Reading Time: 4 minutes

This is part of our Taboo Series.

From the dimly lit corner of the main room of the strip club, I see a man sitting by himself. He catches me looking and gestures for me to come over. As I approach, he is wearing a warm smile and has a distinct twinkle in his eye.

He says, “Looks like you’re having a slow night.” I passively agree, although he actually just caught me in a bit of a lull on a relatively busy night. I sit down with him. After the usual casual small talk, he moves into his pitch.

“You know you don’t have to suffer these slow nights. I can help you get out of here and help you make some real money. You can do so much better than this place, but you can’t do it alone. I can offer you protection. I will appreciate you, and help you reach your true potential.”

Satisfied that he’s got me on the hook he goes quiet. Not wanting to cause a scene, or sour my night, I simply say nothing and walk away. Before heading to the dressing room to prepare for my upcoming stage performance, I let the bouncer know that there is a pimp in the club soliciting girls. The bouncer then asks him to leave. 

On a similar night a week or two later, I see a female customer sitting in a similar darkened corner of the room.

She also gestures for me to come over. As I approach, she does not ask my name as she gestures for me to sit next to her.

She asks, “Don’t you want to be loved? Wouldn’t you like to be respected and valued? You are so much better than this. I can offer you a safe place and help you become the person you were created to be. Wouldn’t it be nice to not have to do this anymore?” 

This time, though, I’m offered a gift bag.

via Erin Louis
Goodie bag from Christian stripper outreach representative

I consider walking away as before, but my irritation at some of what she says gets the better of me. It’s insulting and offensive that this person assumes no one loves, respects, or values me. I like my job. In fact, I love my job. I’m proud of myself and my independence.

“I’m sorry, but this club doesn’t allow soliciting of the entertainers,” I reply, then again tell the bouncer we have another pimp trying to recruit the girls.

However, this time, he laughs and does nothing. 

The difference between the second pimp was that was that she wasn’t actually a pimp at all, but rather a volunteer with a local Christian outreach group. And, the actual pimp and this volunteer have much more in common than it may seem at first glance.

They both assume I’m not happy, need help, and am not living up to my potential. They both offer salvation through servitude and submission.

One of these people, however, is far worse than the other, and it might not be who you think.

To me, the more dangerous person is the one who tells you that you are worthless without them, unloved, without respect. The one who tells the girls they will never find meaning, fulfillment, or love on their own.

But that person is allowed to stay in the club.

With this pimp, you must get on your knees to serve him and find your purpose. All you need to do is submit. Turn over everything you are, and admit you are powerless to control your own life, they say. You need someone to guide you, but not without cost. You must give them everything or face consequences.

The bottom line: You are nothing without your pimp Jesus Christ. 

Christian outreach groups that solicit women to join them rely on the assumption that women in adult entertainment are unwilling participants. They conflate the very real and serious problem of sex trafficking with women who choose these kinds of professions to further their religious agenda.

These groups are usually run by women who used to be porn stars, strippers, or prostitutes themselves who have been hurt or damaged by the industry. They use their experiences, as a means to lend credibility to their false claim that most if not all women in the industry are victims, knowing otherwise. They purposefully use the ignorance of the general, caring public to raise funds and support for their groups, sometimes even receiving federal funding for their open proselytizing.

These groups want the public to think that all women in these industries are abused, damaged, broken, and want out. They claim to be rescuing women, but all they are doing is exploiting stereotypes in order to advance their own objectives.

They rely on the misperception that they are working in the women’s best interests. In fact, they make the same demands as the traditional pimp.

Now, if given a choice between letting a woman die of an opioid overdose and accepting help from a predatory evangelical Christian group, I’d say let her find Jesus. When she sobers up, she can find her way to reason.

But she will be told she is broken, sinful, and in need of redemption. She will be saddled with guilt and shame, and told that the only remedy is total and complete surrender.

For those who take up this offer, they risk spending the rest of their lives on their knees serving a different kind of pimp: Jesus Christ.

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I am a former adult entertainer, with a love of books, writing and humor. My job has given me a unique perspective on life. I spent twenty years as a stripper on and off and started writing as a way to...