Beauty From Ashes Videos


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

BFA Founder Celebrates 8 Yrs of Being Free From the Sex Industry, OutREACH, Weekly Bible Study, Int'l HT & Prostitution Conference & More News!

"If you receive five girls and one completely changes her life, then you're doing well. The biggest problem is taking her to a place where she can get help — psychological, mental, substance abuse . . . If you send the girl to a foster home or a group home, it's not going to help."  READ MORE

  Fort Myers, FL, Saturday, October 9th, the Beauty From Ashes (BFA) OutREACH team will be delivering and serving a home cooked meal of eggplant parmesan, Italian salad, rolls and deserts to the employees of our local adopted strip club.  Additionally, the team will be giving away gift bags filled with beauty supplies, toiletries, a DVD of over-comer, Julie Shematz's, interview on the Healing Today Show and Anthony Skinner's CD, Forever and a Day.    The team will also be leading a bible study and doing foot washings from the locker room.  Please keep the team and those they will influence in your prayers.  

PROSTITUTION & HUMAN TRAFFICKING CONFERENCE:  University of Ohio, Toledo, Ohio, October 6-8.  Julie Shematz, BFA CEO & Founder, will be representing BFA at this 7th annual international conference.  BFA's involvement in this conference is being funded by the capacity building grant BFA received from the Department of Health & Human Services.  Mrs. Shematz has been asked to be an academic speaker for the conference next year.  For more information on the conference, CLICK HERE.  For a list of upcoming BFA events, CLICK HERE. To schedule BFA for an event, CLICK HERE.  

BFA WEEKLY BIBLE STUDY:  Beginning Wednesday, October 13th, 1-3pm at Barry University, BFA will be facilitating a weekly bible study & life skills development class for victims/survivors of commercialized sexual exploitation to learn how to become over-comers.   Lunch will be served.  Registration is required.   For more information, contact Julie Shematz.  

MENTORS & VOLUNTEERS NEEDED:  BFA is in need of mature, stable minded and committed servants to assist us in providing eduction to the community, and advocating, reaching, rescuing and restoring victims of commercialized sexual exploitation and sex trafficking.  If you are interested, please contact BFA Volunteer Coordinator, Dotti Craig.   For a list of volunteer positions, CLICK HERE.  

FAMILY CHRISTIAN STORE IS DONATING BIBLES to BFA:  The Family Christian Store located at the Gulf Coast Town Center in Fort Myers, FL is making Beauty From Ashes Ministries their ministry of the month for October!  When you give $5 at the store for BFA, they will provide to us a beautiful, purple, leather, New Testament outreach bible.  Please stop by Family Christian for all your Christian bookstore needs, give to BFA's need of outreach bibles, and tell them thanks!   [We are in desperate need of bibles!  We are wanting to distribute 50 of these for our Christmas gift give away in December].

theCALL2XXX:  Join us for weekly global prayer to abolish slavery and for the organizations reaching, rescuing, restoring and advocating for the victims.  Fridays 8-9am EST For more information and prayer guide:  CLICK HERE

PRAY WITH BFA: Please agree with us that God changes the victims/survivors 'want to' and they commit to a relationship with their Creator, the journey of healing and healthy relationships.  May they have a revelation of who God is and who they are in Him, their identities restored, and understand what true love and freedom really is.  

PRAYER REQUESTS:  We care for you and have a team that prays over your every need.  Please send them to

DONATIONS:  Your partnership is vital for us to continue providing awareness, advocacy and reach, rescue and restoration services to victims of commercialized sexual exploitation.  Please consider becoming a monthly partner by giving a tax deductible gift today.  For  $35 or more we will send you our  Child of God CD.  For secure online donations, CLICK HERE or mail your check, cash or money order to Beauty From Ashes, 5100 S. Cleveland Ave., Ste, 318-148, Fort Myers, FL 33907.



I want to personally thank you for your support and encouragement, especially for those that have become a part of my healthy support community the past 8 years. This ministry is not mine, it's the Lord's and He has only entrusted it to me for a season.  Because of your faithfulness and willingness to partner with me, WE have accomplished what we have and will continue to do so.  There is NO WAY I could do this alone!  

