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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Copy of Letter I just Mailed Senator Nancy Collins in Mississippi

Dear Ms. Collins:
 
 
 
Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Jody Williams. You can read about my work with trafficking victims in John Quinones book "Heroes Among Us" that you can google actually and read online. I also have decades of news clippings at
http://www.hightechmadam.blogspot.com/2010/08/news-clippingsbiography.html showing that I've not only been working in the field of helping sex trafficking victims for almost 40 years now - but I'm also a survivor myself.
 
 
Unlike the "typical" (if there is such a thing) victim of trafficking - my case was a little different. The family of pimps who "turned me out" came not only from a literal family of pimps that had been doing this generation after generation (spoken about openly by Richard Pryor as this was his family), but they trained me in how to do what they do - in other words how to find, and exploit other young men and women into the sex industry.
 
 
So I understand the mind of a victim - as well as that of a pimp. I wanted to talk about this national push towards heavier legislation of stiffer penalties against the pimps in the sincere desire and belief that it's going to do something to deter this problem.

It's not.

 
Pimps know about existing laws that can already put them in prison for long terms. They know about laws like kidnapping, transporting prostitutes across state lines, even child pornography when their victims are below the age of consent. Since the average prostitute is "turned out" between the ages of 12-13 - they already know they're dealing with children - which means much stiffer sentencing if they go to court.

It's because they know they are facing serious prison time that they "brainwash" their victims to not only make sure they won't testify against them - but also to make sure they don't make a "reputable" witness on the stand. They use nicknames so that the victims don't even know the pimp's real legal birth names. Everything about what a pimp does is to make sure they aren't prosecuted.

Even down to showing that many of them have connections with law enforcement, politicians, the correctional system, and even judges in their "pockets". Look at how Eliot Spitzer was using prostitutes when he was the District Attorney for New York for example. A man like him is not going to let a prostitute hit the stand against a pimp - when it's his behind that's also going to be "outted" in the process. He is not a unique case.

They use violence also to show these victims that they'll never make it to the stand alive if they were to turn against them and testify.
 

Not that these threats are just idle either. I myself had to deal with not only pimps trying to kill me when I left the "family" and they were concerned about me turning state's evidence that was so bad I had to literally change my appearance dramatically and literally go live "underground" for a while to throw them off my scent - but I had cops trying to kill me too out of their fear I'd testify against them for their activities in my brothel and also their connections with these mobsters. If you check my clipping - you'll see that I had videotapes being made of my clients - which included when they were police officers. Modern prostitutes these days also have things like cell phone records, and cameras in their phones - and it's very easy to leave "traces" of seeing a prostitute these days that is of grave concern to men who have "something to lose".
 

You have to realize that I was a madam in Los Angeles in the 80's - which meant that I was in the whole middle of the Iran-Contra fiasco. I saw the trucks coming off the boats with boxes of cocaine and AK-47's being flooded into South Central Los Angeles. I knew the politicians who were behind this - disgusing this whole thing as a "gang" affair. You have to know I had politicians and police officers that did not want to see me hit a witness stand back then. 

When I managed to escape this with my life - I knew that many more were having the same situation. You can't turn to the "traditional" sources in many cases for help because the really big traffickers have their connections everywhere.

The stories go on - I get calls from local teen runaway shelters about how when the prostitutes have run there for shelter that pimps show up with machine guns demanding their 'property" back. The shelters don't report this out of fear they'll lose their funding and donors if word gets out that they can't protect these kids. So no one really hears about what's really going on out there as to how the "system" can't really protect these prostitutes.

If you want to get more pimps behind bars - then you have to do something about the corruption within the system and to make an environment that is safer for the prostitute to come forward to testify.

Or you can have prosecutors create cases that don't rely on the word of a prostitute as witness against them. I know this is possible because of a trafficking case in Hawaii where the DA flew me out there as an "expert witness" against a trafficker when he couldn't get the women to agree to testify against the trafficker. After hearing what I was going to say to the jury - the pimp plea bargained. The DA told me he never would have got the guy behind bars without using me to help - so I know there's other ways to do this besides relying on the testimony of a prostitute.

Here's my very valid concern about what's going to happen if they make stiffer penalties against these pimps - that more people are going to die than do already. It is already out of fear of prosecution that these pimps will kill potential witnesses. Another modern twist is that these pimps will actually profit from the murder by selling their organs on the black market. I know this because that's what's happening in Nevada right now. There's a pimp named Peter Todd who has made two of his prostitutes and a local madam all "disappear". He walks free because there's no trace of his victims - and one of my informants has shown me how the black organ market works here in Nevada to have helped him make the bodies disappear. This is not limited to Nevada either - believe me. The network that I was shown has connections on the west coast and across the USA.
 

And that's with the existing laws in place. If you push these pimps into a deeper corner with threats of even more hard time - you will not wind up with more of them in prison. You will wind up with more cases of missing prostitutes is what you'll wind up with. Especially when the streets are reporting they can get about $25,000 in one shot for the organs. 

