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Falle to Grace
This is the story of Natasha Falle. Once a prostitute, she now rescues the lost in the sex trade.

I was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia – an only child. My parents were not Christians, and we had little faith in God and zero Scripture growing up. I was four years old when my parents divorced and my mother started drinking and going to bars and bringing home a lot of men. There were times when I would sneak into her room and crawl on all fours to steal from the pockets of these strange men, most of whom I never had the opportunity to meet. When they woke up they would leave. My mother left me with a babysitter, who sexually abused me and I blamed myself for so many years that I deserved it, or thought that maybe this was the role of girls.

Natasha with national president, Doug Walker after returning her last “stolen” hotel Bible at the Gideon National Convention, July 2008.

My mother met my soon-to-be stepfather when I was eight. Life seemed pretty normal after my mother married the second time. I played centre forward in soccer and I had really good grades until my mother divorced a second time. She started drinking again and going to bars. She became an alcoholic and I started following after my mother. I got some fake ID and I sneaked into the bars. I would bring home men who were in their 20's and 30's and I would sleep with these men, looking for love. I dropped out of school and didn't want to live at home anymore. My mother and I were always arguing. She was consumed with guilt and anger and so was I.

At 14 turning 15, I was introduced to prostitution by two young girls I met at a subway station. I had left home and had been sleeping from place to place, as if I were couch surfing. Sometimes I stayed in tents in my friends' backyards, or I was smuggled into basements through bedroom windows by friends who felt they had to hide me from their folks (who considered me a problem child—which reinforced how I already felt about myself). I felt like a bad little girl that no one wanted to love. I felt alone; as though I had to fend for myself, take care of myself. I was in a dark depression, but didn't have the words to articulate it, nor the support to help me through it.

The average age of someone entering the sex trade is 13-16, the average education level is about grade 8. I didn't want to be used like my mom and give sex away for free. Why not get paid for it? Much of society forgets this when referring to women as sex workers. These women were in fact once sexually exploited children, so when do we begin referring to them as sex workers? When I share my past with people, I tell them exactly that. I was a sexually exploited child, isolated in the sex trade for 12 years. In that time I experienced a lot of violence.

I met and married my pimp when I was 17, and the next ten years were very, very dark, filled with much abuse and violence. I've had broken ribs, broken arms, broken teeth. I have cigarette burns on my neck and on my chest. I started self harming by burning myself with cigarettes, because it hurt less to hurt myself than to have somebody else hurt me. So that was my life, along with the prostitution. I would go to work at night and sometimes I'd have a broken arm and I couldn't even move, let alone protect myself from some of these strange men, who wanted to hurt me. I've had guns put to my head, been kidnapped, drugged and raped. The list goes on.

In the 12 years that I worked in the sex trade, ten of those years I didn't use drugs. I justified that what I was doing was okay as long as I didn't fit the stereotype. As long as I didn't do drugs, as long as I made as much money as I could and had all the material gain, then, I thought, I was different. But one night after more abuse, I made a conscious decision to buy drugs, and anyone who knew me recognized that this was the ultimate stoop in my life. I hated drug addicts. I would rob them, I would spit on them, I would hurt them because they fed into what people already believed about prostitutes and I hated them for that—until I became one. So I bought a $30.00 bag of cocaine and I went from a $30 bag of cocaine to a $500 crack habit in two years. For two years I smoked at least $500 of crack a night and I would smoke it in paper because I told myself if I smoked it in paper and I didn't smoke it in a pipe then I'm not really a crack addict. (I always justified everything I did).

One night I was hiding out in a hotel room because I had so much shame. I was consumed with shame and guilt, and I had so much pride, that I stayed in hotels and I hid out from my friends. That night I was by myself. I opened the drawer and there was a Gideon Bible. I opened it up somewhere in Psalms. I don't remember where, but I remember for the first time I understood what God was saying to me.

I'd opened a Bible before but I would get the names and the cities all mixed up and I didn't know what I was reading. But that night I understood what God was saying to me. I remember I was under attack and He wanted to protect me. I just couldn't get enough of His Word.

So I started stealing these Bibles from every hotel room. I was walking around with these huge duffle bags and I had accumulated approximately 12 stolen Gideon Bibles. Once the police pulled me over and they opened my duffle bag. They had me in the back seat and I could see them talking at the front of the car. They opened up my duffle bags, started laughing and let me go.

I know these Bibles really do reach people in the darkest places – places you could never even imagine exist. Not TV, not books, nothing could really tell you exactly what it was I lived. But I had all these Bibles and I just couldn't get enough. From there my heart started opening more and more and more. I started watching Christian television and now I wanted to hear what Christian outreach workers on the street had to say.

On my 27th birthday I moved back home with my mother, who was in her first year of sobriety. This time she wasn't the sister, or good friend. She was the mom that I really needed. I could see these dark circles around her eyes and I knew she was worrying about me. I decided that night that I had to leave prostitution. God was telling me I had to leave. All the signs were there, and I didn't want to keep closing doors because I knew that if I closed another door, I wasn't going to be able to share my story.

I never went back after that night. I never returned back to prostitution, or my pimp, or the fast money. I went into treatment and they introduced me to the 12 Step program. But I needed more. “Higher power” wasn't enough. I needed the main source. I needed God! I got involved with a church. The first time I went to church I knew that was where I belonged. I gave my life to Christ and was baptized the very next Sunday. Praise God! Now it's been eight years since I've left the sex trade.

Over the course of time I gave away all but one of those stolen Gideon Hotel Bibles. I had the opportunity to return the last one to The Gideons at this past convention.

Today God has brought me to my purpose in life. I've learned during those 12 years as a prostitute to understand the mindset of those trapped in the sex trade. Today I give my energy to rescue others from prostitution. I am a director of a ministry that helps girls to get out of the sex trade. I also consult with police services on vice and morality issues, and have even been involved with some of our politicians helping shape legislation to address the needs of those trapped on the street.

Life couldn't be any better, and there is no stress that life could throw at me that could compare to where I was. I'm just so thankful! I'm so thankful for the Gideon Bible! I'm so thankful for God's presence in my life and I'm so thankful to be here today to share my story with you. God bless you!

Originally published in The Canadian Gideon, December 2008.




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