Over a year ago we started prayer walking through red light districts in Seoul. Our hearts were burning to see transformation come to the sex industry in Korea, yet it felt like we were alone in our quest.
We had support from a few local pastors; however, the church community at large and general public was apathetic toward such a “disgraceful” issue. Nevertheless, with an increase in prayer and the recent opening of the first English–speaking house of prayer in Korea, we have been seeing a major shift.
About two months ago a friend drove down a red light district at 11pm on a Friday. To their surprise, it looked as if no girls were working in the windows. A week later there were still no girls in the windows but a large gathering of pimps in the streets. Soon after, a major red light district was completely shut down by the government and many of the other RLDs are decreasing in size.
Before this miracle, the Lord had been saying to me that this was a “Jericho moment.” Like Joshua sent spies to survey the land, we had been “surveying” this RLD for a year and it was clearly time to march around the area until the walls of the illicit sex industry came down.
Just two weeks prior to it’s closing, a group of us walked around the area with boldness, declaring freedom and asking God to knock down it’s walls. The atmosphere was tense and the pimps were on high alert.
Police cars were patrolling the area in rotation, parked at both ends of the street, to deter customers from entering–something I’ve never seen before. Surrounding the RLD, pimps were in staggered locations ready to call the girls to hide when police cars approached.
As many times as I have been down RLD streets, I have never seen anything like this happening. I knew the Lord was stirring something! It was obvious He was moving on our prayers.
We wanted to get inside information, so two Korean-Americans talked to one of the officers. Pretending not to know anything about the RLD they asked many questions. The officer explained that the women were selling their bodies for sex and there was nothing they could do to stop it unless they were to see a physical money transaction or the act itself.
He also commented that the RLD would never shut down unless there were enough complaints or someone bought out the property. Yet, a mere two weeks later every single window was closed and covered with huge protest posters because the government had completely shut it down!
Hundreds of workers, most likely forced by pimps, painted themselves and dressed in traditional Korean mourning garments to protest. Although many English newspapers covered the story it didn’t make much news in Korean publications because protests of all sorts are very common.
Since prostitution remains something the society would rather not think about, the public seemed apathetic towards such a demonstration. Most Koreans now remain largely unaware of the statistics regarding the sex industry and trafficking altogether. We must pray for their eyes and hearts to be opened to the truth of what is happening in this city!
It’s nothing short of a miracle that these RLD’s are closing. We must continue to pray for the spirit of apathy to be broken in Korea and to see the Korean Church also take up this issue in prayer. We will continue in the fight to see transformation through the testimony of Jesus, standing in faith that God will continue moving at the sound of our voices.