Recycled paper helps women escape sex industry - CBS46 News

Recycled paper helps women escape sex industry

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In an unassuming southwest Atlanta home a major life-changing project is underway. A nonprofit organization called Serenity Steps is helping women escape the commercial sex industry. It's being done by using recycled paper, which most people just throw away.

"It's discarded paper," said Serenity Steps Founder and Executive Director Leroy Lamar.

"Stuff nobody wants any more and it's taken through a process and it's made beautiful and people want it again. It's the same thing that happens in the lives of our women," Lamar said.

The mission of Serenity Steps is to help former sex industry workers achieve dignity and self-sufficiency. It's done partly through a program called That Grace Restored.

"That Grace Restored is our attempt to marry social enterprise to marry job readiness with actual employment and providing a living wage for women," Lamar said.

"We do that through hand-made paper goods," Lamar said.

The women take the recycled paper scraps and take it through a process to make new paper. The new paper is made into journals or stationary they are able to sell online.

For privacy reasons CBS46 is not giving the women's names. At work they are simply called Serenity Steps Friend.

"Everyone can make paper but I feel like when we do it, it's for a purpose," one Serenity Steps friend said.

The process of making new paper out of old paper that has been thrown away sometimes represents the women's lives. One friend said she has even shed tears while making the journals.

"It wasn't a bad cry," she said. "It was a cry saying I was grateful and thankful for the point I've came to in my life."

Another woman said, "It gave me a lot of time to figure out what I wanted to do with my life and I'm just very appreciative for it."

Serenity Steps is about giving help and not just a handout. Six women have some level of employment with plans for the program to grow.

If you would like more information on Serenity Steps and That Grace Restored click here.

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