Alabaster Jar: Working towards a world free from sexual exploitation
Helping women trapped in prostitution
Right now women and children fleeing Ukraine are particularly vulnerable to falling into the hands of human traffickers. Our project Alabaster Jar cares for hundreds of women in similar situations: forced to leave their home countries, they now find themselves trapped in Berlin's sex industry. According to the motto “When they come, we are there,“ our team is ready to assist with a sympathetic ear, hot coffee and a warm meal, and practical help for women trapped in prostitution. Above all, we exist to help them recognize their value and gain perspective for a better future.
Did you know that an estimated 400,000 women work in Germany’s sex industry, servicing more than 1 million men every day? Did you know studies show that up to 95% of women in prostitution have reported being physically assaulted, and up to 89% have reported wanting to escape the sex industry?
Most women enter into prostitution either by force or due to extreme poverty. Many of the women in Berlin’s sex industry come from Eastern Europe and are the sole providers of their families and/or children back home. Others are sold into slavery as teenagers and grow up on the streets.
Homelessness, drug addiction, financial and sexual exploitation, physical abuse, unprotected sex: these are all issues that these women face on a daily basis. What’s more, they often find themselves totally isolated from society and from any form of supportive community. Believing the lie that they are “born for this life” and that there is no future for them, the vicious cycle continues.
“Believe me, if I could go back to the first day I came here and take it back, I would. Once you start, it’s almost impossible to get out.”
Lives transformed, dignity restored
What we do
The mission of Alabaster Jar is to see life transformation among women working in Berlin’s sex industry by communicating the love of Christ. In Berlin’s red light district, we meet the women where they are at and provide a safe place for them (e.g. at Café Neustart), where trusting relationships are built and their practical, emotional, and spiritual needs are met.
Our work focuses on five key points
- Outreach: Outreach is the heart of what we do. During our weekly street and brothel outreaches or our work at Café Neustart in Berlin, our front-line team makes the first contact with the women in their own context. We offer immediate practical assistance, establish long-term needs, and build trust. We refer women to important service providers such as social workers, doctors, and safe houses.
- Befriending: Our team is committed to continuing to build friendship with the women outside of Outreach. Using our Outreach phone, we keep regular contact, pray together, meet for coffee, and accompany women to important appointments.
- Skills Development: We want to see the long-term success and economic independence of each woman, and work hard to make skills development opportunities such as German classes possible.
- Discipleship: We believe that the Gospel of Jesus Christ transforms lives, and we walk alongside the women as they grow deeper in relationship with Jesus. We read the Bible together, organize worship nights, pray together regularly, and even connect women to churches in their home countries.
- Prevention & Awareness: An important aspect to our work is education on the issue of forced prostitution and sex trafficking. Our team has been privileged to speak publicly on this issue, as well as advise businesses on how to best respond to situations involving human trafficking.
“On the street I am just a prostitute, but when I’m here, I can be a normal woman. I can be myself.”
Working in Berlin's red light district
I'm here because Jesus would be here
Emily is the project manager of Alabaster Jar. In our blog post, she tells us about her passion for this work and what everyday life is like for the women involved.
For example, there is M. She is in her early fifties and often comes to Alabaster Jar. She's at the café all evening, happily singing along. She asks for a sleeping bag because she prefers to sleep on the street, even though she has a small room. She is afraid of her violent neighbor. When the café closes, she would prefer not to leave. She looks happy and feels visibly at ease.
Dignity and hope for women
Every gift is valuable
Volunteering with Alabaster Jar
There are so many ways for you to get involved with our work and help us see lives transformed and dignity restored in Berlin’s red light district.
A purpose in life
Several years ago, M. decided to leave the streets for good. She got a cleaning job and secured her very first apartment. However, her new home was in very bad shape. When our team found out, we quickly rallied our volunteers and got to work laying floorboards and painting! Meanwhile, we launched a fundraiser to provide M. with kitchen supplies and a fridge.
Days later, our team visited M. and brought a card translated into her mother tongue. The card reminded M. that God loved her and had a good plan for her life. When M. read the card, she started to cry. Through the tears, she told us, “Once, I was going through a really dark time. I heard God’s voice tell me that he had a purpose for my life. Now I know that was true.”
Our team continues to keep in close touch with M. to this day.