Author Archives: Stacy Jewell

About Stacy Jewell

Stacy Jewell, writer, director, and producer of the award winning play 7 Layers Captive which premiered at the Kennedy Center, was born in California and raised in Washington, D.C. At age 19 she was abducted and forced into the dark world of sex trafficking. After being held captive for almost two years, she was liberated from the violence and the physiological abuse of the sex industry. Presently, she is an internationally recognized survivor leader in the human trafficking movement and was honored at the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Press Conference by the Honorable, Senators Chuck Schumer and Patrick Leahy. As founder of the Whoisstolen Creative Arts Troupe and Media Group, Stacy knows all too well that words have the power to uplift or tear down the soul. Her compelling dramatizations have helped organizations such as The National Center of Missing and Exploited Children, both FBI and state level human trafficking task forces, and have been featured at several High Schools and Universities worldwide. Stacy Jewell has dedicated her life to using the performing arts for community outreach and advocacy mobilization on behalf of the victims of sex trafficking from around the world. As she often states, “entertainment and media are powerful forms in creating public awareness,” and she believes that helping survivors & advocates find their voice through creative expression is vital to the movement of ending modern day slavery. To book Stacy as a speaker or read more about her, go to Stacy's main page.

Stacy Jewell Lewis’ 7 Layers Captive’ Receives Rave Reviews!



Magic Time! DC Black Theatre Festival: ’7 Layers Captive’

The DC Black Theatre Festival this year offered some 45 self-produced shows, most one time only. Organized annually by the DC Drama Department, a nonprofit educational theater company, the festival featured performances in four categories: drama, deaf artists, family, and inspirational. I have sampled and reported on a few—but to fully appreciate the festival’s unique range of programming, see the complete schedule online.

“A prostituted child doesn’t know who will exploit her next. But she doesn’t have to go very far,” read an ad that appeared on Metro platforms about a year ago. It was sponsored by Shared Hope International, a faith-based nonprofit whose cause is sex trafficking.

SharedHopeMetroAd (1)

I remember puzzling over the cryptic diagram, surprised that an ad on this topic was running in Washington, DC. Like most people, I harbored a notion that sex trafficking of minors happens far away in other countries, not right here. So seeing Stacy Jewell Lewispowerful new play in this year’s Black Theatre Festival,7 Layers Captive, was an unforgettable eye-opener.

Written, produced, directed, and performed by Lewis, 7 Layers Captive recounts Lewis’ own real story of being abducted into sex trafficking.

At the age of 19, when Lewis was on her way to her home in the Capital Hill neighborhood where she lived with her newborn and the boy’s father, her bus arrived early and she missed it. It was past 9:30. Not wanting to wait an hour for another, she accepted a ride offered by a frail-looking grandfather sort, whom she figured she could clock if there was trouble. Unknown to her, he was in cahoots with a pistol-packing pimp who for weeks had been observing the patterns of her life and the people closest to her. She was driven to New York City, where the pimp seasoned her, threatening to kill her baby if she escaped, then put to work on the streets. He made her call him Daddy and episodically beat her, making sure not to bruise her face so she could keep bringing him money. Some of the other girls in his stable were as young as 12.

Breathtakingly gripping and narratively harrowing, 7 Layers Captive is a tour de force of truth-telling. Lewis’ script is itself a work of poetry. Line after line went by that resonated exquisitely with perception and distilled emotion. Lewis’ artfully measured delivery seemed to leave moments around the rich language for it to register. Still the gifted writing made me mentally want to push pause to relish it.
stacyjewelllewisLewis is a disarming and engaging performer. She alone speaks during the play (D’Anche silently portrays Lewis’ younger self during the seasoning scene; Nate Jewell stands in silently for the menacing pimp).  She tells her horrific story not with the agony and grim suffering one might expect but with a striking inner composure and a surprising smile on her lips. It’s as if, though she is recalling explicitly all the torments she went through, she has survived and, now more than ten years after, has arrived whole at a healed place from which she feels empowered to share her whole truth. Not because she wants our pity but because she deeply really wants us to understand what her story means.

Walter Cavanaugh and Chris Barz (aka) X||Z have produced original music and a sound design that eloquently amplifies Lewis’ riveting descent into a cacophonous dark world and ultimate ascent into harmony and light. The disturbing end of Act One is expressed viscerally by their sound track during an extended hallucinatory passage in which Lewis is drugged by her pimp into numbness, her face vacant, her voice silent. The effect is stunning.

