There were a lot of big-screen plasma televisions on display at the recent Las Vegas Adult Entertainment Expo, but it wasn’t the technology that was for sale; it was the images on the screens. There among the raunch of the industry’s premier product promotion were two women who were in it for the money no longer.
Annie Lobert, who used to be a $500-a-day escort, and Heather Veitch, who worked as a high-dollar stripper, now wear T-shirts proclaiming themselves “Holy Hotties” and “Hookers for Jesus” as they spread the Gospel among their former co-workers.
The duo now patrol the city’s neon nights to save souls rather than sell their bodies, according to a report in the Sunday Telegraph of London, which dispatched a reporter to accompany the women on their “mission.”
“Some Christians think we are just cheap harlots and tell us so, but to be honest we really don’t care,” Lobert told the Telegraph. “People used to go to Africa to be missionaries. Well, we’re missionaries to the sex industry. That’s our calling,” added Veitch.
The peroxide blondes wearing contour-hugging outfits look little different from their former incarnations, the Telegraph reported. But the message they carry now is exactly the opposite they learned in the business.
“We don’t preach to them, and we’re not judgmental,” Loberty, 40, told the newspaper. “We tell them that God loves them, even if they are hookers or strippers or porn stars. We offer help and advice – we do whatever we can for them.”
The Telegraph said its reporter accompanied the women to the expo, a gathering of porn industry leaders who are offering their wares.
The newspaper said the two were “among old friends as they caught up on gossip, exchanged beauty tips and handed out cards.”
The two women have different groups, “Hookers for Jesus” and “JC’s Girls,” and a message that seems to be coming from a source the industry recognizes.
“The girls can relate to who we are and how we look in a way that they can’t with some of the typical frumpy Christians who come here,” Lobert said.
“We love what they do,” said Mary Carey, an adult megastar. “They are there when the girls need them. I don’t consider myself a sinner, I’m not harming anyone, and porn is really just free speech. But it’s good that Annie and Heather are doing their thing.”
The two have become Internet sensations on YouTube, the Telegraph said. And they were not going to miss the three-day Expo and the 40,000 people it attracted. But their usual neighborhood is the city’s strip of luxury hotel-casinos, where they talk to prostitutes and strippers and buy lap dances in private rooms in order to talk to performers about Jesus.
Ex-sex industry workers Heather Veitch (left) of JC’s Girls and Annie Lobert of Hookers for Jesus
The two, who are funded by donations to Lobert’s Internet site and a sponsorship from Veitch’s church, also told the Telegraph they want to expand by setting up temporary housing for sex trade workers who want to quit and by making connections in the police department to respond to workers’ needs.
One recent convert talked to the newspaper. Stephanie, 26, didn’t give her last name, but reported being in prostitution for six years and feeling desperate to leave the industry because of her baby daughter.
“I was looking for information on the Internet, and I came across Annie and Hookers for Jesus. She was wonderful. She advised me on applying for jobs, let me use her computer and helped me out with rent money so I didn’t have to go back to the Strip.”
She’s now working as a hotel receptionist.
The two told the newspaper they have heard all the jokes about “porn-again Christians” but have a desire to preach the gospel.
“A lot of guys pose for photos with us, and when they go home and look up what’s on our T-shirts, they learn what we’re about. We call it booby-trapping,” said Lobert.
Her website explains she “survived” 11 years in the business and now reaches out to both men and women in the sex industry: “It is Annie’s heart desire to let them men and women know that God absolutely LOVES them … no matter what!”
One of Veitch’s significant outreaches is on the Web, where she explains her ministry to sex industry workers.