The law is not considering these victims' side of the story because very few of them will talk openly and publically. Very few of them even understand what they are going through even - it took me a long time and a lot of work within the program I run with other prostitutes - to even understand my own story myself. So I do feel I have a unique and wholistic perspective of this problem - one that I need to share with you.

If you want more pimps behind bars and to reduce this problem - you need to create an environment that makes it safer for more victims to come forward to testify. Not one where victims are placed behind bars when charged with no crime until they agree to testify either. The system is treating the victims all wrong - and the corruption has placed them in an impossible situation where the only way to try to survive is to either look stupid, or refuse to cooperate.

Now I'm also going to say something that isn't going to be "popular - but the system is also not treating these pimps like they need any help either. Many of the pimps I have known have been literally raised from children to be doing this. They are often the victims of child abuse themselves. Many of them have learning disabilities, and have been through horrible abuse of their own - to have left them with no way of supporting themselves other than through the exploitation of young men and women.

Locking them up does not deter them. I know of what I speak because Sex Workers Anonymous allows in men and women who have a desire to recover. Which means we have had pimps come to us for help. Help we have given and been a part of more than one pimp turning his life around. Honestly - I've seen very few pimps accomplish this without outside help of some kind either. Pimps generally do it until they die - and they do not stop just because they get locked up.
 

Many pimps will continue to pimp from prison. I've seen the men and women visit them and put money on their books. I've seen them hit the ground running the day they're released to go back to pimping again - because it's all they know.

Currently there is no program in the United States that will offer them any help to quit other than Sex Workers Anonymous either. You will not find one trafficking program that helps the traffickers to quit. While the victims have witnessed violence - it's these pimps who are doing the violence. They need just as much psychological help and help adjusting to life outside of the sex industry - as does the prostitute - if not more. Because while everyone is finally acknowledging that the prostitute is a victim - no one seems ready yet to acknowledge that a pimp can be a victim too.

If you consider this - if you help one prostitute - you help one prostitute. But if you help a pimp - you're helping more than one prostitute that he would be pimping otherwise - for the rest of that man's life.

Pimps in prison just pass the "game" onto the younger men and others who are getting out. They even pimp prisoners while in custody - I've seen them do it for money on the books, food on commissary day, little trinkets, clothing, extra blankets, etc.

Again as I said - the pimps I was turned out with have been doing this for generations. I've seen them released after decades in prison - to be greeted by their prostitutes at the gate and taken right back into the game. All that's going to be accomplished by going after stiffer sentencing for these traffickers - is that you are going to get some headlines for law enforcement.

All on the back of the prostitutes - because then you're going to be placing more of them in a position where pressure is going to be exerted upon them to testify against these more numerous arrests. Which to me means more prostitutes being threatened with their lives and killed in the interest of politicans and police officers wanting to get headlines - and not because they want to do something to help the victims.

If you want to help the victims - you need to do something about the corruption within the system. You need to create a safer environment for the prostitute to testify in - or create laws which allow for other methods of building a case against a trafficker other than resting on the backs of their victims. You also need to create "proper" aftercare programs for the female AND male victims of the sex industry. This also means including the male homosexual victims of this trafficking crisis - something I'm also seeing ignore.
 

Frankly, some of the most horrible cases I've ever heard about in the some 250,000 men and women I've talked to over these years I've been doing this world wide have been the male victims who are turned out often as young as 10 years old into the world of gay prostitution and pornography. Yet I can't find one trafficking victim program right now in the United States that takes male victims except Sex Workers Anonymous - and Children of the Night. That is not enough to address this problem.

I am producing a radio show to raise awareness. If you would like to hear Friday's show where I interviewed Lois Lee from Children of the Night catch it http://www.blogtalkradio.com/radiorecovery

If I can be of any assistance, or if you come across any victims that can use our help - please put them in touch with us.

Thank you.

Jody Williams
http://www.traffickingandprostitutionservices.org/
http://www.sexworkersanonymous.net/
(702) 498-6211 Telephoned in the media and in lawmaking today.
 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Children of the Night Radio Interview

TAPS is launching it's radio show on Tuesday, November 13, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/radiorecovery/2012/11/13/children-of-the-night--dr-lois-lee-interview  by interviewing Dr. Lois Lee - founder of Children of the Night.  They are a comprehensive program for youth who are affected by sex trafficking, prostitution and who are teen runaways.   You can find Children of the Night at www.childrenofthenight.org 

If you miss hearing it "live" you can always listen to it as a podcast later. 

Please subscribe to our mailing list to hear about what each week's show is going to be at www.http://stoptraffictalk.webs.com/  You can also get updates at www.twitter.com/sexworkrecovery and www.facebook.com/usahumantrafficking 

If you don't know what time this is where you are - you can find out by going to http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/converter.html 

If you know of someone who needs help with sex trafficking - please contact us at www.traffickingandprostitutionservices.org