCH good in the world in regards to modern day slavery. We have such respect for their work. The biggest differences between us and them are:

      1. They focus on law/legal ways to fight trafficking– making and helping enforce laws in a country. They do investigations, as well. We, however, focus primarily on investigations. We help a little with prosecutions, but our main focus is on the investigations and evidence gathering.

      2. We are a coalition. In other words, we work to empower the various orgs on the ground that are in the trenches and come alongside them and work to support their efforts. Our backbone is partnerships.

      3. IJM does lots of work with various types of slavery and other human rights issues, while we work (right now) mainly with sex trafficking/modern day slavery.

      Again, though, we have the utmost respect for IJM and have known people that work for them. They have been around a long time, and I totally agree that “the more people fighting to end sex trafficking the better.”

      YES, this is the heart of it, isn’t it?

      Thanks again for your question!

  • Alana Blase

    you guys are doing awesome things! We are doing some work in India at the moment and the sad reality of these girls stories is heartbreaking. So much need, so many lost people. Their hope is the work that ordinary people like yourselves are doing and the many people that speak out for those that have no voice.

    • Laura Parker

      Alana, thanks for living and serving in India . . .thanks for being willing to GO and LIVE. That is courageous on so many levels.

      Thanks for your kind words, too, and I agree . . . heartbreaking.

  • robyn

    Oh yes, Laura. This … what he’s doing and how he’s fighting and the brokenness he’s allowing God to bring to his heart … this is REAL courage. Thank you for fighting. For sacrificing. For writing. For your courage too.

  • Ericka Jackson

    Wow. My heart hurts as I read this. India is a dark, dark place. Our nonprofit focuses on caring for orphans and vulnerable children around the world – and India is our toughest country. Everywhere we deal with poverty, but in India it seems there are predators lurking around every corner just waiting to snuff out the life of these precious kids. The children in our homes were once growing up in brothels, leper colonies, slums, and streets. We’ve been to all these places, and the brothel we visited (to meet the mother AND grandmother of one of our children) was definitely the darkest. I will never, ever forget hearing one of the precious women, Kamlal, tell me, “Take me to America with you and I will leave this life.” How badly I wanted to make that happen!!! I am grateful for people like Matt and you and your whole organization who are bringing FREEDOM to these dark places. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

    (ps – sorry to be blowing up your blogs with lots of comments! It’s been a while since I’ve had time to read any blogs. I’m just catching up and loving them all!)

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