Promises of Hope: Moe Lay's Story

Moe Lay has been trapped in slavery all her life. 

She was forced to work from a young age and give all her earnings to her violent, alcoholic father.  In order to escape this slavery, she made friends with the wrong crowd. They showed her attention and friendship, but when she was only 15 years old, they sold her virginity to a brothel. She became enslaved to the brothel owner for four years before being released because she was no longer underage. At 19, she was looking for love – something she had never felt – and soon married a gambling addict who forced her to work in street prostitution to pay for his addiction.

At the age of 22, Moe Lay already had two children whom she could hardly feed because of her husband's uncontrollable gambling addiction. When she gave birth to her third child, she needed an operation that would cost 250 USD. She had no choice but to borrow money from a local gangster. She was required to pay back the debt by making daily payments of $5 until it was fully repaid. Because she had never attended school, she was an easy target and was tricked and made to pay 10 USD per day for two years. This equates to over 7,000 USD; 28-times the original amount borrowed. Her and her children would often go hungry in order to pay this debt. 


Moe Lay joined the drop-in center six months ago. Eden was able to provide her with counseling and we helped her realize that she was in a pattern of slavery and had a slavery mindset. She never once had the opportunity to follow her passion, keep her money, or treat herself to anything. She was being kept from stepping closer to the promise of hope.

When we later discussed her debt with her, she learned she had already paid 7,000 USD over the previous two years. As soon as she realized this, we did role play with her to empower and embolden her, giving her hope and confidence to confront the gangster. If any of us wish to free ourselves from fear, we must face lions, as depicted in the ‘Dream Necklace’, in order to stand on the ‘Promise of Hope’. 

Moe Lay eventually mustered the confidence to approach the gangster. She went to his house and confronted him, telling him that she had already paid more than what she owed, that he no longer had any claim over her and that she was now free.


As she left his house, it was as if the waters that had held her back had suddenly parted, allowing her to step into freedom and hope. Because Moe Lay is now receiving a stipend from Eden, she can support her family without having to worry about debt repayment or working in street prostitution. As hope for her future has been restored, she may finally pursue her goal of owning her own shop.

We can learn from Moe Lay’s courage, we cannot be enslaved by fear and give it power over us; instead, we must speak out against injustice in order to stand on the ‘Promise of Hope’. We must look fear in the face, and see that we are not victims or slaves, but victors with a promise of hope. Our Exodus moment is closer than we believe, as we leave the slavery of our past, we are welcomed into a land of promise flowing with milk and honey.


"The amazing work that Eden’s doing is changing lives one at a time. And it doesn’t stop with just bringing people off the streets. The restoration and renewal of hope through training of a trade and work placement is something truly admirable and sorely needed in this generation!"

Charissa | via Facebook