I left the industry in 2011, but I can still remember what a Friday night felt like. Fridays were the nights I knew I was going to make money. I never had the pleasure of receiving a gift from Treasures while I was in the industry, but honestly, I never would have been able to receive a “no strings attached” kind of gift. I might have even thrown it right back at the volunteer who handed it to me. All I knew was, if someone gave something, I was obligated to have sex with them or do something for them.
So, I understand the girl’s speculation when we walk into a club and hand them gifts. Many times the girls ask, “What do you want? Why are you doing this?” It took me years to understand that I don’t owe anybody anything when they give me a gift—to understand that there are genuinely nice people out there who care about me and don’t want anything in return.
On Friday night, we had the opportunity to personally hand the gifts to the women working in strip clubs in Downtown LA. We had the privilege of telling these truths to them. For some of the girls, just as it would have been with me, the gifts don’t make sense… not when we are used to exchanging our bodies for “things”. For others, Friday may have been the first time they actually heard the truth that there are loved, not for what they look like or what they can give, but for who they are.
This is a message we had been trying to deliver to the women in Downtown for two months. Each month, something prevented us from taking this particular route. We were expectant for what was going to happen. We believed there was a reason for the delay.
I live in Los Angeles and I frequently pass by the clubs on our Downtown route. When the first delay came, I decided that I was going to pray for one of the clubs that historically never allows the gifts in. Every time I would pass by it, I would pray for the girls. I would pray that people would be placed in their lives to encourage and lift them up during difficult times. I prayed that they would come to know that they are so much more than a pretty face, that they would realize their purpose here on earth and that they would dare to dream. I also prayed for the managers and bouncers of the club, that their hearts would be softened and that they would allow these tangible gifts of love to get into the hands of the girls.
On Friday, I was so excited to see what was going to happen when we visited this particular club! Sure enough, every single gift was received by the clubs including the club that never let’s us bring the gifts in!
I am confident that the message of love was deposited into the women’s hearts. I believe in divine timing- there was a reason for the delay. Maybe someone who really needed this message wasn’t going to be there the nights we had planned to go or she wasn’t ready to receive it, but on this night she was.
For the woman who is reading this- I hope you know that there are seeds of greatness inside of you. You are not too far gone. Instead you are loved by many, your value is far beyond any precious stone and you were created for an amazing purpose. You are a champion! You have the power within you to rise above your circumstances and the labels people have placed on you.
So whether you are happy and don’t want to leave or you’ve been in the Industry for twenty years and don’t know how to leave, I want you to know that we are here to support you, to lend an understanding ear, a shoulder to cry on and a hand to help.
Article by Monique Calderon