Beauty From Ashes Videos


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Lee Ministry For Sex Workers Shows the Way

Some of us have a tolerant attitude toward at least parts of the sex business—stripping, porn films, maybe even prostitution, if it involves consenting adults. We figure its their choice.

Maybe, but Julie Taylor Shematz has seen the dark side during her seven years as a dancer, including the despair of adult women and the exploitation of the young.

Shematz has put her faith into action to help women who wish to quit the trade and build a new life. We’d do well to listen to her and to support ministries such as hers.

Shematz, 44, has given up stripping; she and her husband, Steve, now run Beauty From Ashes, a nonprofit that counsels erotic dancers, sex workers, porn actors and sex-trafficking victims.

Shematz’s ministry is conducting its annual Beauty From Ashes National Strip Club Outreach & XXX Ministry Training at Word of Life Church in Fort Myers. It’s to coach volunteers on how to offer sex workers a way out.

It’s part of a broader attack on the exploitation of women, including the trafficking of minors for domestic work and sex.

Lee County law enforcement and social workers have staked out an aggressive position against human trafficking, after some gruesome cases here in recent years.

Shematz is seeking to develop Freedom Children’s Home, a home for minors who are victims of domestic sex trafficking. This is a wonderful goal. Nola Theiss, coordinator of the Lee County Human Trafficking Task Force and executive director of Human Trafficking Awareness Partnerships, says there are only two other homes in the country that aim to help juvenile sex victims.

“A 12-year-old gets picked up and forced into the sex trade,” Theiss says. “She’s under the radar for three years until she’s rescued. But what do you do then? You don’t put her in the 10th grade and say ‘good luck.’”

Shematz is trying to offer these women more than good wishes.

Source: Fort Myers News Press Editorial by David Plazas

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