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Strip Clubs and Cupcakes

What does it take to reach women in the sex industry? Maybe just a little love … and frosting.

I live a block off 82nd Avenue in Portland, Oregon. It's not the part of town you see on the Portlandia TV show. Instead of a trendy, free-range hipster paradise, 82nd—the ironically named "Avenue of Roses"—is a miles-long cement stretch of by-the-hour motels, B-grade strip clubs, and peeling houses that advertise "lingerie modeling" and "exotic massage." Streetwalkers are discreet, since the cops have been cracking down as of late. They stand at the edge of the streetlights late on the weekends, wary.

It all makes me a little uncomfortable. You see, 82nd is the margins of my society—but it's that place I always talk about Jesus going.

'The Stripper Whisperer'

They call Joy Hoover "The Stripper Whisperer." A girl from small-town Michigan, she has no personal past with the sex industry (even though she chuckles in a TEDx video that her stylish hair might make people confuse her with a stripper). It's ...

May/June
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