Welcome to Ask Avery.

Welcome to Ask Avery. We're here to support you.

We're here to support you.

Life can be hard sometimes, especially if each day is centered around survival. For many individuals, difficult circumstances, like homelessness, substance use disorder, child welfare involvement, justice system involvement, domestic violence, racism, gender-based violence and more, have resulted in individuals having limited choices for survival. (You can read the stories of some individuals who have survived these circumstances here). Maybe this means for you, or someone you know, that in order to survive, sex has been traded for something of value to meet basic needs. Some people call this prostitution, stripping, sex work, escorting, sugaring, the game, commercial sexual exploitation, or sex trafficking. Sometimes there is a third-party like a pimp, trafficker, boyfriend or partner, or family member, sometimes there isn’t. Whatever your story is or however you define your experience, if you are seeking support, we want to be there for you.

We know that many people are able to get out of these horrific circumstances and are able to start their lives over. We’ve talked to many survivors who have stated they never considered themselves a victim of a crime or thought they needed or deserved help. At Ask Avery, many of us are  survivors ourselves. We also know that many people who survive commercial sex live paycheck to paycheck, under the poverty line, and have limited access to resources. If this is not your experience and you do not need services but you would like to learn more please click here.

We want to change that.

If you are reading this, we hope you are ready for change too. Ask Avery provides many resources to survivors. Check out what we have to offer and select what is right for you.

At Ask Avery, you will always be in charge of your journey.

ENDING THE GAME ONLINE SUPPORT GROUP

A Trailblazing, Survivor-Written Curriculum

Ending The Game is a safe, confidential support group led by survivors. Many of us didn’t identify with the term "survivor" until we met others like us. We went to jails, rehabs, mental health facilities, 12 Step meetings and often we felt misunderstood and sometimes we even felt judged. But we began to see the truth when we heard other survivors tell their stories; we realized that there was more support out there for us, and a community we could feel a part of.

This support group is designed to help individuals recognize the patterns of abuse and psychological tactics that toxic people use to control them.

Meetings are held online and available to anyone across the country. All you need is a reliable internet connection and a smart phone or computer for remote access to an online meeting.

In order to survive, have you ever needed to:

  • Trade sex for money/drugs/basic needs?
  • Turn over your money that you made to someone else?
  • Dance in a club or post ads for escort services online?
  • Rely on a sugar daddy for support?

NEXT STEPS

Complete the form below to get more information about joining an Ending The Game online support group. Filling out the form doesn’t commit you to joining; it is just the first step to connecting with other survivors.

If you have questions, you can contact us by email at askavery@theaverycenter.org

Meet the team you’ll be working with

Marissa-crop

MARISSA S

SERVICE COORDINATOR &

ONLINE GROUP FACILITATOR

Vee Headshot

VIOLETA M

SERVICE COORDINATOR &

ONLINE GROUP FACILITATOR

Alexandria-P

ALEXANDRIA P

REGISTERED PSYCHOTHERAPIST

& ONLINE GROUP FACILITATOR

More Resources from Ask Avery

Learn More About Us

If you’re still here reading this and are curious or unsure if this has been your experience, we wanted to share some of our stories with you. Perhaps you will find yourself saying,  “That happened to me, too,” or “that’s my story” or “I never thought of it that way”. If so, know that you are not alone and you have come to the right place for support.

The Story of Avery Day

THE STORY OF AVERY DAY

“I married young. We had two kids together and he was an abusive alcoholic. Domestic violence became normal, I got used to it. Soon after my divorce, when I met the man who would become my pimp, I told him about the abuse and he promised he was different. At first he just swept me right off my feet. He was everything I never thought I deserved…and then when he knew I was in love with him, the violence started. I didn’t flinch because I figured ‘at least I got a little time with him without any beatings…’ you know? After that, the honeymoon phase was over. I was convinced I deserved it and he capitalized on that feeling, like literally. He made so much money off of me. He was a master manipulator. We lived in hotels, out of suitcases, and pretended I lived a glamorous life of travel on social media. But there were always ads posted and plenty of men who wanted to come see me, no matter what city we were in.

I tried leaving so many times and every time, he would find me and convince me to go back or threaten to hurt my kids if I didn't come back.  After several failed attempts, I was finally able to get far enough away from him that I could actually safely leave.  I was able to find a job and go back to school…but the past lingers.  I can’t be friends with any parents at my kids’ school because I still feel like they’ll somehow find out about my past.  I still have nightmares…”

THE STORY OF MIA CLARK

THE STORY OF MIA CLARK

“Growing up, home wasn’t safe. It never was. So the minute I could, I bolted…got the hell out of there. I was just 14. I went from couch to couch and was turnin’ tricks all the time. I had to survive. Somewhere along the way, another girl showed me how to make money doing what I was already doing, she seemed so powerful and I wanted to be just like her…then I got arrested and sent to juvie. I talked to my boyfriend almost every day until I got out and then we trapped til I turned 18. Eventually I caught a case and it stuck. Yeah, I did some more time. This time when I got out, my mom got me an apartment to keep me safe, she thought I was going to change. I thought I would change. I called my ex-boyfriend even though I knew better, just to talk, tell him about the new me. Within a few months he just took over the apartment - I was turnin’ tricks but thought I was just a hoe, only good for one thing. My mom said it, he said it, hell, I had hoeing charges. I believed what they said I was. I didn’t have anyone else telling me different. He even sent me out to find other girls for him, just like I had been found. That was the worst thing really.

