Prostitute Outreach Expects Growth

NEW YORK – Nearly 100 prostitutes discovered hope when Metro Ministries, the nation’s largest provider of Sunday School programs in the United States, decided to give them makeovers, treat them to dinner, and present a powerful message of love and redemption Monday evening.

The women were invited from rehab centers, some were picked up on the street corners where they frequent, and were escorted to Metro Ministries’ sanctuary in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Once there, over 150 volunteers – some flying in from around the country – pampered them with manicures, gave them beautiful hairdos, and did their makeup.

“We just wanted to let them know that they’re wanted, that somebody’s thinking about them, wants them, and they can come and feel welcomed,” said Pastor Marcus Brown, who preached that night. “Show them the love of God, you know?”

Nearly every single woman – in tears – heeded the altar call at the end of the powerful drama and gospel presentation and went up to accept Christ. Volunteers were also reported to have been crying.

“Not one of them refused to get blessed. Everybody came up because they felt they needed it. At the end, they all said, ‘Thank you, because in all my years, I’ve never felt the way that I do now,’” said Anley Rodriguez, 43, whose idea it was have this outreach.

Prostitution has been reported by judges, police, and outreach workers to have increased in numbers and decreased in the ages, according to a June FBI report, and Metro Ministries affirmed the trend.

“There’s a lot more abuse out there,” said Rodriguez, who used to frequent the streets servicing men dressed as a transvestite, but is now on staff with Metro Ministries.

“Prostitution many years ago was just prostitution, but now it’s about drugs. Prostitutes are going out with guys for $5. They need a bump, and so it’s gotten a lot worse,” he said. “Police are being abusive …. There are not that many places where they can go for help.”

According to Rodriguez, churches are the logical places to help, but many wouldn’t think of opening their doors.

“We have a lot of churches, but they would’ve never thought to do something like this,” he said. “I want people to understand that if God were here, where would He be? He would be with the prostitutes, the gay people, the different people who are sick. He wouldn’t be with us!”

“We have to start loving each other and say I appreciate you while you’re here, not be waiting for them to die,” he added.

“We should do more of this,” agreed Rick Fountain, executive pastor of the ministry.

When asked what may hinder churches from conducting more prostitution outreach, Fountain said, “It may not be the kind of people they want to bring into their church. [But] this is what the church is left on the planet for. Jesus came to reach those that are sick.”

Rodriguez's dream is that the “Night of 100 Stars” – named for the goal of getting 100 women into the sanctuary – would become a worldwide ministry.