Thursday, February 22, 2018
Sex Workers Anonymous (formerly Prostitutes Anonymous)
February 22, 2018
Cyndi Lundenberg c/o
Fox 5 News
The last couple of nights I’ve been watching the young people calling out the politicians who are supported financially by the NRA as their platforms being “BS” and I have to say I really identify with them. Why? First of all, because the term “sex trafficking” used in your story about Angela broadcast last night wouldn’t even exist if not for the work, public awareness, hotline, and program our group/members started a movement about which led to the passing of the Trafficking Act of 2000 which gave this issue of sex trafficking federal and cultural recognition for the first time in history.
For example, before Bill Wilson founded Alcoholics Anonymous the concept of alcoholism didn’t even exist. Prior to AA, and Bill Wilson founding AA, the church felt it was a moral failing or vice. Politicians used it as a platform for election and fund raising. Law makers used it to pass laws about “dry counties” and time zones. Womens’ groups pushed for Prohibition. Criminal organizations used alcohol being illegal during Prohibition to amass a fortune and a great deal of power. Psychiatry viewed it as a form of mental illness and used to lock up the alcoholic. Law enforcement of course viewed it as criminal behavior and many jails used to be filled with nothing but drunks on weekends in some counties during Prohibition.
It wasn’t until some years after the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous did Marty Mann gain sobriety in AA and come out of that program to found the National Council on Alcoholism. That group then went on to fund medical research which then proved alcoholism was a disease. Betty Ford, one of our First Ladies, then proved the disease could hit anyone regardless of who they were in socioeconomic status.
Prior to 1987, the year we founded our 12 step program, our hotline, and the first ever alternative sentencing program for who are now labeled as “sex trafficking victims” today, all people found to be involved in prostitution were considered “criminals” across the board. Meaning that if Angela’s same exact case had happened in 1986 – she would have been arrested right along with Tyler Wright. Literally. In the same exact case as this back then, she would have been arrested and treated just as Tyler’s being treated.
A situation that I personally found quite offensive and decided to do something about it. That’s why I met with the California Attorney General in 1986 – Edwin Meese. Mr. Meese had just headed up the Meese Commission on the Porn Industry looking into what again is now called “sex trafficking” within the porn industry after Linda Lovelace tried to raise awareness about being forced to film “Deep Throat” on a mob financed adult film while a gun was held on her off camera by her husband/pimp. Something that horrifically was not against the law the year that film was not only made – but grossed millions while being aired in mainstream theaters all over the USA to record box office ticket sales.
Only after Linda trying to tell the whole world about being trafficked in this film and trying to explain to the world they were watching her being raped for money in “Deep Throat” and the public just not “getting it”, I realized we needed to try a different approach to change the situation. That’s when I created the first safe house for adults which got me arrested falsely in 1984 by cops who thought it was a “brothel” and a press who dubbed me the “High Tech Madam” because they couldn’t understand why I’d have such high tech security on a brothel (because it wasn’t a brothel – but a safe house). So that led to the “outpatient” 12 step program and hotline, and the 13 year media campaign that allowed us to gather the right people to create and pass the Trafficking Act of 2000. This gave sex trafficking the same distinction from prostitution as the RICO Act gave the mob from petty street crime – and thus changed the way we then looked, and even recognized that this thing even existed now.
So we’ve come a long way in trying to understand what exactly “sex trafficking” exactly is, how it works, who is affects, and what to do about it. Including the fact it can happen to someone who is in legal prostitution just as much as it can in illegal prostitution. I say this because addiction doesn’t care if it’s prescription or not any more than sex trafficking cares if it’s in a legal setting or illegal setting.
I started getting so many calls from victims of sex trafficking from within the legal brothels of Nevada by 1988, the year after I launched the tholine, the same year Joe Conforte, the founder/owner of the Mustang Ranch was spending $2,000,000 trying to expand legalized prostitution into California, that I relocated up to Nevada so I could physically go and pick up those women calling me for help.
I didn’t have a choice seeing as there were not only no cabs, buses, or limo’s that would go and pick up these women leaving the legal brothels without a penny on them as the brothels weren’t paying them, but only their “managers”, their earnings – but also because it was, and still is in many cases, against the law for them to leave the brothels on foot. Leaving them with the only way to leave their pimp/trafficker to get to safety out of the legal brothel is to have someone come and physically pick them up in a car.
Which is one of the reasons why we gave the first ever press conference about the existence of sex trafficking existing in such a unique situation in Nevada in 2007. There are news clips about this international press conference which made history again you can find at www.hightechmadam.com so frankly I’m shocked to find that a reputable reporter, and organizations who claim to work with sex trafficking victims would publish an article like the one I found here at http://www.fox5vegas.com/story/37561928/sex-trafficking-victim-fearful-after-las-vegas-pimp-accepts-deal stating that there are a “scarcity of resources for trafficking victims” when we’ve been here all along. We sure haven’t gone anywhere. I also guarantee you that 99 % of sex trafficking victims in Nevada are NOT going to go to ANY of the resources you listed which are basically for the homeless.
Take a good look at this picture of Angela’s injuries because I hold each of you responsible. Why? Our organization not only has been here physically since 1988, and was the first group in Nevada working with this community, we gave the press conference that called out for resources to BEGIN with in 2007 when no one else was, we helped to get Joe Conforte out of the Mustang Ranch and even out of the country when nothing else would stop the damages he was doing to women and hiding behind the lack of laws to protect them at the time, we’re easily found in two seconds on Google, and further we are listed in the National Trafficking Hotline directory of resources in Nevada. So can someone please explain to me why in this article our name wasn’t mentioned? Why Angela wasn’t told about our hotline IMMEDIATELY upon her pimp’s arrest? But you gave her something like Shade Tree or Safe Nest? Why? She’s not homeless! She’s not a domestic violence victim!
I’ll tell you why I hold each of you responsible for her injuries – because I know that ever since we’ve started answering our hotline we go through a rundown of procedures with our callers where we would have explained to them NEVER to have done something like answer the door for a flower delivery that wasn’t expected.
Do I blame Angela for answering the door and being attacked? No I don’t. But I do hold each of you responsible because I know for a fact each of you do know about our organization and hotline. I do know you know that we would have gone through a training with her upon her first phone call to her where we would have gone over with her a set of protocols where she would have either (1) not been so easily found as to have that attack happen, or (2) she wouldn’t have answered the door when flowers arrived she wasn’t expecting because that’s a common ruse pimps use to get their victims to answer the door.
