Hnin Yadi

Every week our outreach teams go out on the streets to the most vulnerable areas. Outreach has always been a foundational principle for Eden. Building bridges to assist women trapped in sexual exploitation, with little or no choice, remuneration or care, to shift to finding places representing healing and wholeness is of utmost importance. Outreach is a bridge where we take information about Eden’s drop-in centers and offer invitations for the women to come.  

Following this, we build bridges to assist in escaping the exploitative circumstances and to join the many things on offer at our drop-in centers. This can include receiving medical or emergency care, making use of the facilities such as the laundry, and joining a vocational training program. This process takes much time, persistence, trial and error, relationship and trust building, and we are aware that when these bridges are sound, people can take steps to freedom securely.

Every month we hold an ‘awareness party’.  Often, our outreach teams have made contact with some who attend, however, when we invite everyone from the brothel, Eden staff have the opportunity to meet new women. This was how Hnin Yadi came to Eden.

Her story was riddled with childhood trauma, domestic violence and divorce, all before she was 11 years old. Her Father died later when she was 15 and she was forced to leave school because there was no one to support her financially. She began working in the market, however, her mother suffered a stroke and she had to stop work in order to take care of her. Her mother remarried and sadly, Hnin Yadi’s stepfather sexually assaulted her.

At the age of 16 she ran away to get married to escape the abuse. She fell pregnant, but six months into her pregnancy, her husband was washed overboard while working as a seaman. With very few options, she went to live with her aunt and accepted what little paid work she could with a small baby. Her aunt helped her a little, but things were very difficult. When she was 18 years old, her neighbor told her about a job in another city that would pay her much more than what she was earning. Full of hope, she agreed, and went with her neighbor to the new job. Against her will, her neighbor sold her into prostitution and she was forcibly moved between cities and sexually exploited. She managed to escape and flee to Yangon but when she arrived in the city, she was so broken and full of despair that she resorted to working in a brothel. This is when the Eden outreach team met her.

The outreach team invited her to our monthly awareness event at the local drop-in center and she bravely attended. It was full of so much fun and laughter! At this event, she met the beauty salon trainer and hope sprang up within her that this could be her chance to find a sustainable and safe job.

Hnin Yadi diligently attended our beauty therapy training program for four months in the drop-in center, equipping her to work in a beauty salon. Additionally, she received trauma counseling which helped to reduce her symptoms of PTSD, increase her resilience, and build confidence once again.  



At the conclusion of the program, Eden helped her with a starter makeup kit and she started her own business doing makeup in her area for school graduations and award ceremonies. People loved her work and her reputation spread so she began to be asked to do weddings as well! 

It has been several months since she started her business and she is earning money and managing the work well. Hnin Yadi's story is testament to the changes possible when women are offered opportunities, hope, support, vocational training, and trauma counseling. This holistic approach can be the bridge to freedom from exploitation for trafficking victims.