She found work as a stripper. After 35 years in the sex industry—and multiple failed attempts to get out—one day Frances looked in the mirror and asked God: “Please take me away from here. I’ve tried everything.” She worked another shift that day because she needed more money: “I’m living in a shack in someone’s backyard. I lost my education and my marriage. In my mind, I’d lost everything. … And in come these two women that I think are seeking a job, and it occurs to me, that these are the church ladies that everyone’s been talking about. And I jump up and run over.”
“The church ladies” were from Scarlet Hope, a Christian ministry that helps women in the sex industry. On Thursdays, volunteers bring meals into six Louisville clubs to befriend dancers and share the gospel. Rachelle Starr started Scarlet Hope in 2008. She met Frances three years later.
Starr was 24 when she first entered a club. She and three friends wore turtlenecks and no makeup as they paid the bouncer $10 to get inside. Their husbands kept watch across the street. The year before, Starr began searching for a mission. Her commute took her past an adult entertainment store, and Starr says she felt God calling her to help women in the sex industry. She gathered some friends to pray and fast, and in the fall of 2008 they visited a club to discern their next step. Inside, Starr asked the owner if she could bring a meal for the dancers. He was skeptical but agreed.