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Sunday, July 26, 2015

BILL 1576 - Nevada

Jody Williams, Director
Sex Workers Anonymous –
Trafficking and Prostitution Services –
American Trafficking Institute –
(702) 498-6211 Direct International Phone
(888) 253-9619 Toll Free and (310) 734-1710 Fax
Email –

Ben Hueso (District 40)
Mark Wyland (District 38)
Mark Leno (District 11)
Holly Mitchell (District 26) 
Alex Padilla (District 20)

Re: Bill 1576

Dear Members of the California Legislature:

My name is Jody Williams. I'm the founder of the above three groups. I actually founded my first group, Prostitutes Anonymous in 1987. This is a 12 step group for men and women who need help to transition out of the sex industry and need help finding recovery after having been in this industry whether it was as a prostitute, porn star, stripper, phone sex worker, madam, pimp, or even a strip club owner (as one of our members was).

This group is worldwide, it includes members who are from both legal and illegal parts of the industry, trafficking victims and non-trafficking victims, and it's for people over the age of 18 years old. Our hotline was the first ever in existence – and we've answered over 500,000 calls before we stopped counting. That's five times more calls than Polaris has answered to date. I truly doubt for this reason that there's anyone out there besides Lois Lee from Children of the Night – that's spoken to more people in the sex industry than myself.

This group was the first to ever be a part of alternative sentencing for prostitutes, a diversion program for prostitutes, that became a part of the first residential program to help prostitutes get rehabilitated from the sex industry, and that was the resource that many of the HIV clinics would use to refer someone to when they were giving them the news that they were now not only HIV positive – but also now out of a job. Because of the internet's adult filters – we changed our name to Sex Workers Anonymous in 1995.

Because the number of trafficking victims in the sex industry has virtually exploded over the years because of the internet – we formed Trafficking and Prostitution Services in 2008 so that we could perform duties that we were having to do informally because they violated our “traditions” or ground rules that 12 step groups operate by. I was finding myself having to testify more and more in front of congressional and legislature hearings – which also violates our tradition of “not having an outside opinion” on issues which clearly many of us coming out of this industry do have. It's no different than when Bill Wilson, the founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, decided there needed to be a National Council on Alcoholism to help further research into proving that alcoholism was a disease and not a “moral deficiency” like previously thought about them.

Because of the way I've been seeing research into our industry, and it's related issues such as HIV and STD infections, as well as about trafficking – totally slanted according to who is funding the research, or who is using this research for their own political, financial or religious issues – I've also founded the American Trafficking Institute. Ever since the FCC has dropped it's requirement that anything published on-air, or in print, have an opposing opinion placed alongside any opinions about any issue – I've seen nothing but pure outright propaganda hit the public's ears since 1995 when that requirement was dropped from the media.

Since most major media is owned by the Hearst Corporation, whose last CEO turned out to be a purchaser of commercial sex (Steve Sassa was fired when it was discovered he was sexting a high-class escort) – and I have yet to see anything anywhere near the complete truth come out of the media since 1995 – we decided we're going to start examining research, education, and even groups that work in this area among ourselves and to print “out” opinions about these “research findings”. Another problem is the fact that the news and media have become something straight out of Orwell's “1984” in that I can literally find a news clipping about someone online one day – and then it's completely gone the next. This is why the ATI was formed.

I want to first of all state I am no longer working in any area of the sex industry. I have also been clean from all drugs since 1985. That includes alcohol, which is a drug, and any prescription medications such as anti-depressants. I state this because I want it to be known I have no vested interest in the sex industry – and that my mind is completely sober.

I also have no paid position within any industry, nor with the AHF, UCLA, or any other industry for that matter. I receive no grants and have no donors to answer to. I'm not out here trying to use this as a platform to raise donations for myself or any cause either. I am not a 501c3 nonprofit, nor am I working at any job anywhere for that matter because I'm recovering from a stroke and taking care of my daughter who has a brain tumor. So I'm not answering to anyone's tune with respect to money on this issue either. If anything, I'm writing this letter on my own time and my own dime – so this is my own personal opinion on this bill 1576.