Which is why I hold law enforcement responsible for the death of Margo Compton who testified against her sex traffickers, the Hell’s Angel’s when law enforcement thought that simply moving her from California to Colorado would be enough to make her safe from their retribution. Instead, they found her, made her watch the murder of her twin daughters, and then murdered her for her testimony against them. If we’d been put in touch with her as we should have been upon her getting involved in a sex trafficking case, we would have been able to properly work with her witness protection to have set it up properly so that they wouldn’t have found her in Colorado where the Hell’s Angel’s have connections as they did. We have successfully relocated more than one victim from the Hell’s Angel’s trafficking operations, and we sure didn’t put them in Colorado, or other states where they have connections, that’s for sure!
The minute that Angela was free of Tyler, she should have been referred to our hotline where we could have properly advised her of precautions to take so that this attack wouldn’t have happened to her. By the grace of God she’s alive. The next victim might not be so lucky. The only reason I can think of why she wasn’t put in touch with us, and why our hotline/program’s name wasn’t mentioned is because we’re the only one of the groups in that article Cindi who doesn’t rely upon grant money and fund raising to survive. Yet despite that we are the oldest, largest, and most effective group in this area in existance.
We not only have chapters all over this country, but in five other countries now. We have been around since 1987, while Polaris has only been around since 2002. The Salvation Army has only been working with trafficking victims since 2004 “officially”. SWA has answered five times more phone calls from victims directly than the National Trafficking Hotline. We have been investigated by multiple reputable investigative reporters such as John Quinones from ABC’s “What Would You Do?” and comes out with flying colors. If fact, he devoted a whole chapter to us in his 2009 book “Heroes Among Us” he was so impressed by our work.
Professor Sharon Oselin spent ten years studying the top three programs working with programs that help women out of prostitution. Out of those groups, our program not only came out as the best, but we’re the only group out of her three that is still operating today. You can verify her glowing reports about our program’s effectiveness in her 2009 report “Leaving Prostitution”.
We also were studied by the Dept. of Justice for the alternative sentencing and diversion programs we created in Los Angeles, Pennsylvania, Chicago, and Phoenix and they published glowing reports about us. Showtime in fact has a wonderful documentary about our program probably still on demand, “Dreamcatchers” about our Division 17 program at the Chicago Womens’ Jail run by Brenda Myers-Powell who came to us 20 years ago off the streets also escaping her pimp thanks to our help. I should add that I myself was the first person ever certified by the FBI as an expert witness in how pimps brainwash their victims into thinking they’re acting voluntarily when not back in 1995 so I could testify at the first international pimping hearing held in Hawaii that year. Which when the pimp heard I was testifying against him took a plea rather than face me by the way.
So take a good look at Angela’s face please because I hold each of you responsible for this. You each knew about our hotline and didn’t tell her about us before this attack which could have prevented this attack had she been given our number beforehand.
Now the question is, how many more women have to go without help, or worse, before you start giving out our hotline to the women you come in contact with like her?
We can do things you can’t. Sex Workers Anonymous puts every caller in touch with not only someone who used to be in the sex industry, who is in recovery now themselves, but we also connect them to someone who has a story much like theirs. If they had a pimp – we connect them to someone who used to have a pimp also. If they were trafficked – we connect them to someone who was trafficked.
More important than the identification we can provide them from our membership – we provide them with a training, or “protocol” of what they need to know to protect themselves PROPERLY so that attacks like this don’t happen to them.
The same goes for their families. We even have booklets available we give out to family on what they need to know to protect themselves in these situations. Why? Because often when a victim goes missing, the pimps will go and locate a family member. Then they’ll go to threaten them in order to find out where the victim has relocated to. This means that simply relocating the victim without the whole family being on alert can endanger the rest of the family. Which is why, just like with treating alcoholism or drug addiction, we work with the whole family, when helping someone to adjust to life outside of the sex industry whether trafficked or not.
We do this because in about 90 percent of the cases the women don’t self-identify as “trafficking victims”. It can take YEARS before the denial will lift or for them to be educated enough about their situation to even identify with that term. We also don’t refuse to work with someone who isn’t involved within the legal system. Probably 90 % of our members are not actively prosecuting anyone. They are simply focusing on exiting the industry and finding recovery – period. Many are choosing not to prosecute their traffickers and that’s their right to make that choice. It’s a choice that shouldn’t preclude them from getting support and assistance.
It certainly shouldn’t wind them up like Angela. So what do we have to do to open up a dialogue here and stop having you each act like we don’t exist? Because clearly that policy is harming people like Angela and many more. It has to stop. Angela could have been killed.
So I’d like to know what you want to do about it. I am not the only member of SWA clearly – I’m just the only one who is willing to break my anonymity publicly. Considering the way I’m treated by many in the public and media I can’t blame my members for wanting to maintain their anonymity. I’d like to know what we can do to start getting our number into the hands of more women like Angela before more women get hurt, or worse.
There’s also the HIV/AIDS epidemic that’s currently going on within the sex industry right now that has to be considered also the press is not talking about either. But it’s real and the studies are confirming it. We are now seeing more cases among sex workers in the USA under the ages of 25 than we did in the 1980’s – and believe me – that’s a lot of cases. I welcome any of your calls or emails to see what we can do to start opening up the lines of communication here.
Clark County District Attorney’s and Public Defenders Office
Thursday, February 8, 2018
SEX WORKERS ANONYMOUS
Trafficking & Prostitution Services
SWAN (like Alanon for Sex Workers)
(702) 488-1127 Telephone
(888) 631-4611 Toll Free
February 8, 2018
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
1444 I Street NW
Washington, DC 20005
Re: Baltimore Corruption Scandal
Dear Ms. Ifill:
I had written the NAACP to make contact about an issue I was seeing directly affect the African American community, only to hear nothing back about 2013. I however only heard you speaking today on MSNBC about the Baltimore corruption scandal, so I’m thinking maybe what I have to say might fall on more receptive ears with you.
You see – what is going on in Baltimore is nothing new from where I’m sitting. You insert the city of Los Angeles, add in Iran Contra and the CIA, and turn the calendar back to the early 1980’s – and voila! You have my life. That’s why I took a warehouse and turned it into a safe house for sex trafficking victims. I installed security and surveillance equipment and used a warehouse because it was too risky for children to get shot by placing the safe house in a residential district as I had tried before the warehouse to do.