I overdosed three times – I was numbing the pain, numbing everything…honestly I wanted to just die. I wanted to end it all. When I was hospitalized and put on lockdown the third time, the hospital staff had planted that seed that finally got me out. Being in lockdown in a hospital was the separation I needed from the game so I could get my shit together and get out. I went to a program and never looked back. That time I didn’t call nobody to tell them about the new me.”

THE STORY OF CONCHETTA MARTINEZ

THE STORY OF CONCHETTA MARTINEZ

 “At first, this whole life just seemed like such easy money, a really easy way to get your bills paid and be taken care of.  I grew up poor, in the boonies…I just wanted a better life. I wanted out of the crap town I was in.  I wasn’t gonna get any scholarships to college, I’ll tell you that.  So I signed up on a sugar baby site, and it did not take long for a dealer to find me. He treated me so well at first…man, everything was glamorous and I believed every word he said. He was gonna buy me a huge house with a pool, he had all this money and a frickin’ Benz and he took me on amazing trips. I was like ‘this is it! This is what I need to get away from this shit life!’ Well, to get all those things, to get them…. I had to sell MY body…to keep sugaring…just keep finding new tricks, new daddies. That was the racket. In hindsight, it was straight prostitution and sex trafficking. I know that now. I don’t know why I thought it was anything but. I was sold a whole glamorous lie. A complete lie that nearly got me killed…and now I have a lifetime of trauma I have to carry around because of it.

The whole life just wore me out. I was just done. I had to move a thousand miles away and completely cut him off to get away. I had to keep a couple sugar daddies to save enough to get set up. Sugaring was the gateway to complete poverty – disturbing to think it’s sold as glamorous and a way to make easy money.  It’s a way to ruin your life.”

THE STORY OF JASMYN LEWIS

THE STORY OF BETH LEWIS

“My story is…I was trafficked by my biological family from the day I was born. I didn’t know it wasn’t normal, but I DID have this feeling in the pit of my stomach that told me it was wrong. I felt dirty. But then I was shown so much love – or what appeared to be and felt like love – by my family. It was this back and forth of what I now know is a trauma bond.  Just this severe sexual abuse followed by praise and compliments because I was ‘so good’ at it.  There was a never ending supply of men coming to the house to rape me and my siblings. It was hidden behind this façade of a religious group – and there was so much spiritual abuse infused into my experience too…so much. It was horrifying. Once I was a teenager, my family sold me to a brothel. I literally thought this was all I was good for. Why would I think anything different? That was the entire first 18 years of my life.

My mid-twenties was when I was able to finally breathe long enough to see a light – a way out. I met some amazing people who helped set me up and find the resources I needed to start healing. I feel lucky – that’s not how it usually goes for people like me. There aren’t these saviors running around rescuing us from this horror. I know that now – I got lucky.”

THE STORY OF ZOEY WASHINGTON

THE STORY OF ZOEY WASHINGTON

"I was raised being told 'The game is in you' since I was born. My dad and my uncles are pimps…I was exposed to this life early. Just a way of life…they got dope to move and they got men wanting extra, so they got girls to sell too.  They used that dope to keep their girls around. They always knew they’d come back for another fix, they aren’t going to leave that pimp because he has the dope. Gotta have it to numb yourself for what you’ve seen…and when you get busted by the cops, where you gonna go? You got nowhere to go that’s gonna be better. Just back to the track. Back to the game. The game is in me…I can’t leave it and it can’t leave me. It haunts me.

I have stopped turnin’ tricks though. Finally when my last pimp caught a serious charge I was able to cut ties. He went down and I wasn’t goin’ down with him, but I'm not no snitch they had enough evidence to convict him without me saying anything. I was done. It still surrounds me - I still live in the same part of town I always did…but thankfully I’ve aged out so it’s not as powerful – it doesn’t control me like it did my whole life leading up to this point.”

Composite stories based on real interviews. Identifying information has been changed to protect anonymity.

NEXT STEPS

Complete the form below to get more information about joining an Ending The Game online support group. Filling out the form doesn’t commit you to joining; it is just the first step to connecting with other survivors.

If you have questions, you can contact us by email at askavery@theaverycenter.org

“In her heart she is a mourner for those who have not survived. In her soul she is a warrior for those who are now as she was then. In her life she is both celebrant and proof of women's capacity and will to survive, to become, to act, to change self and society. And each year she is stronger and there are more of her."

—Andrea Dworkin | feminist, writer, activist, survivor

If you yourself do not need services, you can still help support these crucial programs by donating here. To learn more about trafficking please visit our corresponding site at theaverycenter.org