There are issues and points about AB 1576 that are not being brought to your attention that I would like you to please consider. They are:

  1. The claim that “no case of HIV has been found connected to a porn set in 10 years:
    When HIV was being found in connection with porn shoots directly was when Dr. Sharon Mitchell used to be the central site where everyone in the porn industry used to go for testing right before a porn shoot. Everyone went to her for many years because she herself used to be in the porn industry. However, her clinic was shut down in 2004 – in other words 10 years ago.    
    Since her clinic shut down – there has been no centralized testing facility that the majority of the porn industry, or that the sex industry as whole, has been frequenting for their health needs. The reason for this is simple – after the AIM Clinic was shut down, someone targeted their computer system and hacked into it. They then posted all the information on each person in their database online. That information included their “real” names, as well as their “porn” names. Their home addresses, their family information such as if they had children, their contact information, and information on their health issues.
    People in the porn industry are often targeted by religious fanatics no differently than people who work in the abortion industry find themselves in the same boat. Just as abortion doctors can find themselves targeted by these fanatics – the attacks go beyond “sticks and stones”. But they find themselves the victims of stalking, and even outright murder. Abortion doctors and porn stars are targeted by these religious fanatics – and not only are they threatened – but their very lives can be in danger if delicate information such as their real names, home addresses, and their health status were to not be carefully controlled and kept private.
    Afer the AIM Clinic was shut down, because of these religious fanatics – many people in the porn industry at that time left the Los Angeles area. In other words, many of the “old timers” left the southern California area in order to protect their safety. The reason was after these records were released they did start receiving threats to their lives, they found themselves and their family members being stalked, and many of them found that the major porn companies didn't want to hire them to work on shoots out of fear their companies would be also caught in the cross-fire of these stalkers.
    What happened then was a whole fresh new batch of people started entering the organized porn  industry in the Los Angeles area. The HIV virus can take sometimes as long as 15 years before it reaches the point of incubation where it can be discovered through testing. It's highly unlikely that anyone in the porn industry has been doing this in the Los Angeles area longer than 10 years. The average porn actor/actress tends to only make movies for about a year.
    To make a claim that “in the last 10 years no one has been discovered catching HIV on a set” is a very misleading statement. First of all, someone coming into the industry is probably tested for HIV true. However, if they were to catch the virus on a set – this fact might not show up for over a decade – let alone during the average lifespan of a porn star's career.
    There's another problem with this statement. When the AIM Clinic used to catch an HIV outbreak that was connected with the porn industry – this was done more than 10 years ago as the clinic was shut down in 2004. Since then, everyone in this industry is not getting tested at one centralized location. So there is no “standardized” testing or one central database to pull records from. Different clinics may use different testing methods. We also don't know how many people are being tested under “fake” names so that their careers are not impacted and thus we would never know if they were or were not infected – let alone “how” they got infected. There's even home HIV kits right now where one can find out if they are or are not infected. At that point if one were to discover they were in fact infected – they might just retire from the industry without telling anyone the reason.
    The porn industry itself has changed dramatically over the years. Back in the 1970's when Linda Lovelace made “Deep Throat” - porn stars were usually kept within the porn industry. They did not usually go out and work as a prostitute either on the streets, in the brothels, or in the escort services. Neither did they tend to go out and work as strippers either. Strippers used to mostly just strip. Prostitutes used to just prostitute. Porn actors and actresses used to limit themselves to the porn industry.
    However, the industry has become quite multi-media as well as multi-tasking. The average sex worker today does make adult films, they travel to the legal brothels of Nevada and even Canada, and/or Australia, the UK, and even Rhode Island. They set up websites where they now find “clients” or “fans” or “hobbyists” who either fly in to meet with them – they hit the “circuit” where they are traveling from one city to the next usually weekly. What this means is that not only are they having sex with many more than the porn workers of years gone by – but they are doing it over a wider geographical area. They may make a movie in Los Angeles one month – and then spend the next year “traveling the circuit” all over the world.
    So to say that “no one has come down with a case of HIV they caught on a porn set in the last 10 years” would actually be impossible to detect – even if in fact every single porn actor/actress was in fact catching HIV at every single shoot. The reason is because of what I'm talking about above – the virus may take years to incubate to the point where it can be detected, the person can be traveling to another city the very next day after a shoot, they could be getting their test done in Los Angeles or Canada for all we know – it just would be literally impossible to detect something like this unless every person who ever made a porn were to not have sex with anyone for the incubation period, remain in Los Angeles during that time, and everyone were to agree to use the same testing site, and to publish the results so that we all would know if in fact infection did or did not in fact happen in connection with a porn shoot.