The media couldn’t understand what it was seeing when the cops involved framed me to have me arrested and accused of “pimping”, so they dubbed me the “High Tech Madam” because of the proximity to the police station, the security bars/equipment and the surveillance systems I’d installed because I knew no one would believe me what cops were doing otherwise. Only the tapes I had of the cops doing these things only put a target on my head. Back then what would I be but another dead hooker joining the long list of the killers operating back then like the Grim Reaper, Hillside Strangler, Green River Killer, Southside Slayer and the list went on.
Realizing that this clearly wouldn’t work to provide protection, and an avenue of escape for men, women and juveniles who were being trafficked by men who were law enforcement, CIA, politicians, etc., and because we couldn’t go to the police not just for that reason, but also because sex trafficking domestically was not illegal back then – I launched our hotline and 12 step program in 1987 as Prostitutes Anonymous.
It was too easy for the cops to claim we were “prostitutes” and have us treated as criminals, and without the Trafficking Act of 2000 having been passed yet, not even conceived of then, there were no alternatives before then. Nor any way to have any type of confidentiality laws protecting our hotline, as well as protection against conspiracy laws for “congregating”. So the 12 step format served a lot of functions back then for us – including having our media awareness campaign finally result in the passing of the Trafficking Act of 2000. This gave Americans trafficked on American soil for the first time the ability to be a “victim” instead of a “criminal”, and actually receive victim services.
Only I had no idea what would come next was that I started seeing duplications of what you’ve seen in Baltimore, being created now being “sex trafficking task forces” across the country. With us excluded from these task forces for the most obvious of reasons – because the true purpose of these task forces wasn’t about helping us. What it was instead was to serve as a cover for actual sex trafficking, as well as a cover for racial targeting of the African American communities in way where they would be deemed “heroes” instead of “racists”.
What I’ve witnessed has had nothing to do with assisting actual sex trafficking victims. Think I’m kidding? Read George Knapp’s story about Christopher Baughman – who was arresting competitors to his buddy Molly Moll, while simultaneously screwing the district attorney and the witnesses against the traffickers – African American men I would like to add.
I can tell you about call after call I’ve received to our hotline, which is the only one not connected to law enforcement, where the so called “trafficking task force” was coming out to womens’ homes, insisting they finger their African American boyfriend and/or husband and/or father of their children as a “trafficker”, or else lose their children to CPS. In exchange for “snitching” out their man, they received a free apartment, some medical aid, and the police not carting off their kids to CPS. In some cases, they did anyway after arresting the man. If you think I’m kidding – you look up every prosecution of a so called “sex trafficker” since 2003 and I doubt you’re find very many white men in the bunch.
The campaigns themselves are outright racist in design. Look at the "No Such Thing" campaign financed by John McCain. The woman hosting the events was an African American woman who never wore corn rows in her hair EXCEPT when she was presenting for these events. Their very "poster child" was also clearly a young woman of color. Documentaries, or so called "documentaries" were hosted by Jada Pinkett-Smith, in the darkest areas of Atlanta where a month later we then saw the release of "Magic Mike" (look at Thailand and tell me the sex trafficking of young boys as dancers doesn't happen - I dare you). . http://rights4girls.org/campaign/
Only in REALITY - would you like to know what "not calling a juvenile a prostitute" means? What it means is that instead of arresting a juvenile for a prostitution crime, where he or she is then granted a phone call, an attorney, and the right to remain silent, as well as their 5th amendment right to not incriminate themselves - NOW they're held as "witnesses" indefinitely. They are not granted a phone call. They are not given an attorney because you see they're not being "charged" with anything. They're held without habeas corpus rights to see a judge in a set period of time because again they're not being charged as a criminal, but instead held "indefinitely" as a "witness" and/or in "protective custody".
The switchover has become so profitable in states like Arizona, they did away with Child Protective Services staffed by trained social workers in 2014 and turned these kids over to the Dept. of Childrens' Services. Sounds the same huh? Only the DCS is run by the Attorney General's office whose primary concern is criminal prosecution and law enforcement officers. While these kids are now being held indefinitely in "protective custody", they are held in special detention centers, with paid "support people", and extra security - which is a boomtown for grant money for the juvenile justice departments who now train juvenile judges to across the board order children removed from the home in all suspected cases - which again grants more money to their system as a sex trafficking victim receives twice the per diem to be held than an "ordinary" abuse victim.
I can assure you when you see the colors of the juveniles who are being detained as "witnesses" without a right to a trial, an attorney, and basically turned into cash cows for the state (talking about pimping - these guys could teach Bishop Don Juan a lesson or two), you won't see a white girl in the bunch. In fact, the juvenile that was selected to represent juvenile victims by the McCain faction was also a woman of color and doubtful in my mind she was even a "real" survivor. I question her authenticity as I did Samoly Mam's authenticity rightfully and others. Then again I've found writings by slaves espousing the beauty of slavery so anything's possibly by these people "cherry picking" the statements about this issue that's been allowed before Congress.
So far, I run the oldest, and largest, group of sex trafficking survivors in this country - and yet we've not even been invited to be in the room. I myself have spoken to well over 1,000,000 people coming out of the sex industry of all ages, colors, situations and with various reasons for wanting help to leave, more than any other person in the USA I'm aware of certainly - and yet I've never been included or invited either in any of these so called "trafficking events". Our hotline has answered five times more calls over more years than the National Trafficking Hotline, and answered by other survivors, but yet again we're conspicuously excluded from the very field we founded in this country. Ironically, Oprah chose to produce three documentaries about the African American member of Prostitutes Anonymous who took over our Chicago Chapter a few years ago, Brenda Myers-Powell, but yet not one about myself, the founder, who is white. Go figure.
Out of the handful of sex traffickers who we had a hand in being brought to light, such as Chris Butler and/or Kemp Shiffer, you’ll find their stories were written off as “a few bad apples” or “an isolated incident” when the truth is that these were very organized, and very national in their networking. That is if they weren’t just found to be “immune” like Joohon David Lee was found after I spent YEARS trying to get someone to shut that guy down from walking real victims right past airport security using his Homeland Security and ICE badge! Women he’d flown in on tax payer money by the way. Only to now find he’s driving a limo for Charles Horkey, a limo company owner who was also found guilty of sex trafficking, and knocking out johns with GHB and robbing them, as well as using the GHB on his sex trafficking victims.
