Many workers in the commercial sex industry have trouble getting out because they enter at a young age, have no family support and have been traumatized on the job. An organization based in LA called Treasures provides these women with a safety net that includes support groups, peer mentoring, education, job counseling, and sometimes even child care.

As part of Treasures’ outreach program, founder Harmony Dust Grillo and her staff visit juvenile detention facilities, massage parlors and, of course, strip clubs.

“This is definitely an epicenter of the commercial sex industry,” says Grillo from the driver’s seat of her car.

The mother of two with shoulder-length blonde hair scans a busy midday boulevard in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley. It’s a familiar four-lane landscape of chain restaurants, retail and gas stations.

Grillo, wearing jeans and a leather jacket, lightly drums her fingers on the steering wheel. She sees and points out what others might miss, right under their noses. “Another motel, another motel. Lots and lots of motels,” she says.

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March 2nd, 2019