Pornography in the US
In recent years, media has glamorized the lifestyle of the pornography industry with shows like Girls Next Door that followed the lives of three Playboy bunnies. But there is a much darker side to the industry. Every second, $3,075.64 is being spent on pornography, however since there’s so much free content available, this number might be lower. Forty million U.S. adults regularly visit pornography sites. Hollywood releases 11,000 adult movies per year, which is more than 20 times the mainstream movie production. There are more women employed by the sex industry than any other time in history. Human trafficking is the second largest global organized crime, generating approximately 31.6 billion USD each year.* One woman, Harmony Dust is very familiar with these statistics.
At thirteen, after being abandoned by her mother one summer and left to take care of her younger brother, Dust becomes susceptible to a relationship that turns out to be toxic, abusive, and ultimately exploitative. She eventually finds herself working in a strip club at the age of nineteen, and her boyfriend becomes her pimp, controlling her every move and taking all of her money.
Cherly Baker, Co-Founder of Celebrate Recovery shares her take on Scars and Stilettos.
“As Harmony tells her life story, we learn how women get trapped in sexual exploitation with so little hope for a way out. She dispels the myths of the glamour of stripping and tells us how the women often really feel about their customers. Harmony shows us the power of real friendships and the strength found through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Most importantly, Harmony uses His strength to use her past hurts to reach out and help others.”
Scars and Stilettos is Dust’s stark, hones, and ultimately hopeful story of how God found her in that dark, noisy place, led her back out, and prompted her to help others who are trapped as she once was. It exposes the realities of commercial sex industry and inspires hope that freedom and healing are possible for those involved. Dust has since graduated magna cum laude from UCLA where she also completed an MA in Social Welfare, and now leads Treasures, an outreach and support group to women in the sex industry and victims of sex trafficking. Through the Treasures Trainings, she has provided training to help launch outreaches in over 120 cities on six continents.
“When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” Matthew 25: 39-40
Dr. Henry Cloud a psychologist explains why he loves Scars and Stilettos.
“It will move you, open your eyes to what women caught in this trap need, how you can help, and most of all, cause you to feel compassion instead of judgement. And …there IS a way out.”
Pray for everyone involved in this industry. Pray that God would use Harmony and Treasures Ministries and other similar ministries to reach the men and women in this industry. Give them open doors and favor as they meet people right where they are. Provide resources for them to do ministry. Ask God to bring these women into a relationship with His Son and that there would be healing. Ask the Holy Spirit to speak His truth to these women who have been hurt and have grown to believe so many lies. Pray for counselors to offer their resources to the women who want counseling.
Serve. Your church might not have a ministry like Treasures, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t women in your church or community who haven’t gone through something similar. Meet with your women’s ministry or if you have a Celebrate Recovery ask the leaders and see how you can best serve this group of women. It might be praying. It might be making meals for a weekly meeting that they might have or it might even be offering your professional background to mentor someone. Consider attending one of Treasures trainings to start a similar ministry at your church.
Organize a lip gloss drive. Treasures uses lip gloss as a way to have a conversation with someone in the industry. It is a small token of love to show the woman that they are valued. Grab your girlfriends, small group, or women’s ministry and do a lip gloss drive. If you are having an event, have everyone bring one as part of their “ticket.” This can also be fun to do around the holidays. It is something simple to buy extra of as you holiday shop.
*Statistics cited from I Am Treasure