Former prostitute assists women seeking to escape sex industry

Annie Lobert believes in destiny and second chances.

After years of struggling with sexual, physical and substance abuse, she found her calling. Now she plans on helping others find theirs.

Lobert, 46, founded Hookers for Jesus, a nonprofit that ministers to anyone in the sex industry, in 2007. Through the organization, she opened Destiny’s House in February for women escaping the industry.

“These girls look to us for help to find a new purpose for themselves,” Lobert said. “At Destiny’s House, they’re able to dream again of their life’s possibilities, discover who they are and what their purpose is and develop their life skills and path.”

Destiny’s House serves as a 12-month safe haven by providing shelter, counseling, Bible studies and life-skill training for up to 20 women at a time.

“This is a transitional home, and they’re still considered guests of ours,” Lobert said. “Near the end of their stay, we’re going to have them look for a job and hopefully have some money saved before they transition out.”

The Christian-based organization started from Lobert’s struggle as a former prostitute.

“It took me a long time to realize that God always loved me no matter what, whether I prostituted myself or not,” Lobert said. “One day it dawned on me that I had to let the (other) girls know.”

Originally from Minnesota, Lobert’s call-girl stint started as a teenager in Hawaii visiting a friend, who was engaged to a pimp. During the trip, Lobert said she learned for the first time how to sell herself.

“I didn’t consider it selling myself,” she said. “I just considered it a hustle because I didn’t have sex with any of the men. I did as little as possible and got out.

“To me, it was such a stark comparison to the $3.47 an hour I was making (at home). I went back to Minnesota a changed woman, basically.”

After returning home, Lobert quit her three jobs to become an escort and an exotic dancer.

“Did I know what I was doing was wrong? Absolutely. Did I want anyone to know? No way,” Lobert said. “No one knew what I was doing. No one had any idea. It was a total secret.”

When she was about 20, Lobert moved to Las Vegas with a boyfriend because her friend told her she could make good money.

“After my first night, I came home with the money, and (my boyfriend) told me to break myself, which means give me every single dollar you have,” Lobert said. “I told him, ‘No,’ so he took me into the backyard and (beat me).

“He took my ID, my beeper, my cellphone. I had no way of contacting my family. I was trapped.”

For years, Lobert was in and out of the industry, working when “push came to shove” and promising to quit after she made enough money.

In August 2003, she overdosed on cocaine and had a heart attack. While in the ambulance, she prayed to Jesus.

“The entire time I was working, I honestly felt like God was so far away,” Lobert said, “but at that moment, I finally felt peace.”

After recovering, Lobert had an epiphany to change her views on life and help others. In 2005, she hit the streets with a different approach, passing out her number to working girls and bringing them to church services at Valley Bible Fellowship, 4500 W. Sahara Ave.

“When you leave a pimp, you leave with nothing,” Lobert said, “so I was basically the girl out there to encourage and inspire them to get out of the business.”

Vicky Loman, the women’s ministry counselor and coordinator at the church, has helped Lobert provide counseling for women leaving the industry since 2006.

“We want to make sure this church is a safe place for her and the girls she brings,” Loman said. “What (Lobert) is doing is highly important, especially in Las Vegas, and we’ve come alongside her to try to help these girls in any way we can.”

Lobert said her staff serves as “fishers of people who need help,” making the organization’s name catchy yet relevant.

“These women have so many good things going for them if people can just look past the stigmatization of being an ex-prostitute,” Lobert said. “If we have a better understanding of where they’re coming from and where they’ve been, we could help them get to where they’re going.”

For more information or to donate, visit hookersforjesus.net.

Contact Southwest View reporter Caitlyn Belcher at cbelcher@viewnews.com or 702-383-0403.

ad-high_impact_4
Local
North Las Vegas Water Meters
Randy DeVaul shows off the new water meters that the city is installing.
Project 150 Thanksgiving 2018
About 100 volunteers for Project 150 box Thanksgiving meals for high school students and their families in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Nov. 14.
Three Square’s Maurice Johnson Talks About Food Waste
Three Square’s director of operations Maurice Johnson talks about food waste.
Parade preparation nears completion
Downtown Summerlin prepares for its annual holiday parade.
Clark County Wetlands promotes 2019 Wetland Walker Program
This year the park will be celebrating the Northern Flicker. The program is designed to teach about that bird, and encourage people to visit the Wetlands and walk the same distance the bird migrates each year.
Poet’s Walk Henderson introduces storytelling
Residents enjoy a storytelling activity.
Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Clark County educators debate alternative grading systems
Spring Valley High School principal Tam Larnerd, Spring Valley High School IB coordinator Tony Gebbia and retired high school teacher Joyce O'Day discuss alternative grading systems. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Grandparents on the fire that killed three family members
Charles and Doris Smith talk about the night an apartment fire took the lives of three of their family members. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
New York artist Bobby Jacobs donated a sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden
Bobby Jacobs, an artist from upstate New York, has spent much of the past year creating a sculpture of two separate angel wings. He donated the sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Weather will cool slightly through the end of the week
The weather will cool slightly through the end of the week., but highs are still expected to be slightly above normal for this year. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mayor announces new public-private partnership
Mayor Carolyn Goodman announced the creation of the Mayor’s Fund for Las Vegas LIFE, a public-private partnership that will allocate money to the city’s neediest.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Fall fairytale gets cozy at Bellagio Conservatory
Bellagio Conservatory introduces its fall-themed garden titled "Falling Asleep." (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
What the house that Ted Binion died in looks like today
Casino heir Ted Binion died in this Las Vegas home in 1998. Current home owner Jane Popple spent over $600,000 to restore and modernize the home. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Rescue Mission employees terminated
Don James, a former employee for the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, talks about the day his team was terminated. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders Cupcakes at Freed's Bakery
Freed's Bakery will have Raiders-themed cupcakes available in store and for order during football season. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s fans say goodbye to Cashman Field
Las Vegas 51s fans said goodbye to Cashman Field in Las Vegas, Monday September, 3, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s owner Don Logan's last weekend at Cashman Field
Don Logan, owner of the Las Vegas 51s, gives a tour of Cashman Field before the team's final weekend using the field. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Life
"Jackson: The Red Rock Canyon Burro" is a children's book about Red Rock Canyon
"Jackson: The Red Rock Canyon Burro" is a children's book about Red Rock Canyon (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Interfaith Amigos speak in Las Vegas
Celebrity photographer dedicates dance book to Las Vegas shooting victims
Behind the scenes with local celebrity photographer Jerry Metellus as he talks about his Dance For Vegas coffee book dedicated to the 58 victims of the October 1 shooting. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Dreamsickle Kids Foundation founder Gina Glass talks awareness
Gina Glass, 35, founded Dreamsickle Kids Foundation to raise awareness for sickle cell disease in Nevada. (Jessie Bekker/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Meadows School founding kindergarten teacher retires after 34 years at the school
Linda Verbon, founder of the The Meadows School's kindergarten program and the first faculty member hired at the school, retired in the spring after 34 years at The Meadows. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like