You see our members, and callers to our hotline, aren’t actresses or celebrities. When we cry sexual assault such as the nine women in the porn industry did against James Deen when he was serving as the director of the Adult Protection Advocacy Commission, an organization that was supposed to protect porn performers that had also shut us out of their loop when James came on board, we get told if we don’t stand next to our rapist on stage and smile for the cameras at the next AVN then we’ll be sued for “breach of contract”.
Ms. Lfill, for every African American male that’s being released on a marijuana charge right now, I assure you two more are going back for twice as much time as “traffickers” because instead of actually going after real traffickers, many within law enforcement found it a great way to cover up their racism and selective prosecution using a technique Tony Robbins would called “reframing”.
And in the meantime, I can assure you what went on in Baltimore is not unique, new, isolated, nor local – but there has been a duplication of the same system within the sex trafficking task forces nationally for many years now. I can also prove this if anyone would sit down and listen to us. We get excluded from any of the panels in this area because the people holding the grant purse strings are the founders of our only competitor – Polaris.
Polaris was created by Bradley Myles and Katherine Chon. Katherine Chon also happened to be the Director of the Office of Victim Services in the DHSS who decided who got the trafficking grant money every year. A decision which of course always included Polaris getting a nice yearly chunk and the first seat at the table of decision making about the very subject we created – much like excluding Bill Wilson and Alcoholics Anonymous from the National Counsel on Alcoholism. So any other nonprofit who wanted to expect any type of grant money acts like the National Trafficking Hotline is “all there is” and that we don’t exist in a system of natural competition that’s been created. But that’s because their hotline does work in cooperation with law enforcement.
And if Baltimore has proven anything – it’s been why we saw the need to have a hotline SEPARATE from law enforcement for now hopefully what is obvious reasons. I’d love to talk to you more about what we can do about this situation sometime. You can reach me at the above contact information. Thank you for your time and attention to this letter.
Saturday, February 3, 2018
Jody Williams, Founder & Director
Sex Workers Anonymous www.sexworkersanonymous.com
SWAN – www.swan-fellowship.us
Trafficking & Prostitution Services
3395 S. Jones Blvd., #333
Las Vegas, NV 89146
February 2, 2018
Lara Powers c/o
Re: Your Recent Statement about the IKEA Article
I don’t know if you’ve seen any of Rose McGowan’s recent appearances on TV, but I have to say I’ve found them very enlightening. One of the great things about the 12-Step process I’ve found to be very healing is that we often don’t understand what we’re going through until we see ourselves mirrored in a stranger across the room. Seeing this “mirror” helps us to differentiate between what is “part of the process” of the experience we’re going through from what is “us” personally.
But this “nirrror” is also our “healing empathy” that Jimmy Kinnon talked about in the Narcotics Anonymous Basic Text of what he found to work for addicts as to why they had to break away from AA to find healing for them. Because not everyone has the “same” pain, even though we share pain as humans.
For those of us who have been through certain types of trauma, especially sexual trauma, and even more so especially when that trauma has been exploited for money, there is a common “anger” with us I see in Rose. An anger people who have been through what we’ve been through don’t understand. But then again if you haven’t walked in our shoes – you wouldn’t understand.
So you may not understand our collective anger within Sex Workers Anonymous when some of our members came across your article about the woman who was in the IKEA store where you claimed she was “spreading disinformation” about what sex trafficking “really is”. Like many of the women Rose is speaking for, actresses who don’t want to ruin their career by speaking out directly, but instead through her, I’m also in that position. One where the members come to me and ask me to be that point of contact between their feelings and the outside world. One that I think gets me a reputation of being “angry” when in reality I’m carrying the voices of many many people who are yes very very “angry”.
Voices that want to be heard. So please understand this letter is not “personal” from me, but representative of the voices of our members who contacted me asking me to speak to you about taking such a position as an “expert” on what “sex trafficking really is”. Now I don’t know when you became an “expert” on this subject, but you’re way off base here by making the statements you did about such a type of thing “not being real” for one thing as we found in this article http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-powers-ikea-mom-sex-trafficking-20170331-story.html
From what homework I was able to do on you, it seems you’ve been the hotline manager for the National Trafficking Hotline for about five years. I’m sorry but that does not make you an expert on the various forms of sex trafficking in America. ESPECIALLY when your perspective is coming from running the National Trafficking Hotline.
I say this because my biggest complaint against your hotline since the day you started it is the fact that by the very way it’s been set up – it literally EXCLUDES any REAL victims of sex trafficking from even calling you. Therefore, I have to ask you what on earth would you know about the subject to take a position on someone else’s experience as being “inauthentic”?
First, you probably have no idea who I am, so let me tell you where I can get off getting in your face about making such a reckless statement as you did and the dangers I see also in what you did as well by publishing such a statement.
I was an odd kid growing up for sure. I was in the Mentally Gifted Minors program they had in Los Angeles in the 1960’s, so I had a lot of problems in school. To try and deal with these problems, I took a special test to get out of high school and into college when I was only 16 years of age. I had the money to pay for it, but then my father ripped me off so suddenly I had to find a way to keep paying for school or lose my place and become just a high school drop-out.
The only kind of job I could see that would let me continue school, but yet make enough money to pay for it, was to go to work at a local nightclub to where I lived. That of course meant lying about my age because they served alcohol, so that’s what I did. I got myself a job at this club which I didn’t know at the time was a front for money laundering for Richard Pryor’s family “business”. Richard’s been open about his mother working at his grandmother’s brothel. The men in the family were dealers, while the women engaged in prostitution.
With Richard’s connections, they opened up this nightclub to be a sort of “one stop shop” where Hollywood celebrities could stop in and pick up whatever vice they felt like at the moment. Remember, this was a time before cell phones and the internet – so the club was a local “connection” point between Hollywood and their drugs and prostitution needs.
This became not only my first introduction into what “pimps” were, and how that whole world operated, but it also put me in a position where I saw just about every form of sex work as well as sex trafficking was at a time when we didn’t even have a word for it. What was worse was that I was coming from “straight society” who didn’t believe any of these things were even real. Believe it or not Lara – there was a time when our society didn’t believe the mafia existed either. People used to laugh and joke and say the “cosa nostra” was just an “urban myth”.