I can barely believe it was on Yom Kippur, 2002, that I surrendered all to Christ and what He has done over the past 8 years of my life.  He set me free from many bondages and has proven through my life, and others, that He is the God of hope and restoration.  He gives beauty for ashes!  Because He is not a respecter of persons, I know what He did for me, He will do for countless others.  That [His Word & character] are fuel for my passion to lead BFA.  Thank you for joining with me to see BFA's vision come to pass.  Together we are better and we are making a difference!  God bless you!  I sincerely appreciate you dearly. 

The BEST is yet to come! 

In His passionate love & service,

Julie Shematz & BFA FREEdom™ Team

Beauty From Ashes™ Ministries  
Where Victims Become Over-Comers

FBI Agent Leads Task Force Targeting Pimps in Child Prostitution

TAMPA — In 2008, FBI agent Gregory Christopher helped launch a task force aimed at rescuing children from prostitution. In just one year, the group freed 22 children in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.
For that, Christopher was named the State/Federal Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.
As leader of the Tampa Area Crimes Against Children task force, Christopher, 32, works with four detectives to remove minors from the grasp of preying pimps.
The St. Petersburg Times spoke with him recently about his job, the problems child prostitutes face and what the community can do to help.
What exactly does the task force do?
It's an FBI-led task force, comprised of Tampa police and the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. It started informally about two years ago, and we rescued 22 kids. In 2010, we're pretty much on par. (They've found 21 children so far.) The whole purpose is, one, recovering the kids, and, two, prosecuting the individual who exploited them through sex.
So what happens to the pimps?
We prosecute them in federal or state court — whoever can give the most time. The pimps, they're shocked when they find out they're going to go to jail for this long. They think they were just being a pimp. But these are children. The youngest we've seen is 13.
What kind of time can they get?
It depends on many factors. In federal (court), it's no less than 10 to 15, to life.
What is the typical victim you come across?
A lot of these kids are foster kids, runaway kids. There's not a lot of people looking out for them. I'd say about 70 percent or so are foster kids. We work closely with DCF (the Department of Children and Families).
Twenty-two children rescued in Tampa Bay in just one year — does that seem high to you?
I have no doubt there's a lot more out there. I get at least two or three leads a week. We can't act on everything. There's no way.
So what happens to the girls once you find them?
When girls were arrested in the past, they were booked (into a juvenile justice center), bonded out and went back on the street. You have to treat the girls like a victim — because she is. I've had girls spit in my face. I've had girls cuss me out. I'll tell you why: They haven't had experiences where police are on their side. They're probably going to be beat by their pimp for messing up. It takes a concerted effort to make it clear you want to help them. Pimps completely brainwash a child. It's the most frustrating part about it.
What happens then?
If you receive five girls and one completely changes her life, then you're doing well. The biggest problem is taking her to a place where she can get help — psychological, mental, substance abuse. Now, we're sending them out of state to Children of the Night in California and Gems in New York. If you send the girl to a foster home or a group home, it's not going to help. Part of that task force (the Florida Statewide Task Force on Human Trafficking) is figuring out how to get a place like that here.
How does something like this even occur in the first place?
The girls are told the pimp is their boyfriend. They think, "He's going to love me. He's keeping me fed. He's giving me a place to stay." The girls don't get the money. The guys have nice cars, live in decent places, have nice clothes. When you find the girls, they're completely numb.
How do you deal with seeing tragedies like these, day after day?
What makes it worthwhile is just seeing the kids when we have a successful rescue. There's nothing better than seeing the girls get out of the game. Some keep in touch with me. They tell me "I hated you at first," but later they're thankful. That's what makes it tolerable: the success stories, and, I've got to be honest, seeing these guys go to jail for a long time.
What can we, as a community, do to help?
You'll be surprised what you can observe or come across. We have our office staffed around-the-clock. Call (813) 253-1000, and someone will be available. Really, it's just about being observant. You could be driving around on, for example, Nebraska Avenue, and you could see a young girl out there. You know that's not right — she looks too young. Call in and describe the girl, where she is and that she looks young. We will address it.