I am a Treasure
My name is Jessika, and I am a Treasure….
Treasures Ministry is a ministry that helps provide resources to women who have worked in the sex industry. I was privileged to be introduced to Treasures on one of their very first outreaches, when Harmony and her team visited my club and gave us gift bags that were filled with sweet little reminders that I am loved, valued, and purposed.
Project Cultivate has partnered with Treasures in several ways. They have donated gifts for Treasures outreach, and some members of PC have even joined our monthly outreach team. They are working together to help empower women and spread awareness of the sex-trafficking industry.
I started working in the sex trade at age 18, and continued that work for over a decade. As you can imagine it can be a challenge to enter the workforce when so much of what I had known was how to be miss-used or abused for money. I was finding my identity in my ability to please men sexually, and make a profit for the club owners and other men in my life.
After 3 years of receiving consistent outreach from the Treasures team, I did finally work up the courage to leave the industry once and for all. Through ministries like Treasures I have learned emotional intelligence, as well as how to write, speak, and dress to impress!
Programs like Celebrate Recovery and the Qualified Academy, have taught me so many valuable social, business, and relationship skills. But there is one thing that I want to touch on today, and that is how important faith has been to my story and my journey out of the sex trade.
Why is faith needed for women coming out of sex trafficking? The main message I received from Treasures outreach was that I was valued. That I had a destiny and it was bigger than pleasing men for money. Those messages stem from scripture.
While business and social skills will help me to succeed in my career, without that fundamental understanding of my worth I would have just continued to return to the sex trade. It is extremely difficult to leave the sex industry once you’re in it. And the more years that pass by the harder it gets.
Without faith and an understanding that there was a God who loved me regardless of the things that I had done, I would certainly still be working in the sex trade. More so than just sharing their faith with me, Harmony and her team showed me their faith. When times were tough in their own lives, leaders and volunteers allowed me to witness their unshakable faith in action. And when it was time for me to experience my own hard times, whether financial or heartbreak, I had a model to follow; a faith to lean on and a church community that never turned me away because of my sins.
The beautiful thing about God’s love is that nothing is required in return. I don’t have to perform. In the beginning their faith held me up when I wasn’t ready to believe myself, but as I developed my own faith, my spirit became strong and whole, and now no one could ever convince me to sell my body again.
Faith is what pushes me through lean months when there is not much money, or there’s a tough breakup, or a family member is ill. The faith that was introduced to me is the solid foundation that the rest of my life and success is built on. On tough nights it’s this faith and the love of fellow believers that pushes me through till dawn so that I can live to fight another day.
For me, as a woman exiting the sex trade, the best introduction to faith was through safe people offering me support, and living out their faith in a way that I could witness. Through their strength I learned how to be strong myself.
I’m so grateful for the example of strong faith I was able to witness when I left the sex industry. Thank you Project Cultivate and Treasures for all your hard work! I wouldn’t be where I am today without your support!
Jessika Fuhrmaneck is a member of the Writing and Speaking team for both Treasures LA and Two Wings. She has recently begun working with Love Nashville as part of a Discipleship Team that helps to mentor women who are working in the sex trade.