Vienna is known as the gate to Eastern Europe. During the Baroque era it was the jewel of Europe, the avant-garde of fashion and the arts; musicians, artists, aristocrats and politicians flocked to what had become the melting pot of high society in Europe. Even after World War II it retains much of its former glory. The city of Vienna is broken up into districts, the first district is the crowning jewel of the city. However, as you move away from the pristine streets of the first district, the meticulous architecture begins to unravel into a field of sterile, blank, decaying facades where women who have never even seen the first district were being sold for sex.
There are over 400 clubs offering sexual services in Vienna. We partnered with Sabina, who has been reaching out to prostituted woman for over five years. Since she started, she has met many individuals in the city who also carry this burden to reach out to exploited women on the streets. Then, in 2007, they organized a prayer meeting which galvanized and launched a concerted effort to reach out to the women in these streets who have no voice, rendered invisible by the prostitution industry.
During our time of outreach we came to a hotel on the edge of Vienna. “There are about 15 Romanian girls who work here from 2pm-4am,” Sabina told us. As we walked around to the back of the hotel we began to notice that there were quite a number of baby wipes littering the lot. “These [the baby wipes] are what the girls use to clean themselves after they have finished with a client.” As I looked out over the parking lot I realized that there were hundreds and hundreds of these wipes in this parking lot. My stomach began to turn as the iron teeth of this nightmare began to sink in. As we surveyed the area, we began to intercede for the women who were being sold, the men who were selling them, and the men who were buying them.
We prepared to tackle another screening. That night we had the incredible opportunity to show Nefarious in a brand new cinema with thirteen theatres. An extensive guest list brought leaders and youth in from all over Vienna. Over 450 people packed into the pre-screening reception. Originally the owner of the cinema chain provided our host a free screening room for 250 guests. Only after two weeks of the screening being publicised the response reached almost 350 people and the host reserved the larger theater. When the film was finished the Nefarious DVDs sold out in five minutes as hundreds of new Incurable Fanatics flooded the booth.
This was an extraordinary event for the city of Vienna and it would have been impossible without our hosts and the the owner of the cinema. “This screening is an answer to prayer!” said Rachel Zuch, a pastor who leads outreach to women prostituted in Vienna. After the nightmarish scene of the parking lot that we witnessed earlier that day, it was encouraging to see so many eager to take action against this injustice.