Beauty From Ashes Videos


Friday, February 12, 2010

Breaking the Silence against Child Sex Trafficking in America

There was a time when “domestic violence” didn’t exist. Merely forty years ago, society was silent when women were violated in the home; yet today, domestic violence is strongly prohibited, and programs and funding are in place to prosecute the abuser and protect and support the survivors.

Today we struggle with the problem of domestic minor sex trafficking – the exploitation of America’s children through prostitution, pornography and sexual entertainment. Prostituted children are raped multiple times an evening and held under physical and emotional threats from their trafficker — yet they aren’t given the sympathetic treatment that victims of domestic violence receive, even though their situations hold striking resemblances. How can the anti-trafficking movement learn from the success of the anti-domestic violence movement and shorten the time of success from forty years to…less?

In the anti-domestic violence movement women held the key in unveiling domestic violence by talking within their communities, opening shelters and pressing for laws that protect victims, charge abusers, and fund support programs for victims. Ordinary women in communities, at the grassroots level, raised funds and opened shelters. The very first shelter, Women’s Advocates in St. Paul, was opened in 1974 by a group of women who started responding to domestic violence by setting up a hotline and then quickly realized that what women and children needed most was a safe place so they could leave their situation of abuse. They funded the country’s first domestic violence shelter by sending letters to friends and family members, and by applying for every government funding program they could find.

Women led in lobbying for tougher laws and government funding. In doing so, they changed the way we as a society understand and approach domestic violence by giving voice to the problem and tackling the stigma and the silence directly. We now live in a time where acts of domestic violence are automatically recognized as crimes, and victims have support through laws, legal enforcement and government funding.

Today’s “battered wife” is the prostituted child. Victimized and stigmatized into silence and not aware of any place to escape, shelter or redress, these American children of domestic minor sex trafficking are left on the streets, repeatedly victimized and then identified as the cause of the problem of prostitution instead of the victim.

Experts estimate that at least 100,000 American juveniles are victimized through prostitution in America each year. In America, the average age for a child to be lured by a trafficker (pimp) into commercial sexual exploitation is just 13 years old. Once this child falls into the situation of prostitution, it becomes incredibly difficult for her to escape. She is financially dependent on the pimp, and like a victim of domestic violence, it is dangerous for her to try to leave. The hotlines with information, safe shelters to escape, strong laws and legal enforcement to protect them, and funding to support their survival and healing which allowed the battered woman to escape are critical also for the prostituted. These do not currently exist in the number required for a meaningful response to the crime of domestic minor sex trafficking.

The anti-trafficking movement can succeed in fighting the exploitation of children by taking a lesson from the movement to end domestic violence: increase support for the organizations that are raising awareness, setting up shelters, and advocating for tougher laws and government funding, and engage the community networks fully to be the safety net that is so badly needed by those children who are at-risk for trafficking or who have already become victims of this crime. Changing perceptions at the community level will affect the priorities of our leaders.

Source: Shared Hope International

FL #2 in Human Trafficking, Valentine's Outreaches & More News

20% of NATIONAL HUMAN TRAFFICKING CASES WERE IN LEE COUNTY FLORIDA: It was announced by Lieutenant Brad Hamilton, Intelligence Division of the Lee County Sheriff's Department, at the 2/11 Lee County Human Trafficking Task Force Meeting, that they have investigated 23 cases of human trafficking in the past 7 months of the approximate 200 that were investigated nationally in 2009. He expressed that the biggest gap in the system is services to victims: case management, mental health care and after care.

BEAUTY FROM ASHES SEX TRAFFICKING RESTORATION PROJECT: We have a detailed business plan to meet the needs of the victims, minors and adults, that addresses everything the Lieutenant expressed that includes an emergency shelter, long term residential safehome and a walk in resource center. Developed from our extensive experience working with victims and survivors since 2005, in addition to our founder's experience in the sex industry and human trafficking and advisers nationally, we believe that this unique model has the potential for setting the pace for sex trafficking restoration programs. If you are interested in finding out more and investing into this much needed, life transforming project, please contact Steve Shematz.

