It’s the oldest profession in the world. And now there’s an organization trying to help women who want to get out of it. “A Scarlet Covering” held a fundraiser tonight in Carson City to help raise awareness for women trying to get out of the sex industry.
We were at the Governor’s mansion where this took place and it was really a statewide attempt. In attendance were First Lady Dawn Gibbons, Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, and local law enforcement officials. The theme of the night really seemed to be—contrary to what society may believe—prostitution and other sex industry professions aren’t necessarily a choice.
Candice Trummell of the Nevada Coalition Against Sex Trafficking says, “when prostituted women are asked if they want to leave prostitution, consistently around 90 percent say they want out.”
Gibbons insists “these women have not chosen making their living on their backs, prostituting their bodies.”
“The pimp controls them through physical abuse, emotional abuse, and isolation,” explains Cortez Masto.
Experts say women who sell themselves often are drugged or coerced into it, sometimes even by gun point. For others, they feel they have no other skills or ability that they can pursue in life. Some started so young, it is all they know. All the above is the case here in Nevada, where the sex industry is pervasive.
“We have over 60 strip clubs, 30 brothels, street prostitution, and hotel escorting,” according to Sharnel Silvey.
Silvey knows from experience. She was the madam at Mustang Ranch and had a relationship with Joe Conforte for13 years. She brought Christ into her life and left the industry, at which point she founded “A Scarlet Covering.”
The meaning behind the name comes from a bible verse in Isaiah. “Though your sins are scarlet you shall be as white as snow.”
In the last four years, Silvey has helped young women get their lives back—like one 18-year-old prostitute she recently met when on a bust with Reno Police.
“She kept crying saying ‘my mother would be so ashamed of me’ and later I found out her mother had died when she was 13.”
Silvey says women who enter the sex industry often have a history of sexual abuse. Rashaune Johnson is one of them. She now works with ASC, but at one point was a dominatrix
“Having been raped, it helped me stay in a position of power and control.”
Johnson says it’s really hard for women who try to escape the industry. Their spirit is changed, they have no sense of purpose other than what they do, and they’re ashamed of where their life path has taken them. And, before now, they have really had no resources to turn to.
The Attorney General says often prostitutes are thrown in jail rather than offered some sort of rehabilitation or treatment. That’s done in order to keep them away from their Pimps and from returning to the only life they’ve ever known, a place they have come to falsely believe as a security blanket.
“A Scarlet Covering” offers a safe place for women to rehabilitate, has weekly support meetings, and aims to empower these women.
If you want to get involved or donate to ASC, visit http://ascarletcovering.com/et out of it.