Beauty From Ashes Videos


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Safe Housing is More Than a Roof Over a Head for Sex Trafficking/Industry Victims

In a perfect world, the victims of human trafficking or sex industry are free to live a life happily ever after, once they are freed from the brutality of their pimps or traffickers. However, experts say the process of restoring a victim's life is much more complicated than what one might think it is. In fact, they argue that it takes more than counseling sessions or medical assistances for victims to be fully recovered from the bondage of sex industry or human trafficking.

Victims often re-victimized by the sex industry without assistance
Julie Shematz, a former stripper and a co-founder of BeautyfromAshes, an organization assisting victims of sex industry and trafficking, explains the complexity behind the treatment of the victims. She points out a few factors behind such complexity of the issue. The factors include, quick money, the victim's lack of life skill, and wounds caused by trauma.

Quick Money, wounds from trauma, and lack of life skills
Julie states that quick money was one of the reasons why she was pulled back to sex industry in the past as a stripper:

"Most are accustomed to being told what to do or alternately, working very little to make the money they need to survive. Making healthy decisions and exercising self discipline is a huge hurdle, yet necessary for even a simple 40 hour a week job at Walmart or waitressing. Not to mention that working a 40 hour week to earn what one previously could make in an hour or two is a tough transition."

She also points out wounds from trauma hinders victims from establishing healthy relationship in an normal environment. Julie says that as an advocates, she has witnessed so many victims moving church to church, community to community, or job to job because they have difficulties trusting other people or establishing a healthy relationship with other people surrounding them.

Many victims find the sex industry as a comfort zone.
Because of their wounds, it is much more difficult for them to trust people than an average Joe can, which becomes another factor to reinforce them to go back to the sex industry. As they find sex industry the only place where they feel accepted and affirmed, Julie says that the victims tend to return to "what is familiar, missing the only family they consider themselves to have."

Average Joe vs. victims in sex industry/trafficking
Julie also gave an example of a client who attended a school and was expelled not long after because of her behavioral problems. She says that their lack of life skills, including self-discipline, hinders them from starting a normal life for them. Average Joe Americans learn to get up early in the morning and go to school everyday as they are growing up under their parents' roof. They learn that they need to be disciplined in order to pass classes to graduate. When they group they apply the same life skill to their work environment to support themselves or bring bread and butter on the table for their families.

On the other hand, victims of sex trafficking or sex industry learn how to take care of themselves to attract customers. They also learn to rely on drugs or alcohol to cope with the stress caused by the exploitation or pimps. Instead of learning how to build a healthy relationship, they learned to be told what to do by their exploiters.

Safe housing for the victims means more than a roof over their heads
The only thing to prevent the victims from going back to the sex industry is to provide them a family environment to support them with unconditional love. And, the way to provide a family environment is to provide them a safe housing to live with other survivors of sex industry or human trafficking. An average Joe, regardless of how loving he/she is, will not understand the victims' pain and trauma caused by the sex industry. They will not understand why the victims feel the urge to go back to the sex industry and reach out for drugs to deal with the pains and trauma. Only the people who were in the industry can do so based on their experience in sex industry. People in the sex industry will understand the victims and may give them the shoulders to cry on, but they will not help them get out of the exploitation. Rather, they will try to pull them back to the further exploitation and vicious cycles of abuse. Hence, safe housing for the victims becomes a unique but vital family environment for the survivors to support each other to break away from the cycles. Do you still need more information to support their cause? Then check out these sites below:

Source: Norfolk Human Rights Examiner

1 comment:

  1. Dear Steve and julie:

    This blog was really helpful to me in understanding the full dimension of reaching out to survivors of sexual trafficking and the sex industry. What became very clear to me after reading this, and became a key part of my "punch list prayer" this morning, is thatpeople ministering to sex industry surviovrs and surpivors of human trafficking have to have real humility and a real heart of compassion. It' so easy to get resentful and judgmental when people don't do what we think is good for them or what we think they ought to do. (I find myself getting this way in my work all the time, and I constantly need to catch myself at it.)

    Jesus tells us we need to forgi9ve the bother (or sister) who sins against us 70 X 7 times, and this may also apply to people who "backslide" or slip back into old ways and lifestyles as well. In other words, if someone goes back to drinking, or drugs, or stripping, or whatever, because that's their comfort zone and that's how they respond to stress, perceived need, etc., all we can really love them and accept them as the preciousl children of God that they rerally are when they come back. What we can't do is be judgmental and go to "I told you so" or "How could you do that?" or whatever we would do in our flesh, because it's not our flesh but the spirit of God in us that's ultimately tgoing to help them change. We died, and it's no longer we who live, but Christ who lives in us, and the likfe we live in the body is by faith in the Son of God, who loves us and gave Himself for us.

    Anyway, thanks again. Love and

    God bless!!!!!