100,000 - 300,000 American kids a year are victimized through the practice of child prostitution. - Ernie Allen, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. It is estimated that there are 800,000 people forced into modern day slavery annually, 80% are sex trafficking, 70% are women and children. Florida is the #2 state for human trafficking and South Florida is considered one of the top areas in terms of arrests, investigations and rescues of sex trafficking victims. The USA has invested millions of dollars into illegal immigrants and international victims of human trafficking, NOW is the time we invest in assisting our OWN victims of human trafficking. It is no coincidence that Beauty From Ashes is located in South Florida.


On February 21, 2010, churches around the world will be praying for those held captive in honor of the first ever Freedom Sunday. Please join in this worldwide day of reflection by preaching about the freedom Jesus brings, singing songs of redemption. For more information on this Not For Sale event CLICK HERE

If you're interested in scheduling Beauty From Ashes to speak, exhibit or do a sex trafficking outreach training at your church or event, please contact us at or call 239.939.9218. Remember, awareness leads to intervention & prevention of human slavery!

VALENTINE'S STRIP CLUB OUTREACH: Saturday, February 13 7-10pm in our local adopted club. We'll be distributing gifts bags with the Father's Love Letter DVD, a valentine from Jesus, Bare Essential's make up kits, lip gloss, nail polish, Burt's Bee products and valentine's candies in addition to serving a delicious home cooked meal of beef stroganoff, vegetable casserole, rolls & butter and delectable deserts by Sugar Momma Cupcakes. Our next outreach is Saturday, February 29th and we are in need of food prep. Please contact us if you can make a dish.

ARTWORK AUCTIONED FOR FUND RAISER: Julie Shematz's multiple media artwork was auctioned at the Stiletto Art Project in Venice, FL on Saturday, February 6th. All proceeds go to the similar organization founded by Harmony Dust, a former sex worker, in California, Treasure's Out of Darkness. If you are interested in Julie making a custom piece of artwork for a fund raiser, please contact her at 100% of the proceeds of her artwork goes to sex slavery abolition and services for victims and survivors.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED: Please contact Pastor Julie if you can assist in any of the below areas.
Internet/Social Networking Shepherds (MySpace, Facebook & Twitter)
Gift Assembly/Shopping
Event Coordination
Case Management
Grant Writing

WEEKLY BIBLE STUDY: Every Monday 5:30 - 8:30 that includes dinner. We currently are studying Rick Warren's Life's Healing Choices and will resume the 2nd week of the curriculum on February 15th.

MONTHLY TEAM MEETINGS: The first Saturday of each month, that include inventorying beauty supply donations (from a national company/chain).

NEW VOLUNTEER ORIENTATION MEETING: Saturday, March 6th, 12:30 - 3.

Please RSVP attending the above meetings. Address and directions will be provided when you RSVP.

PRAYER REQUESTS: Please continue to pray for the women, men & children we serve in and from the sex industry. Agree with us for them to be set free from the bondages of sin and that they put their trust in Jesus Christ to be their Savior, Healer and Provider. We are in a season of applying for grants and to foundations, please agree with us for favor and that the resources be sent in from the North, South, East & West. For your prayer requests, email them to us at:

TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATIONS: For your love gift, we will give you our private label, Child of God, CD for a minimum donation of $35 plus $5 shipping as a way to say thank you. To give online securely online, CLICK HERE or send cash, check or money order to 5100 S. Cleveland Avenue, Suite 318-148, Fort Myers, FL 33907.

In His love & service.
Steve, Julie & the FREEdom™ Team

Beauty From Ashes™ Ministries
Where Victims Become Over-Comers
877.4BFA SOS (423.2767) Toll Free Help Line