I can point you to things like the 1968 film, “Thoroughly Modern Millie” with Julie Andrews where they not only joked about Asian sex trafficking, but they even made a musical satire out of it. So not only were there not any words for many of the things I say, but if you talked to anyone outside of the tiny circle of people who were involved in these things – they would not even believe you that what you were talking about was “real”.
So the concept of “getting help” didn’t even exist because our society didn’t even believe “it” was a problem. Which is why we didn’t even have laws on the books for “it” because “it” didn’t even exist.
I’d like to invite you sometime to check out this clip I have from the unedited version of Bruce Lee’s “Enter the Dragon”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PGjCWpbt4U&t=17s In what was a fictional movie, this was actually a very real attempt I believe at explaining that domestic sex trafficking in 1973 (when this filmed premiered) was actually very real and happening today – not extinct years ago like the popular culture tried to make us believe back then.
If you look carefully at the film, you’ll see the “victims” of this were very blond American women while the traffickers were the ones who were Asian. My point here is that the CIA inspired character in this film who was explaining what was happening - American women were being tricked onto planes to go to this island, then hooked on drugs, and sold to the highest bidder, was literally NOT illegal back in the 1970’s. Had Bruce not died three weeks before the film opened, I think a lot of discussion about the subject would have been sparked back then.
So the people who were engaging in this right under our noses in broad daylight were enjoying 100 % immunity. To illustrate how horrifying this was, I would like you to think about Linda Lovelace’s story and what she went through.
This woman got up on national TV and poured her heart out about being forced at gunpoint, with the threat of her parents being murdered, and with daily beatings so severe you can see the bruises on her legs in the film even (bruises they didn’t even bother to cover up with make-up), to film “Deep Throat”. A film that was financed by mob money and made them millions of dollars virtually overnight mind you. The public couldn’t wrap their head around what she was saying. Most tried to think of it like a typical domestic violence situation for that reason. But a few brave law makers “got it” about what she was saying.
The problem was however that there were literally no laws on the books against what was done to her. It didn’t help that most of the porn industry, like you did in that article, were responding by saying “these things don’t happen”.
California’s Attorney General at the time, Edwin Meese, however took what she said seriously. This is one reason why the Meese Commission was put together to investigate the porn industry, and why everyone on the film was charged with “obscenity”. Lacking anything else to even attempt to charge people on the film with, it left them with that.
Of course the public again couldn’t even understand and because it wasn’t “obscenity” all the charges were thrown out of court. But Linda was trying to explain to the public about how many women were being forced into porn also at gunpoint, forced into prostitution, and like with her case, they weren’t being allowed to be alone even to urinate because of the way the traffickers operated. But what she was saying at the time was so “alien” of a concept to the public, the best that the public were getting out of it was “porn was bad”.
I watched as the public received what she was saying as virtually on the same level as if someone stepped up and said “I was abducted by aliens and we need to do something about it”. The public wasn’t going to “do anything about it” because in their minds “aliens” didn’t exist. In other words, she was getting a lot of people to agree with her porn was bad, but she wasn’t getting anywhere in convincing the public that sex trafficking was real, and we needed to do something about it to help the victims.
Why? Because I saw the plight of the victims. If they reached out for help to law enforcement THEY were the ones arrested and treated like the criminal. Even the police didn’t understand what they were seeing. I knew of one place where the women were all trafficked for example. The owner would bring in women who didn’t speak English and ran basically a brothel. One day the cops came in and did an undercover sting and then arrested all the WOMEN as “prostitutes”. I watched as these women tried to explain they were there against their will and the cops were like “oh yeah yeah you’re innocent – I get it “ and just ignored them completely. Again, it was about the same as if they’d said that “aliens were making me do this”.
I myself experienced various forms of being “trafficked” myself. The people who introduced me into the sex industry were so polished at their “game”, I didn’t even realize I had been simultaneously brainwashed as well as coerced at the same time into this whole lifestyle with them. It was kind of like that story of the frog in the hot water – where the water temperature is increased so slowly you don’t even realized you’re “cooked” until it’s too late. The only reason I ever made it out of that situation once I’d gotten sucked into it was because of how the cocaine the men in charge were doing broke up the family system. This allowed me an opportunity to “break free” if you call it that.
Because I soon found out that once I’d crossed that line, it’s not so easy to cross back. Like many victims, once I tried going back to a “normal” life, “normal” life wasn’t so easy to go back to. I had to leave with nothing but the clothes on my back and rent still has to be paid. So I remained in the industry as an “independent” for some time after that. Which is when it really became dangerous. I say that because once I was away from the “family’s” control, I was also away from the family’s “protection” as well. And the streets look at “outlaws” as “fair game”.
This was when I learned about what they called “gorilla pimps”. So I’m sorry Lara, but there are pimps and traffickers who will absolutely kidnap someone right off the streets in broad daylight. I say that because I stopped to make a phone call at a pay phone one night, and a van stopped and three men threw me into the back of a van.
The next thing I knew, I was being held in a crackhouse – which was a house with literally iron bars on all the windows and doors. There was no way out of that house unless someone let you out. And trust me – what happened to me for a few weeks in that house was the stuff of nightmares as I was forced to “service” gang members who liked pretty young white girls from the valley. I am only alive probably because they left me alone one day in the house and I was able to convince one of the neighbors, who didn’t speak English mind you, that maybe they should call the cops to come help the naked white girl stuck behind those doors crying and begging for them to “call 911” to let me out. The head of this house collected $10 from every guy who came to have his way with the “snow bunny” – so that is a form of sex trafficking.
This was not unique either. If you have seen my Donahue tape, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HeG_CO06O2o&t=1389s you’ll see we came on with a pimp who used to operate out on Sunset Boulevard. He had been a pimp since he was 13 years old and learned the “game” from other pimps who taught him how to kidnap a woman, rape her, brainwash her, and “turn her out” was the street term for this back then.
This technique is something a lot of street pimps use. They call it you “look you choose” and to them if you just make eye contact with them, that makes you fair game to be kidnapped, raped, and then turned out into street prostitution. Many of these types of victims never leave prostitution once they’ve been “broken in” – they just get passed from pimp to pimp until they’re worthless or dead.
Which is what the “Pimp N Ho” ball used to be about in fact. Again before the internet or cell phones, the street pimps would gather for their version of a trade convention and swap women like football players. This annual meeting was how they stayed connected and also how they could put out an alert when a woman went “rogue” and tried to escape.
