Central Valley Justice Coalition is honored to be supporters of the local ministry Beauty For Ashes, founded by Gina Loera.
Beauty For Ashes reaches out to women, boys, and girls trapped in prostitution and human trafficking* with the love of Christ. For most, if not all sexually exploited persons, there is no one they feel they can trust. The people in their lives have manipulated, used, and physically, emotionally, sexually abused them for their own gain. According to a recent survey of prostituted women throughout the U.S., most prostituted women surveyed said they would like to leave, if they felt they could. So what keeps them from leaving? For many or most, they have a seller or sellers (commonly called a pimp) who uses threats, control, and violence to control them. I have seen how these sellers has gone as far as tattooing those they came to own with their own name, so the women/girls know who they belong to. For all the victims, there is the the problem of not having another way to support themselves and any children they may have and, again, not having anyone they can trust.
Notice how I’ve mentioned girls and boys among the victims. The average age in which females are brought into commercial sexual exploitation is 12 to 14. Most of those being sold out on the streets either are or started off as children. There are also boys, and men, that are being sexually exploitation.
Beauty For Ashes’ approach to those they serve is simple, yet calls for great commitment and love: Every Friday night, they go out to tracks in Fresno, areas where commercial sexual exploitation occurs, give gifts bags to women (girls and boys) they encounter, and offer prayer. And then they return the next week. That regular presence has helped form relationships in which trust can be built, where openness to the gospel can be given a door, and where the women can seek help to leave, if they wish.
We want to invite you all to consider getting involved in supporting Beauty For Ashes. We will have a “Gift Bag Party” on Monday, June 20 at 6:30 p.m. at the Fresno First Baptist Church campus.
This will be an opportunity to help make the gift bags for the month, but also to here from Gina about the ministry and their needs. Gina will be going on maternity leave at the end of July.
Among the greatest needs of the ministry are regular volunteers to commit to go out on Friday nights, both men and women. Volunteers do not have to go out every week, but we do ask that they commit to a regular schedule, such as twice a month, the first Friday of the month, etc.
We also need:
Volunteers to get donations of gift bags items or donate themselves (see Gift Bag Items)
Volunteers to prepare gift bags once a month
Volunteers for the Prayer Team
Gift Bags Items Needed:
Items such as lotions, candy, body wash, hand soap, nail polish or make-up, body spray, hair accessories, small Bibles or devotional books.
*What is the difference between prostitution and human trafficking? By federal definition, human trafficking is the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain labor service or sex acts (from adult victims) for financial gain. If the women being sold for sex is doing so without use of force, fraud, or coercion, by federal definition they are not human trafficking victims. HOWEVER, both prostitution and sex trafficking is considered commercial sexual exploitation. Any as noted before, women that may continue to be prostituted without the force, fraud, or coercion of a seller, started off as children who were sold, and thus were human trafficking victims.