Street Work

From the beginning, our ministry was on the streets, where individuals in prostitution wait for customers. Teams of committed volunteers and staff gather for prayer and worship and then visit the men and women in prostitution as they wait for customers, offering something to drink and eat. It is in their territory where we have the opportunity to spend time with those who would not normally cross our path. The women and men usually recognize us, welcome us, and enjoy the coffee and conversation. We may ask questions, listen to them, leave our cards, pray with them, and offer advice or referrals when applicable. If there is interest for further conversation, we invite the individual to visit our center or meet up for coffee outside our premises. Often, it takes many months or even years to build a relationship with an individual before they respond to our invitation. 

Drop-In

At Nea Zoi center, our contacts can come to visit us, sit and relax, have a drink and a chat. They may drop in with a particular request or problem or just visit. Here we can do informal counseling, pray together, or discuss options, decisions, and questions in a safe, peaceful environment. In the chaotic lives of individuals in prostitution, an opportunity for discussion in a peaceful space is paramount. Many of our visitors live with people who exploit them, so even their home can be a place of violence and fear. We also support individuals seeking employment elsewhere, giving our phone and encouragement. 

Phone Calls and Visits

Keeping regular contact with the women and men we meet is essential in building solid relationships. We visit them at their home, in a coffee shop, in the hospital, or even the detention center – wherever we have the opportunity. We seek to be with our them through their difficulties, not just for what we can do practically to help but also as part of the relationship. Through these faithful relationships, women and men have an opportunity to let down their masks – to trust, tell their stories, and become more open with us. We seek to build a relationship that will convey our care through regular phone calls and visits, and ultimately, God’s care.

Advocacy

Not only do our service users require a spiritual solution to their problems, but they also need help with laws, housing, adequate medical care, access to drug rehabilitation programs, and vocational training and placement. We are committed to providing holistic care, motivated by the whole meaning of salvation, including physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual well-being. We recognise that as we love the women and men we meet in practical ways, we are preparing to restore their relationship with a loving heavenly Father. While we cannot provide all these services ourselves, we can help by connecting them to other organisations and services that can meet their needs. We also have a role in community sensitisation and advocacy for these oppressed ones. As proverbs 31:8-9 says, 

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and the needy.” 

We want to speak into the root causes of the phenomenon of prostitution and trafficking.

Holistic Restoration

Our goal with all these activities is to provide holistic care for individuals in prostitution. Helping an individual in one area can lead to progress in other areas. Often, an individual cannot address deeper issues until their basic physical needs are met. At other times, when a spiritual need is met, the other physical needs can be addressed. One helpful model for thinking about an individual’s needs is from psychologist Abraham Maslow. Maslow developed a theory of five levels of needs humans have to live normal and healthy lives. According to this theory, the individual must ensure that lower-level needs are met first; those challenges remain immediate and pressing until satisfactorily resolved.

Most of our friends don’t even have their basic physiological and safety needs met, (for example, having severe myopia). They, therefore, find it difficult to progress to wholeness at other levels. Usually, we focus on the felt, expressed need first (for example, arranging an eye exam and securing new glasses) unless the Holy Spirit otherwise directs us.

We want to speak into the root causes of the phenomenon of prostitution and trafficking.