In other words, there's literally just no way to catch a moving target like this.

  1. Privacy Issues - Porn actor/actress results of STD and HIV testing require special handling for the above story I'm referencing over any other type of “job” such as bus drivers, or airplane pilots who are routinely drug tested for their line of work. Bus drivers and airplane pilots are not having their records sought out by hackers who are religious fanatics who then might start following their children to school or leaving bombs in their cars as “God's retribution” upon them. This bill has no special controls built in to the results to protect possibly the very lives of these performers if those results were to be hacked into again as has already happened. If the results were leaked, and if a porn performer were to be murdered as a direct result of this information being leaked out – then the state would actually become legally liable for that murder much as how DMV was responsible for the location and subsequent murder of an actress. They recognized this and changed the laws now to where a person can request to use a commercial mailing address rather than their home address because they recognized that actors are often stalked, and even murdered. However, no such recognition that porn performers who have already shown by history that they are not only attacked, murdered, raped, etc., but that their health records specifically will be attacked has been attached to this bill.
  2. Liability Issues - There's another issue of liability on the state if these tests are forced and then a “false negative” were to be found. If the performer were to receive a “negative” result that was in fact false, then to perform and infect another person, then discover they had in fact been positive but that the test failed – then who is liable for that infection transmission? To require these tests puts the state into a position of liability that they probably aren't prepared to take.
  3. What about “mainstream” movies where love and/or sex scenes are performed? Rock Hudson was one of the first people who we became aware of that had HIV. Rock was in many love scenes where he kissed actresses like Doris Day. While the infection risk through kissing is low – it's not impossible. Today's movies have some sex scenes in them where more bodily fluids are mixed than on some porn sets. This bill is just opening itself up for a discrimination lawsuit in that if they're made to conform to these requirements – but mainstream movies are not – then are we saying the welfare of “mainstream” performers is less important to us than porn stars?
  4. End results have to be considered – I was here in the 1980's when there was the push upon the porn industry to use condoms on the set. They tried making it part of the movies through using only “safe sex” scenes. What resulted was an epidemic of “amateur” porn for one thing. For another, it divided the adult industry even wider with respect to “soft” and “hard core” porn. Just like how prohibition drove up the cost of alcohol – so too did this drive up the price for porn that did not feature “safe sex”. This was when “gonzo” movies started coming out showing actresses being shot in the face with semen, and gang bang scenes where women became literally opaque with bodily fluids. Some even resorted to making beastiality films where no condoms were required at all. Back in the 1980's that was one thing. The media was bombarding people with messages about HIV and condoms back then. But you take the average 18-22 year old today, which is the average age of someone making porn, and you'll find that at least half of them have no idea about HIV, condoms, safe sex, etc. We don't have anywhere near the free testing sites we used to have either. Nor the amount of free condoms being given away like we used to find either. You push on the industry any further about this issue – then we're looking at not only a repeat of that – but we're also looking at creating a possible HIV pandemic now as a result.
  5. You also have to look at the knock to the economy this could create – supposedly 80 percent of the world's porn is produced right here in southern Los Angeles. One of the largest porn company's, Kink – has already threatened to go to Las Vegas if this bill gets passed. The porn industry employs a lot more people than just the performers and the owners. There are the cameramen, the editors, sound people, set production, make-up artists, hair stylists, printers, distributors, even the impact on the local strip clubs and website designers who could be losing business if the feature performers in this industry were to relocate for work purposes. What about the loss of sales tax alone if the point of sale of these videos goes outside of California? Has anyone done an economic impact study on this bill yet?

This bill is full of the potential for great economic damage to the state of California in many ways. It opens up the state itself not only for a loss of income through sales and income tax, but it also opens itself up for liability and discrimination lawsuits as well.

The intended desired result that is the intent of this bill will not be met if this bill is passed. There is no benefit to the welfare of the residents of California if this bill is passed.

It needs to be defeated.

If you'd like to speak to me about any of the above, or if I can speak to you about any other issues related to the sex industry – please keep me in mind. I do have some potential bills I'd like to discuss with you that I do think would benefit California – and that would literally save countless lives.


Jody Williams

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