Annie Lobert said she was molested by a neighbor and, as a teen, balked at her father’s authoritative parenting.
After meeting some men she didn’t realize were pimps one night on a rebellious trip to a bar, she found herself immersed in the sex trade.
Lobert, 46, said she experienced a faith transformation in 2003 and formed Hookers for Jesus as a ministry to help other girls and women escape a similar fate. Among other things, the Las Vegas-based Hookers for Jesus operates Destiny House, a home for women who need a safe place to rebuild their lives after they break away from the world of sex trafficking.
Lobert will be one of the featured speakers at Night of Hope OKC, set for Friday at Quail Springs Baptist Church. Sponsored by Hope Is Alive Ministries, the event also will feature a presentation by former New York Mets outfielder Darryl Strawberry. The event is designed to raise awareness about addiction and recovery.
In a telephone interview, Lobert discussed her faith journey and ministry.
Q: Why do you think sex trafficking is gaining more public awareness?
A: I think that’s ... because of our world getting very, very small because of the smartphones and the computers and social media sites. I also think that once you raise a flag and say people need help over here, people become very active.
Q: In your biography on the Hookers for Jesus website, you mention that you were a “goody two-shoes.” How did your life evolve so that you found yourself in the sex-trafficking industry?
A: I was pretty much forced into a “goody two-shoes” life because that’s what was expected of me. My father was a strict disciplinarian. ... I basically rebelled against him because I saw him not treating us kids fairly. I compared it to my friends, and I really struggled with watching him, the way he treated us. Also, I had several incidents of sexual abuse by a neighbor that my parents never really knew about. So by the time I became a teenager, what was a trickle of rebellion out of me became a complete waterfall. By the time I hit 15, I was in full-blown rebellion against my parents, and I ended up having sex before marriage and trusting a guy that I thought would care for me. I ended up going out to the nightclubs with my girlfriends, and I met these men and they were pimps, and I didn’t know it.
Q: You said you had an epiphany that led to your escape from life as an escort. What happened?