Stop Demand. Restore lives.
by Emily Mills
Women in poverty are still the most at risk for being exploited through the commercial sex industry. 89% of women in the commercial sex industry say they want out but have no other means of survival. The business of commercial sex is like any other business, the supply is based on demand. For over a decade Jesus Said Love has been reaching people within the industry, empowering and loving those we serve. And while no two individuals are alike, there are overarching commonalities that we have seen ringing true. Our friends in the industry would not be working if there wasn’t a demand. If there was another viable source of income, most of them would take it. But the demand is high, even in Waco. Most of the industry has moved online. The average age of entry into this industry for a female is 12 years old, around 9 years for a male. This sounds shocking, but it is reality. The demand for commercial sex is a 3.2 billion dollar industry. So at some point, JSL had to ask the question, “What are we doing to affect the demand?”
As part of The Heart of Texas Human Trafficking Coalition, Jesus Said Love is proud to announce “Stop Demand School” (formerly known as “Waco John School”). The first course was offered in McLennan County on October 18, 2016. SDS is a sex buyers intervention program that will work alongside the local justice system with a mission to stop the demand for commercial sex with the vision of restoring lives. Intervention programs for sex buyers are nationally recognized for reducing recidivism. Stop Demand School aims to be another tool for judges and probation officers when sentencing those charged with misdemeanor crimes related to the solicitation of sex. The Heart of Texas Human Trafficking Coalition extends this program to all counties in Central Texas in order to stop the demand of commercial sex exploitation in our communities. Stop Demand School will be housed under the non-profit Jesus Said Love and will run as an educational program of the organization.
Stop Demand School is a sex buyers intervention program that aims to end the demand for commercial sex exploitation by educating those charged with solicitation of sex through an eight-hour intervention course.
Offenders pay course fees to Jesus Said Love, an organization that reaches women in the commercial sex industry and provides empowerment programs directly to women. Funds raised will support these programs as well as other agencies serving commercial sex exploits. Using restorative justice principles, the curriculum educates offenders on STDs, addiction, pornography, and the issue of human trafficking as linked to the commercial sex industry. Participants will also hear from a survivor of the commercial sex industry. Stop Demand School also offers free STD and HIV testing through the Department of Public Health as well as resources for recovery. Instructors from DePaul, Baylor University, Public Health Department, UnBound, and Waco PD will be among the facilitators.
- To see recidivism drop and the demand for sex in our county measurably decrease.
- To increase stricter punishment for those buying sex.
- To restore offenders to society and provide resources for their individual growth.
Who can come?
Any person in McClennan County arrested for solicitation of a sex crime. Offenders who show up visibly drunk or high will not be permitted to stay and will be escorted off the premise by a police officer.
How it works:
As a community education program, Stop Demand School will gain referrals through the justice system. Judges and probation officers alike can mandate this course as part of the offender’s sentencing. Notification for the course and enforcement comes from probation officers.
Stop Demand School will offer a certificate of completion for offenders after accounting for full attendance.
Stop Demand School will maintain secure and private records of attendance and will notify probation officers of progress and/or no-shows.
Payment of Stop Demand School, an education program of Jesus Said Love, will be paid to Stop Demand School via the website. The course fee is $400. Half of the payment will be due prior to class at the time of registration.
For more information:
Visit the website: www.stopdemandschool.com or call 254-300-7658
Emily Mills received her B. A. in Communications from Baylor University. While at Baylor, Emily participated in various opportunities to serve the marginalized and lead worship. This began her passionate pursuit to “put feet” on the songs she was singing. In 2003, while leading worship at a conference for women exiting the sex industry, these two worlds collided and Jesus Said Love was born. Emily continues to lead worship around the country with her husband, Brett. They have three children: Hattie, Lucy and Gus. To learn more about JSL, please visit our website JesusSaidLove.com. Contact us at [email protected].
The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email [email protected] for more information.