How My Childhood Led Me to Stripping
May 21, 2018

How My Childhood Led Me to Stripping

Buzzfeed released a powerful video testimonial by Harmony Dust, a survivor of sexual abuse and the sex industry, and founder of Treasures Ministries (Treasures), a faith-based, survivor-led outreach and support group to women in the sex industry and victims of sex trafficking.

Harmony shares her story about how childhood sexual abuse and an abusive relationship led her into the strip club industry:

Powerful quotes from her video interview:

“The thing about the sex industry is that…most of us end up using a stage name, and with that creating an entire alter-identity that we can hide behind…[my stage name] was a compilation of other people’s fantasies, she wasn’t a real person, she was someone I could hide behind while I was working in the sex industry. And not only was my name fake, everything I told the customers was fake…the only people I had contact with were my abusive exploiter, other women in the club, and customers.”

“A lot of people think the sex industry is so glamorous and so empowering but it’s hard and I don’t think a lot of people don’t see the reality of what women working in the sex industry have to deal with on a day-to-day basis.”

“There were several occasions when a customer would sexually assault me…I felt so powerless…they would look at me…and basically, think that I was asking for it.”

“People don’t realize that 70% of sex trafficking victims are trafficked into the commercial sex industry, that means they are working in the strip clubs, they’re working on the porn sites, they’re working for escort agencies…we can’t turn a blind eye to that.”

“I hope people will see the humanity behind the woman on the other end of the dollar. And every image that you see of a woman in a strip club, in porn, is a real person with a real story.”

Haley McNamara (Halverson)

Vice President and Director of the International Centre on Sexual Exploitation

Haley McNamara (formerly Halverson) is the Director of the International Centre on Sexual Exploitation in the UK, and a Vice President at the U.S. based National Center on Sexual Exploitation. She leads international efforts and joint campaigns to improve policies and education among global governing bodies, citizenry, and corporations regarding the full web of sexual exploitation issues. Her advocacy work has contributed to policy improvements in social media, online advertising, retail, and hotel industries. She has advocated at the United Nations, led international coalition campaigns, presented to Danish, Croatian, Colombian and Rwandan government officials, and more

She is a former member of the Washington DC Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect. This Committee advises DC Mayor Muriel Bowser on the multi-faceted continuum of the District of Columbia’s child welfare services, including prevention, early intervention, treatment, and sources of permanency.

Haley regularly speaks and writes on topics including child sexual abuse, sex trafficking, prostitution, sexual objectification, the exploitation of males, and more. She has presented before officials at the United Nations, as well as at several national symposia before influencers from the Department of Justice, Department of Health and Human Services, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Croatian government officials. She has provided training to Arlington County Child & Family Services on the social media grooming, recruitment, and advertising for sex trafficking. She has a Master of Arts in Government from Johns Hopkins University where she received honors for her thesis regarding the online commercial sexual exploitation marketplace.

Previously, Haley served for two years as Director of Communications for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation where she oversaw strategic messaging development, press outreach, email marketing, and social media marketing.

Prior to working at NCOSE, Haley wrote for a cultural media outlet. Haley graduated from Hillsdale College (summa cum laude) with a double major, and conducted a senior thesis on the abolitionist argument regarding prostitution. During her studies, she studied abroad at Oxford University and established a background in policy research through several internships in the DC area.

Haley has appeared on, or been quoted in, several outlets including the New York Times, NBC’s The Today Show, BBC News, New York Post, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, Fox News, San Francisco Chronicle, the Washington Post, Yahoo News, Voice of America, Dr. Drew Midday Live, The DeMaio Report, the New York Daily News, the Washington Examiner, USA Radio Network, the Washington Times, CBC News, The Rod Arquette Show, The Detroit News, Lifezette, The Christian Post, Lifeline with Neil Boron, EWTN News Nightly, KCBS San Francisco Radio, LifeSiteNews, The Drew Mariano Show on Relevant Radio, News Talk KGVO, and American Family News.

She has written op-eds for the Washington Post, the Huffington Post,, Washington Examiner,, Darling Magazine, the Daytona-Beach News Journal, and has been published in the Journal of Internet Law and the journal Dignity: A Journal on Sexual Exploitation and ViolenceShe has also contributed to a digital middle school curriculum regarding the links between sex trafficking and pornography as well as the public health impacts of sex trafficking.

Further Reading