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Trafficked Woman Escapes Miserable Existence

“I recall early, being left for days and abandoned, with little or no food. Family members and friends would congregate to drink and then, as the night would progress, it would turn into fights. Nights were robbed of sleep,” Mary says of her childhood.  

Mary grew up on the proverbial ‘wrong side of the tracks’ in Louisville Kentucky. “I’m one of 15 children born into a family of poverty, alcoholism, depression, mental illness, drug abuse,” she says. “I was exposed to the evils of the world that will destroy a child’s soul. I was abused. And you tell no one because of shame.

When she was just 15 Mary began being ’groomed’ by a biker in her neighborhood who showed her attention. “I was special to him. I could have anything I wanted. I would get a milkshake or a banana boat,” she recalls. “He told me that he was coming back for me in two ice cream seasons. I didn’t know what that meant. I just know I got a treat.”

When she turned 18, the man forced Mary to take a trip with him. “I was begging, pleading, you know, ‘I don’t want to go. I don’t want to leave. Where are we going?’ And he wouldn’t tell me what the destination is, or why we had to leave so soon.” 

The biker began trafficking Mary to truckers at truck stops around the Southeast. “We ended up in Nashville, and on from there to another brothel in North Carolina, Georgia,” Mary says. 

These experiences led to thirty years in the sex trade, working as a prostitute and in strip clubs. 

“I don’t think any child knows what prostitution is or that they want to grow up to be a prostitute or a dancer. It’s being left with a gaping hole in your heart,” she says. “When you seek a love that you have no idea what you’re searching for, you find it in warped places,” she admits. 

Mary tried to escape the black hole of the adult entertainment industry but its pull was too powerful. “I hated being there. But, I had no support, nowhere to live,” she says. “I’ve got to eat. I’ve got to sleep. I have to survive.”

Several times, Mary was overcome by guilt and shame. Once, she even attempted suicide. 

“The pain from being trafficked can lead someone to believing that suicide is the only source of relief. I had tried to put a bullet in the chamber. The gun was jammed. I throw everything down, (thinking) ‘I’m worthless. I can’t even take my own life.’”

Mary also married five times and experimented with various religions. “I tried marriage. That didn’t work. I tried counseling. I tried New Age therapies,” she says. “I felt I had no answer.”

Then someone gave Mary a Bible.  She began reading it in the dressing room of the club where she was a dancer.  “I would find myself with a pocket Bible in the back of this nasty club, and I would pray and cry out to God.”

Mary also often went to a local church after work to pray. “I found a Catholic church. And I would go in there and spend hours, crying and carrying on, and asking the Lord to help, to make a way.”

One evening, two ladies from Scarlet Hope, a group which ministers to women in the sex trade, came to her club. “I’m sitting on this barstool. And then it occurs to me, these are the church ladies. I jumped up, ran across the room and grabbed this one girl and I said, ‘I need prayer!’ So immediately they prayed for me. 

The ladies gave Mary food and invited her to a Bible study and to church.  “I’d never seen love like this. They didn’t come to judge. They didn’t even tell me to get out of there. They just came to tell me Jesus loves me, and I never knew that,” Mary says. “So I went to the shack where I lived, and I laid down and took out the Bible that I had in that bag. And in my broken, sniveling tears, He heard me. God heard me.” 

Mary accepted Christ and began being discipled by the ladies in Scarlet Hope. She left the sex trade and later chronicled her journey in her book, A Harlot’s Cry.

Rachelle Starr, the director of Scarlet Hope, adds “Mary has grown in ways that I can’t even imagine I mean, she is truly not even the same person. When God says you are a new creation in Christ, that is exactly what has happened to Mary.” 

“In all things, God will call those who are called according to His purpose,” Mary says. “And I have purpose. I should be an alcoholic. I should not have any teeth. I should not read or write. I should not have written a book. But this is for God’s purpose.”

Mary has a heart to share her story with women who are still caught in the snare of the sex trade. “Christ loved women,” she says. “He listened. He was patient with women. He welcomed them. Believe in your heart—put a little seed of faith and that seed will grow.  All you have to do is take a step toward Christ and He’ll take two to you.”

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