To show you how organized they were – I had a woman call me from Los Angeles on a Monday for help. I told her how to disguise herself so when she came off the plane she wouldn’t be recognized. She of course didn’t believe they could have someone in Omaha within four hours looking for her, but I insisted she disguise herself anyway because I knew better. That year I had been setting up safe houses outside of Omaha – so that’s where I had them coming.
I was married to my second husband then who also could not believe the stories I was telling him, but I assured him to trust me. Sure enough, by the time we got to the Omaha airport to pick her up, he saw the two very obvious pimps roaming the airport holding a polaroid photo of the girl looking for her. He went into culture shock thinking that these pimps were that organized as to literally have pimps at all the major airports looking for an escaped woman like that. So she was lucky I’d advised her to dress like a boy, buy some crutches (to disguise her walk), and to have a bandage on her nose like she’d just had surgery. The disguise allowed us to whisk her out of the airport and right past the guys who were looking for her as a female.
We had to do this Lara because back then if you tried to explain to airport security that you were trying to get a woman past organized pimps in a national ring of traffickers – you would be the one they’d call out the psychiatric team to have locked up for a mental examination as “crazy” because there was a time when the American general public didn’t even believe this stuff was real, let alone did they have words for this, or laws.
And when one of us was famous enough to actually get onto a national forum and talk about these kinds of things, she was brushed off as a “hysterical jealous female” and basically it did nothing to change the situation. Because after Linda escaped Chuck, and the industry, Chuck grabbed ahold of Marilyn Chambers. Then the industry started countering back that Linda’s accusations were just that she was “jealous of Marilyn being more popular than her” and minimized.
What that did Lara was tell other victims not to even bother trying to explain what was going on with them because no one would believe them. When victims tried talking about what was going on – they were the ones shamed, ignored, called crazy, or arrested. There’s a reason why things really started coming to a head in the 1980’s and it was because of two men that were called the “Hillside Strangler”.
These cousins didn’t just run an auto body shop, they started out their murder career as pimps. They were also “gorilla pimps” and they would kidnap women right off the streets just walking home from school or going to the store. Then after raping and torturing them for a while, they’d then take them to a motel room. For about two weeks they’d send johns to the rooms and force them to act as prostitutes for these guys. They’d collect the money of course. But the real point was to spread the word on the streets that they were prostitutes.
Why? Because it worked. When the women would finally break free, they’d go to the police and tell them what had just happened to them. The police then ignored them. Poof! That’s it. They were told to get out of the station or threatened with arrest. Some of these women even went to the news and the news aired their stories. The police said they “didn’t want to get involved in disputes between pimps and prostitutes”.
It was not until they started murdering girls, and then escalated into taking women who really were not in any way someone who could be portrayed as a “prostitute” that the police started taking the complaints seriously. What changed things was that they learned that it was safer to call escort services and have the women delivered like pizza. The services all went to the police and the police did nothing. No missing persons report. Didn’t care. Literally a team of mothers even took to the streets protesting how LAPD was doing NOTHING while all these women were just disappeared and they did nothing – and they STILL did nothing! I mean look at the Grim Reaper case where 100’s of women were disappearing and the LAPD wouldn’t even investigate back then into these womens’ disappearances!
Lara, if you go onto Google you’ll find that every single high level madam in the country was arrested that year. Not 1983. Not spread out over a few years. But all within about the same time frame. Coincidence? Not to us madams it wasn’t. You’ll also find along with that research that Alex Adams was a known FBI “informant”.
You may have also heard about Iran Contra by now. That’s where it’s not finally come out to the public that it was our government who was organizing the importation of cocaine to the street gangs, who then processed and distributed the drugs in crack houses like burger places. Only anywhere you have drugs – you’re also going to have horny drug dealers wanting prostitutes. Pablo Escobar used to have them brought to him weekly when he was in jail in Mexico.
So we were used to the CIA and FBI asking us to bring prostitutes to some of their parties and business meetings. We were fine with making money that way. But not when they started asking us to help them find women who would be getting on a plane and not coming home again who had no family to ask questions about their disappearance. If you look up now at Chuck Barris’ confession he was once a CIA operative, then you’ll also understand that Chuck was also producer of the “Dating Game” back then. A show where women would win a prize of going to another country no one ever heard of. And many of those women didn’t come home again.
Well at that request all of us madams balked. Because we refused, we were all arrested, stripped of all our money and property, our faces spread all over the media so we couldn’t escape or get a job anywhere. Then we were asked that question again if we’d cooperate. If you look at my clipping at www.hightechmadam.com you’ll see the headline I was arrested for supposedly running a brothel.
Only why would I have a “brothel” in a warehouse with high tech security and surveillance equipment next to the police station? Well the reason is because it wasn’t a “brothel”, but what I later learned was the first safe house for sex trafficking victims in the USA. Once some very high level traffickers who were connected up to the LAPD, realized I was hiding out victims there for safety, and they couldn’t get in – I was framed. They set me up with a “fake victim” asking me for help to stash her somewhere safe, and when I did, I got arrested and charged with pimping. The whole thing was to get me to be compliant, as it was with the other madams as well.
If you cross-check you’ll also see all the other madams arrested that year made a movie that was like an inphomercial to try and recruit women to come to them completely glamourizing the industry. You won’t find my movie. Instead, you’ll see I waited until 1987 once I completely shook loose any possible statutes against me and I came out and announced our hotline.
My hotline was the first one in the country telling victims there was some place for them to call for help. Sure I also offered anyone who for any reason wanted to get out of any situation involving the sex industry could call us for help – because we didn’t make “distinctions” between someone wanting out for this reason or another wanting out for another. We couldn’t. We were the ONLY hotline at the time for EVERYONE who wanted out for ANY reason. Which is why we’ve probably clocked about five times more calls to our hotline than yours over the years.
My point being that your hotline is set up to where ONLY THE VICTIM can call you for help. Sure you get “tips”. But the problem is that by the very definition in my book anyway of what a true sex trafficking victim is – they CAN’T CALL YOU FOR HELP DIRECTLY. When I was locked up in that crackhouse behind those iron doors do you think I could have gotten to a phone and called someone for help?
Frankly, if I could get to a phone and call for help – the first person I’m calling is 911. Only I didn’t in my day because they would hang up on us when we’d try to call for help. Again, I know because I used to try and call 911 when I came across situations where I knew someone was being trafficked. 911 would tell me “call vice”. I would try and explain that this person was not hooking for “choice” and they’d just laugh.
