Orlando church group helping get prostitutes off the street



ORLANDO, Fla. - Program leaders at Powerhouse Church on Orange Blossom Trail were tired of seeing prostitutes walking up and down the street. Instead of reporting them to police the church came up with another solution and is now trying to get them off the streets.

Joanna Renfroe, who runs the Glass Slippers Project and Powerhouse Ministries, said the group has rescued 15 women this year, some as young as 9 years old.

But Renfroe said there are dozens more who are in need of their help.

"Over 30 that would love to come off the streets right now," she said.

The problem is there isn’t room to take in more women, Renfroe said.

A former prostitute talked with Channel 9's Myrt Price but fears for her safety and asked to remain unidentified. She was one of the women rescued after years of having sex with strangers for cash.

"There's plenty of doctors, plenty of lawyers," the woman said. "There's plenty of judges."

While on the streets, she said her life was in danger every night.

"If they ask for a certain thing to be done and you're not doing it the way they want you to do it, they will hurt you.  They will choke you. I've almost had a couple times my neck snapped," she said.

The woman said her ruthless pimp drugged her and did everything he could to keep her under his control.

"If you don't come up with their quota, they will beat you," she said.

Powerhouse and GSP are hoping to buy a house outside the city, so they can house the women where the pimps can't find them.

Another former prostitute who was rescued is back on the streets, this time helping others. She said it's dangerous to the point where several pimps have threatened her.

The church is now trying to buy a building that they'll use to provide food, clothes and hot showers to people who have nowhere to turn for help.