Shades of Gray in the Red Lights


“How do I stand up for those consumed with gray when all around us is dressed in black and white?”WomenWhoLoveBanner_200

By Katy Randall | Twitter: @KatyBeStill

Shades-Gray800Even though I grew up in a wonderful church with loving people, seeing life in black and white was pretty natural for me. You were either good or bad, right or wrong, sinner or saved.

I know how hard it is to see in shades of gray.

But since traveling overseas to work in Amsterdam’s Red Light District, my perspective has changed completely. I have seen that for girls working in prostitution, all is not laid out in black and white.

My journey began in a conversation with a car valet at my beauty school. He asked if I had ever considered using my skills to help broken women, rather than make a comfortable living in a high-end salon. He had heard of a ministry where hairdressers taught women coming out of prostitution how to style hair.

In that divine moment the Lord grabbed hold of my heart. In a way He never had before.

That unexpected conversation led me to the path He had intended for me all along.

I moved to Amsterdam a few years ago to work with a ministry called The Lighthouse, and each day I gain new insights into the sex industry. Recently, I met a young woman who showed me just how much my perspective has changed. She had been trafficked years ago but was no longer under her pimp’s hold. However, due to legal issues, the only job she could obtain was to continue working freely behind the windows. So that’s what she chose to do. Her decision seems shocking to those outside the complicated world of human trafficking. They’ll ask me, “If she has her freedom, why doesn’t she flee from prostituting herself?” Or, “She gave her life to Jesus. Why is she still working behind the windows?”

Her life just doesn’t fit inside that black and white box.

I was helping this young woman apply for a tourist VISA card. She wanted to be open and honest on the application; she had nothing to hide. But then the questions began to intensify. Question after question pointedly asked about involvement in prostitution and human trafficking: Have you ever been in prostitution or committed any other criminal offenses? Have you ever trafficked or been involved with trafficking a human?

We were lost for answers.

All of the questions asked if she had been doing the trafficking, not the other way around. She had been forced into prostitution, and now that was being held against her. There was no place to explain. No room for gray areas. If she wanted to remain honest she would be denied right on the spot. We decided to cancel the application process altogether.

But I couldn’t let it go.

Situations like these weigh so heavy on my heart.

How can I change laws, address the government, or stand up to those in the church?

How do I explain to those who don’t understand the broken world of human trafficking?

How do I stand up for those consumed with gray when all around us is dressed in black and white?

I don’t know.

But I have to try.

Because I long for us to naturally love and care for the easily judged.

To see people in beautiful angles.

To think outside our black and white box.

To view life in shades of gray.


About Katy:

KatyRandallMy name is Katy Randall and I’m an unnatural redhead in my mid-twenties. I grew up in San Diego but for the last few years I’ve been working with a ministry called The Lighthouse in Amsterdam’s infamous Red Light District. I love Jesus and studying the Word of God. In fact, my love for scripture inspired me to graduate from Calvary Chapel Bible College with an AA in Theology. I’m a Cosmetologist by trade with the pastime of Lindy Hopping. Naturally, I love music as well as getting lost in a good book, especially when it’s paired with a cup of Trader Joe’s Spicy Chai or German Fruit Tea.