Meaning the ONLY way we were going to get anything changed was to elevate the American consciousness that this was real. Which is why starting in 1987 I embarked upon going on every talk show, news show, etc., that I could get myself booked on to talk about the subject and try and raise consciousness. Only they didn’t have shows on “trafficking” back then – only “prostitution”. So I’d have to use my notoriety as an ex-madam to get onto the show, and then I’d have to try and steer the conversation over to the subject of what’s now called “trafficking” to try and get the public to understand what we were saying.
Geraldo believe it or not was actually very helpful. He could see I was having trouble getting the public to really grasp and understand what we were trying to get them to understand, so his producer (who was his wife) sat down with me after my first show with them. They suggested that people were just having such a hard time believing me that what I needed to do was bring on some survivors. That was no easy talk to ask someone to go on national TV believe me – but the producers assured us they would really work with us. Thanks to CC, (his producer), we did three more shows where we brought on survivor after survivor who was someone we’d rescued out of a different type of trafficking situation who would tell their stories. It was actually because of those Geraldo shows I started getting calls from some Attorney General’s interested in talking to me about what became the people who wrote and passed the Trafficking Act of 2000.
But you see Lara, many real, very real, trafficking victims CAN’T call your hotline for one reason or another. So you probably aren’t aware of how exactly they’re being trafficked for that reason. For example, did you know Jeane Palfrey, the DC Madam, was a trafficking victim? I don’t mean she had a pimp – I mean someone who was forced by a network of organized traffickers into doing what she was doing.
Remember those CIA men I was telling you about that asked us madams to do something we didn’t want to do one year? We had no “proof”. We had no way to record calls coming into our phones back then for one thing. Even if we did – who would have believed us back then? Iran Contra wasn’t even considered “validated” until Gary Webb broke the story years and years after the fact. It was only even hinted at before then and even then ignored.
If you watch “New Jack City” you see Ice T joking about how “cocaine didn’t come from America” because he knew. I mean what do you think the LA Riots were all about really? The riots were because a whole group of people KNEW that they were being blamed for those drugs by the media and the cops when in reality they were the scapegoat. With no internet and no free press, the riots were the only way they could even attempt to express that kind of frustration this community was feeling. Ice T, being an old pimp from the day, knew very good and well that those drugs weren’t smuggled into the country in that large of a quantity in someone’s suitcase.
This is one reason why Larry Flynt had offered $1,000,000 reward to anyone who could PROVE this sort of thing – because many people knew about these things but PROVING it was a whole other matter. Only Jeane could. You see the CIA had been coming to her every six months and debriefing her, also instructing her in what they wanted her to do for their own purposes, and using her to get what they wanted. Only they came to her one day with the same request they’d come to me and the others with in 1984 – and she also refused. She also decided she wanted to just quit the whole thing entirely and retire in Germany. So she went to go get on a plane and leave the country and retire – and she was busted at the airport. They took everything from her too hoping she wouldn’t be able to hire a good attorney.
But she decided she was going to reveal that it was the CIA who had been forcing her to be a madam and she had PROOF. She had phone logs – something none of us “old school” madams didn’t have. We all warned her to keep her mouth shut, but she was determined to get that million dollars prize money and to also reveal to the public that she too was being “forced” and that trafficking wasn’t just about street level prostitution. That the focus on street pimps was very one sighted and short sighted actually – that true trafficking went very high up. Just like bootlegging was back in the day with Al Capone also went to high places.
Now let me ask you something – do you think Jeane would have called your hotline? What would you have done for her? The case against her as a madam was being manufactured to try and force her into silence. They even told her repeatedly they’d basically drop the case if she’d “shut up” and “stop talking about the names in her book”. Her face was plastered all over the media. What would you have done for her? Put her in a shelter? Send a cop out to make a report? I mean seriously – what would you have done for her?
Not in her mind anyway. I tried to help her as best as I could. I tried to urge her to shut up and back down. She didn’t want to. I offered to help her change her looks, get a new identity and escape to Canada. She refused. Finally all I could do was offer her empathic emotional support – something your hotline can’t offer.
What about the type of victims we’ve been encountering since 2009? Because after Jeane’s death, trafficking went high tech. We started hearing reports of victims who are tracked with GPS everywhere they go. Every phone call they make gets reported back to the pimp instantly. I know because we had to start creating ways for victims to call us for help without alerting the pimp they were calling us for help. You have your phone number broadcast on billboards. I’m sure if it comes up on their phones it’s either blocked automatically, or it will alert the pimp they’re calling you.
Then guess what? Then they’ll lose the phone completely or worse. I know because I’ve also been on the other end of calling for help and the pimp finding out about it. They either take the phone from you entirely, or make sure you never try that move again. That or they escalate their surveillance of you or make sure you’re never left alone again.
We started getting victims who were literally under surveillance on cameras broadcast back to the pimp 24/7. So the pimp knows where they go in their car that has a GPS on it. They know who they’re talking to on skype because all the calls are sent back to them on their computer. Every key stroke they type is sent back to the pimp. So tell me – how would they contact you for help at your hotline in this circumstance? Knowing that their family who may be back in China would be murdered before you could even dispatch someone to them to help?
Again, I know about this because we’ve had to get creative about how to get help to that type of victim since 2009. These are women who don’t have a gun to their heads. They don’t need to have a gun to their heads. But they exist Lara and they can’t call you directly for help by calling your hotline themselves as you’re set up to take. So I don’t know if you know about these types of victims. But they’re real and they exist.
And for your information, there ARE traffickers who roam around and look for kids to kidnap right out of stores. I don’t know if they’re “traffickers” in the classic sense – but I know they’re real. I know because a gang of men were touring around LA when I was pregnant who would get into elevators with women, mace them when the doors closed, grab their babies, and then flee with the babies. It was so real that the news had to put out alerts to women to be careful getting into elevators back then. I know I also got into some elevators back then with some strange looking dudes – but I took the precaution of dying my baby to me with a rope so that if I were to be maced I’d still be able to hold onto her.
But that didn’t stop a woman from trying to grab her right out of her stroller in the mall. Cute blond babies are a premium Lara. One day I was in the mall and a woman literally reached down and tried to take my baby right out of her stroller. Again, being careful I would tie her into the stroller with rope so you couldn’t just unhook her like that. The woman struggled with the rope, gave up and rang off. So if I hadn’t of tired her into the stroller that day, she might have been stolen from me in a mall.
