Ex-dancers share their experience in the strip clubs, the restoration she found in Jesus, and why ministries like Hadassah's Hope are so important.
The founder of Hadassah's Hope, Tami, shares her heart behind the ministry and what it looks like to love and serve the dancers we meet in strip clubs.
COMMERCIAL SEX INDUSTRY
- 4.8 million people are trapped in forced sexual exploitation globally.
- 99% of victims in the commercial sex industry are women.
- Whether or not they were trafficked or entered by “choice,” research shows that women working in the commercial sex industry experience higher rates of drug addictions, sexually transmitted diseases, violent assaults, and mental health challenges than the general population.
- 95% of women in the commercial sex industry have a history of childhood sexual abuse.
- 95% of women in the commercial sex industry want to escape, but see no other means for survival
- There are more strip clubs in the United States than any other nation in the world.
- The strip club industry in the US boasts an estimated revenue of over $7 billion.
- Proprietors within the strip club industry distanced themselves from the seedy past image associated with clubs. Instead, they market their establishments as gentlemen’s clubs and cocktail lounges that offer adult entertainment.
- The highest number of strip clubs can be found in Texas (214), Florida (208), and California (177)
- According to one survey, 54% of women working in strip clubs have reported also working in prostitution or escorting.
- According to one survey, 23% of women working in strip clubs have also worked in porn.
- According to one survey, women working in strip clubs experience the following:
- Struggles with mental health – 91%
- Depression – 76%
- PTSD – 67%
- Anxiety – 64%
- Substance Abuse Issues – 69%
- Homelessness in the past 2 years – 24%
- History in the Foster Care system – 13%
- Research has shown that stripping has the following impact on women involved:
- Distorts perceptions of money and sexuality
- Encourages them to blur their personal boundaries about previously unacceptable sexual acts
- Teaches them to develop contempt for men
- Reduces their sex drives and causes problems in their intimate partnerships
- Women who work in strip clubs often feel tremendous pressure to conform to an image that will gain the most attention from the customers.
- The pressure to achieve a certain image becomes so intense that many women working in strip clubs reconstruct their appearance, develop eating disorders, and turn to drugs to stay excessively thin.
- Women working in strip clubs often feel like they have to compensate for their “flawed” body image by taking off more clothing or performing more graphic moves on the stage and floor, stretching their own boundaries to appeal to customers’ personal tastes.
- One survey found that over half of women begin working in strip clubs between the ages of 18-20.
- A study revealed that women working in strip clubs experience the following:
- Physical assault – 100%
- Attempted vaginal penetration with fingers – 61%
- Attempted vaginal penetration with objects such as bottles or cell phones – 33%
- Attempted rape – 17%
- Verbal threats – 44%
- More than half of women working in strip clubs report they have been threatened with a weapon.
- Research has shown that 100% of women working in strip clubs had been propositioned for prostitution and 75% had been stalked by men associated with the clubs.
- Work in strip clubs has been linked to trafficking, prostitution, and an increase in male sexual violence against both the women who work in the clubs and those who live and work in their vicinity.
- A 2008 report in London looked at lap-dancing in one community and found that in the three years before and after the opening of four large strip clubs in the area, incidents of rape in the community rose by 33%, while sexual assault rose by 55%.
- Sex buyers report that they can always find minor girls in strip clubs.
- In one survey, 65% of women who have worked in strip clubs identified as victims of sexual exploitation, 31% identifying as victims of sex trafficking.
* Statistics taken from the Treasures Sex Industry & Trafficking Stat Guide.
ABOUT HADASSAH'S HOPE
The mission of Hadassah’s Hope is to reach and restore women in the adult entertainment industry by sharing the hope and love of Jesus. For five years, we have been doing outreach to strip clubs in Jacksonville, Florida. We currently visit 11 strip clubs 2-4 times a month. We come with a homemade meal and a listening ear. We come with no agenda but to let the dancers know they are seen, valued, and loved by Jesus and by the “church ladies” as they refer to us. With consistent visits, we are able to build relationships with the dancers to invite them to join us in our drop-in Hope Center space on Tuesdays for community, resources, and support.
Despite misconceptions around “stripper life”, the path that leads these girls to the strip clubs is paved with deep trauma due to sexual and physical abuse, manipulation, addiction, and even trafficking. They are often barely holding it together, living in hotels, having lost custody of their kids, and seeing no hope for a better future. However, we know there is hope. We see their potential. We know they were created in God’s image and likeness on purpose for purpose. They simply need someone in their life to believe in them (often for the first time) and guide them toward health and healing.
Some exciting things we have planned for 2022 include:
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