Lewis enters in Act Two costumed like a 19th-century madam and delivers one of the most amazingly multilayered monologues I’ve ever heard on stage. Smiling all the while, she teases us with sexual-temptress cliches, simultaneously explicating the history of women in prostitution in America. This is who you see when you look at such a woman, Lewis seems to be saying; this is what’s really going on inside her body and soul because this is what has happened to her.


7 Layers Captive ends on an uplifting note as Lewis tells of the personal redemption that graced her by faith. Whether or not one leaves the theater believing what Lewis believes, one truly believes her belief. And one cannot but feel awe and reverence at the magnificent veracity in the performance she has shared.

Running Time: 90 minutes, including a 15-minute intermission.

7 Layers Captive played one show only on June 26, 2014 at Sitar Arts Center – 1700 Kalorama Road NW, in Washington, DC. This year’s Black Theatre Festival ends tomorrow, Sunday, June 29th. The complete schedule is online.

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7 Layers Captive Special “One Night Only” Performance

Friday, January 10th @8pm in Washington, DC In honor of January’s National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month, Writer & Director Stacy Jewell Lewis presents a “One Night Only” special performance of 7 Layers Captive.

In this mesmerizing performance Stacy Jewell Lewis captivates the soul with her compelling true story of her abduction into the world of street prostitution in Washington, DC. From teen victim to her transformation into the notorious “bottom girl” female recruiter.

Using the power of her real life experience, moving spoken word and stunning visuals, Stacy illuminates the stage taking you on an emotional journey from tragedy to triumph.

7 layers

Get Tickets for $25 online at or, or pay $30 at the door.

Ebenezers Coffeehouse
201 F Street NE
Washington, DC 20011
(202) 558-6900

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WATCH TRAILER of 7 Layers Captive “The Play”

Stacy Jewell Lewis presents “7 Layers Captive” a play which depicts her real life story as a sex slave in America. Her riveting one woman performance has left audiences breathless as she captivates the soul through music, poetry and dynamic storytelling.

NOW SHOWING in Washington, DC. Visit to find show dates and locations.

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by | December 18, 2013 · 11:11 pm

Stacy Interviews with KAAL TV

Stacy shares her story with KAAL TV news in Rochester, MN

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by | March 1, 2013 · 1:45 pm

New Play “7 Layers Captive” by Stacy Jewell Lewis

Writer & Director of Stolen: From Playgrounds to Streetlights new one woman play 7 Layers Captive. A remarkable depiction of her personal journey through the dark world of sex trafficking and street prostitution.

7 Layers Captive is a descriptive real life story about Stacy’s horrific experience in what she and other experts call “The Life”. Through poetry, music and powerful storytelling, Stacy describes the fear, shame and eventual acceptance that kept her locked in the chains of her captor’s manipulative seduction.

If you’ve ever heard the questions asked “was it a choice?” or “Why didn’t she run?” 7 Layers Captive reveals the psychological and often emotional chains of torment that truly sheds new light on the term “Modern Day Slavery”.

To Buy TICKETS visit

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by | March 1, 2013 · 1:10 pm

New study looks at child sex trafficking in America

SAN ANTONIO -Stacy Jewell Lewis knows firsthand about child sex trafficking.

She’s now an advocate for child sex trafficking laws, but 10 years ago, she was a victim, forced into prostitution by strangers who tracked her down in her neighborhood.

“They had followed me for quite some time and knew my pattern so they knew where I lived and threatened my family if I did not go,” she said. “When I was told they knew what street I lived on and had a child, it felt more real to me than ever before.”

Lewis now helps others through Shared Hope International. The group analyzes and pushes for strengthening of sex trade laws.

read more and watch the news report here

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Stacy Jewell Lewis speaks out at Salt Lake symposium

SALT LAKE CITY — It took Stacy Lewis 10 years after leaving “the life” to realize and understand that she had been a victim of sex trafficking.

But when she found her voice, it was powerful and it was strong.

Friday she performed a monologue she wrote titled “10 Years and One Day” with fierceness and tenderness. Her voice raising and then lowering, she spoke of the children she saw working in the streets and of the sun that taunted her while she was forced to work only in darkness.

“While it took 10 years to fully understand that I was a victim, it only took me one day to believe in the sun,” she said. “God was in the light all along. … I escaped my prison while all the vampires were asleep.”

read more here

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