Do they traffick the kids they steal? Who knows. But I do know that yes sometimes kids are targeted in public places and their kids are taken. I can’t believe you’d say such a thing to that woman when kids are taken right out of stores and malls every day in this country. I mean do you read the news? But you in your whole five years of managing the hotline there suddenly you think you know about every type of sex trafficking there is?
You’re wrong and like many people at Polaris you think you’re the “expert” in a subject you know only a small fraction of.
But you clearly are in a position to have a much more focal platform about your opinions than we are because the people I work with aren’t acknowledged by anyone over there as even existing. So it would just be nice if you would use that platform to raise more awareness about what is really going on out here rather than so much of your personal viewpoints. If you did, we might be able to really save a lot more of those who really need the saving.
Personally I think anyone who can call you can call 911 and therefore you aren’t even scratching the surface to get at those who need the help the most. To me and my personal experience, the whole point is those who are truly trapped are those who can’t lift up a phone and call for help directly. I mean I don’t see the point of selling wheelchairs to people who can walk. But I guess you do but I would appreciate it if you in the process of that wouldn’t invalidate other people’s experiences. We’re having a hard enough time getting the word out about what real sex trafficking is anymore without having to add your brick on the load.
PS – I personally would like to add that I found your advice in the article to be completely out of touch with reality. You suggested people “get in touch with special interest groups” if they were interested in the subject of sex trafficking.
Only that advice seems completely out of touch with the fact that very real pimps and even organized sex traffickers are part of some of these groups. As well as some of these groups have been set up purely as informational gathering exercises for law enforcement, who then input the information they gather into a subscription based service. Some are set up to “destroy the competition” by the legalized brothel industry, while others are there to recruit.
Let’s not forget the YEARS that Joohon David Lee was simultaneously part of Homeland Security, ICE and the human trafficking task forces for California and Nevada ALL WHILE TRAFFICKING WOMEN PERSONALLY from China and then Korea before finally getting arrested for bribery. Not sex trafficking mind you because he did his sex trafficking on company time and the company dime so he enjoys immunity for his actions. A man who falsely accused a completely innocent family and destroyed their lives in the process.
Or how about we talk about the Celeste Guap case where the men heading up the local sex trafficking task force in her region were not only trafficking her, having forced sex with her while a juvenile, also while threatening her mother’s career as a 911 operator, and while telling her when to AVOID specific outreach campaigns of theirs. Campaigns they were clearly designing NOT TO WORK because they didn’t want their actions to be uncovered.
We can talk about Chris Baughman who was sleeping with the district attorney, AND the witnesses who were testifying against the men he was taking all the press in for supposedly “fighting sex trafficking’, all while hanging out socially with Molly Mall – one of the most notorious pimps in the country. Meaning the men he was arresting was Molly’s COMPETITION.
Or are you suggesting they frequent events like Samoly Mam used to hold where she was supposedly “educating” the public on sex trafficking while fleecing the public’s pockets? Or William Hillar who was not only giving the public false information, but was also fleecing the public’s pockets? For which he did go to jail because it’s against the law to pretend to be a veteran while raising money.
Because I have to tell you Lara, what each one of these phony and frauds have in common is that we have been actively BLOCKED from doing our REAL outreach to REAL victims. In fact, we made a list of every project, group, task force, safe house, program, etc., that’s openly blocked our group from being involved over the years – and so far we’re going 100/100 that each on of them has turned out to either be a complete fraud, or they were actively engaging in sex trafficking.
Or maybe you don’t remember anything about the “largest sex trafficking hoax” that went down in Tennessee. http://reason.com/blog/2016/03/04/the-somali-sex-slave-ring-that-wasnt Only I do remember because on each one of these “phony” cases, we were aggressively shunned, blocked, banned, ostracized, excluded, and outright attacked when we tried to shine light on these situations AND redirect resources and attention to REAL CASES we were dealing with at the same time.
To advise real sex trafficking victims to go out and make contact with groups that might send information on them right back to their traffickers as to their current location is also completely reckless. Because in many of the cases we’ve worked on, many of the victims don’t know even the tip of the iceberg about just how far the operation as a whole reaches. It’s one of the reasons why we had to go to the lengths of relocating some of the victims we worked with clear to tiny rural communities in the Midwest. Because unlike what you’re doing, we make maps of where specific rings are operating, and then relocate the victims we help rescue to areas where they don’t have any reach, informants, or ways to find out where they’ve gone. But then again maybe that’s why to date we’re the only group I’m aware of anyway who has relocated victims away from the legalized brothels who haven’t been found to date.
Something I don’t think Polaris has done. You know why? Because you ask the victims to “call you directly for help”. Only the SECOND they were to call you from the brothels, or their cell phones for that matter, the owners would know about that call immediately. That’s why I doubt you’ve ever received a call from one of them inside the legal brothels asking for help – yet we have through outreach projects we’ve set up so that if they need help they can SAFELY ask for that help without fear of retaliation or discovery.
Victims who according to your way of thinking don’t exist because they “don’t call you” Lara. But just because they can’t call you doesn’t mean they don’t exist. I can assure you that after having spoken to probably well over 1,000,000 men and women in the sex industry over about 40 years now of my life – I can assure you there are many many many different forms and versions of sex trafficking, as well as pimping.
As technology grows, so too does the various ways of sex trafficking also. So there’s even new forms being invented as we speak. I know because over the years we’ve heard of new types of cases coming in, and we’ve had to develop new ways of addressing help to those new victims. But you’re not going to be able to help any victims if you invalidate their experiences by claiming that “that doesn’t exist” as you did in your article.
Is this letter long? Yes it is. But it’s because I’m taking the voices of many of our members who contacted me about your letter and I’m trying to pass onto you’re their sentiments. Unlike you, I don’t believe my experience is the “end all be all” of knowledge and/or experience within this realm. Yes I’ve personally experienced, and witnessed, many different types of coercion, sex trafficking, pimping, slavery, etc. But I’ve also heard stories from our members of experiences I haven’t personally experienced. That doesn’t mean I tell them their experience “isn’t real”.
Nor would I recklessly encourage them to reach out to some of these groups after what I’ve seen they really are. Telling me I think you’re in a bit of an ivory tower Lara.
Anyway, just letting you know how some of us feel about your article.