Monique Calderon, spent several years in the sex industry and is now a renowned speaker on the topic of the human trafficking. In this brief video, she addresses students at Valley High School on the importance of knowing their worth. “You are priceless”, she says. She explains how predators prey on the vulnerability of youth with low self-esteem to recruit them into the sex industry. The encounter with Monique hugely impacted the students, especially Eileen and Cindy, who consequently started an initiative called “Mirror Empowerment” to let teens know how valuable they are and to protect them from the ruses of traffickers.

Monique Calderon, who walked away from the sex industry, shares her story and how she now saves others from its’ disastrous effects.


Since she was a little girl, Monique struggled with knowing her value. She grew up in a home that treated females as second-class citizens. Her fireball personality rebelled against this perspective and she was punished for speaking up for her mother, sister and herself. Her desperate cries for love and affection fell on deaf ears. She had no one to turn to, this caused her to isolate and suppress her pain.


As if home life wasn’t bad enough, at school she was bullied, and she found it difficult to open up to her friends at school. With both of her worlds rejecting her, she saw no reason to live and attempted suicide for the first time when she was nine years old. Her father’s constant put downs birthed a deep hatred for men within her. The physical, emotional, and verbal abuse added to the fiery hatred until it grew into an all-out inferno. Her childlike wonder and innocence were stolen from her. No longer was she a soft, sweet little girl. She became an angry little girl that hated men.


Monique managed to excel academically and became the first person in her family to attend college (Loyola Marymount University). What was supposed to be a positive turning point in her life soon became the breeding ground for her unresolved feelings and emotions to manifest themselves. During her first week at LMU, her grandfather passed away from Parkinson’s Disease. She fell apart and used alcohol and sex to escape the sadness and depression.


She didn’t find herself worthy of love so she self-sabotaged every relationship and nice person that came her way. She recognized the crazy person she had become and embraced her. She became selfish, violent, reckless and mean. From that day forward she decided that she was going to be a Black Widow- She wanted to hurt men and make them feel unloved and worthless just how her dad had made her feel all those years.


Her residual hurts from the past and her strong desire to escape the abuse from her household led her to the Sex Industry. She used her body as a form of currency to get whatever she wanted. Her party hard lifestyle led her in jail facing possible murder charges. She had hit rock bottom. That night as she sat looking back on her life and wondered how she let her life spin so out of control, she decided to turn to God.


Note: This article was taken from Monique’s Ted Talk about finding your worth, which we highly recommend and can be found HERE. All acknowledgement and rights for this biography go the author who wrote it for Ted Talk. Monique can be booked as a speaker at Treasures, a non-profit outreach and support group for survivors of the sex industry.