BANGKOK, Thailand - Thailand is well-known worldwide for its sex industry.
Ministries report they talk with prostitutes from as many as 15 different countries every day, and most of them would like to escape the sex trade.
Jen was 19 when she became a prostitute.
She was angry at her father who left her family for another woman. And even though she was sad to see her mother forced into prostitution to survive, Jen soon followed in her footsteps.
"We work together in the bar. I have to wear a swimsuit and dance and many men look," she explained. "My friends give me alcohol, and it makes me feel better because I'm drunk. But after, it makes me sad and I cry."
Poverty forces most Thai girls into prostitution. Thai culture also plays a role, because daughters sometimes are forced to provide for their families while the sons serve as Buddhist monks.
Buddhists believe that boys who become monks for a period of time earn credits for their parents in the next life.
That puts pressure on the girls to earn the money to support their families - even to the point of selling their bodies.
Annie Dieselberg, a Christian missionary, has listened to dozens of girls tell their stories.
"There are approximately 20,000 in prostitution in the area and we believe God wants to reach out to every one of them," she said. "Very often women who are new in the bar (and) scared find a lot of comfort sitting with us to talk with us, and there's someone who really cares to listen about her family, fears and concerns."
*Original broadcast July 18, 2008.
Dieselberg established Nightlight Ministry to enable women and children to escape sexual exploitation and empower them to live and work in the community.
Twice a week, the staff and volunteers of Nightlight come to these bars and befriend the girls. They offer them a choice to leave prostitution, have decent jobs where they are valued as women.
By faith and with little capital, Nightlight started a jewelry making business to give women in prostitution an alternative way to earn money. It also gives them an opportunity to change their lives.
A kind-hearted man bought Jen's contract from the bar, and she began working as a jewelry maker at Nightlight Design Company Limited.
A few months later, her mother also left the bar for a job at Nightlight.
Here, Jen and her mother, together with other women are also given life skills training and are taught English.
More important is the spiritual nourishment they get from the morning devotions and discipleship classes.
As they know more about God, the women experience healing, deliverance from their past and forgiveness.
"I prayed to God one time and said, 'God I want to say sorry to my dad, but I don't know how. God tell me and make my father call me,'" Jen remembered. "I got to hug him and I said 'Dad, I love you' and he said 'I love you too.' He hugged me and cried."
Today, Jen has been promoted to assistant business manager of Nightlight Design.
She is also finishing a business computer course at a university, and her mother is studying for a Bachelor's degree in Bible school by correspondence.
Three years into the business, Nightlight Design and its employees continue to flourish.
"We now have 72 women and it's not the size that matters it's the faith," Dieselberg said. "We believe that God wants every woman in prostitution to be shown a way out."
This story originally aired July 2008.