X3 featured in The Metro Newspaper in the UK, in their portion of the paper called “Metrosexual.” We were in London this past year and they heard about the work we do. Check it out…
Taking a path away from the streets
There are about 80,000 women working in the British sex industry and Annie LobÃ©rt has a personal message for each one of them: ‘Your purpose in life is not to spread your legs,’ she says firmly. ‘You deserve to be treated like a princess.’
LobÃ©rt (pictured below) worked as a high-class escort in Las Vegas for 11 years.
During my years as an escort I was raped at gunpoint, beaten and kidnapped. I developed cancer, too
She found God two years ago â€“ or rather God found her just as she collapsed from a heart attack caused by a cocaine overdose.
‘All around me was darkness and I suddenly remembered Him,’ she says. Her revelation changed her life so much that she’s now on a mission to save sex workers, both male and female, from the life she led for so long.
She runs Hookers For Jesus, an evangelical organisation, and travels all over Las Vegas telling strippers and prostitutes that God loves them.
Such is LobÃ©rt’s success that, just hours before our chat, she was ordering textbooks for a pimp who is about to go back into education.
Giving it back
‘I sometimes make appointments to visit girls or I walk into clubs and casinos and talk to them,’ says LobÃ©rt, who is single and lives on donations to her ministry.
‘I don’t preach; I believe in holding people’s hands so they can see He understands them and wants a relationship with them.
Most people are really interested, but I do get spat on sometimes.’ LobÃ©rt’s life hasn’t been easy but you wouldn’t guess it by the tone of her voice; she’s as upbeat as you could get. ‘I had a traumatic childhood and a relationship in high school that really burnt me.
During my years as an escort I was raped at gunpoint, beaten and kidnapped.
I developed cancer, too â€“ Hodgkin’s lymphoma â€“ and had treatment for two years while I still worked as a prostitute.
I became a bitter, angry person who hated men. And then, after my revelation, I decided to give back what I had taken from people and I started smiling again.’
To reach sex workers, LobÃ©rt, with her peroxide blonde hair and ample chest, believes she needs to look the part. ‘There’s no point holding a Bible over your head and shouting about repenting. No one will listen. You have to mix fun with seriousness â€“ if there’s not enough fun, who’s going to want to be a Christian?’
It is her fellow Christians, however, who are her biggest critics. According to LobÃ©rt, they often complain about her outfits.
‘They say my T-shirt is too tight but, hey, when in Vegas, do as Vegas does.’ She has also come under fire from the sex industry and earlier this month was asked to leave the Adult Entertainment Expo in Vegas, where she had a stall.
She was working with her friend, former stripper Heather Veitch, who runs her own faith-based organisation, JC’s Girls â€“ JC being Jesus Christ, of course.
The work of LobÃ©rt and Veitch points to something much bigger going on in the US â€“ a feeling that sinners should not be judged. Take the XXXChurch, another Bible-based organisation that was set up five years ago. Its mission is to save those addicted to porn.
Brandon Piety has worked there for two years. ‘We want to be a part of a new kind of Christianity that moves away from condemning but meets the needs in our world instead,’ he says.
‘Jesus loves porn stars as much as he loves pastors, housewives, prostitutes and prime ministers. We want to reach people surrounded by pornography and give them a message of hope. There is something better than porn. That is the hope found in Jesus.’
Piety’s work seems to be paying off â€“ XXXChurch has just helped six people leave the porn industry. ‘We helped them quit their jobs and we hooked them up with a church, mentors and financial assistance,’ says Piety.
LobÃ©rt is also working on plans to set up a 24-hour hotline that offers sex workers advice on how to get out of the industry, plus an education programme for female prisoners who are serving sentences for prostitution.
‘I am confident both will happen,’ says LobÃ©rt. ‘It’s not difficult to make people happy again â€“ just tell them they’re loved. Tell them God loves them.’