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Saturday, August 15, 2015

WHY I GET SO UPSET AT THESE FRAUDS LIKE SAMOLY MAM

When Samoly Mam was going through her rise to fame as a "survivor" instead of people learning about what the issue is really about, about how sex trafficking really works (not some sob story designed to get your check book out), nor learning about who we really are - people started comparing people like me, a real survivor, running a real group that worked for us, to her and her fake fund raising & fame machine.

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That Newsweek cover COULD have been either myself, or another REAL survivor or someone who runs a REAL GROUP.  Which would have happened if not for her.  So that cover went to her instead of us - that's my problem.

Why wouldn't Newsweek go for her story over a story like mine?  She's attractive number one.  However, by the time we get to a victim - they're screwed up, damaged, sick, disabled, messed up.  Do you have any idea what the stress of living with that kind of stress and danger 24/7 does to you?  Just to cope - you have to build all kinds of defenses.  I was having fainting spells at the end of my time in the sex industry.  I was going to psychiatrists who were giving me anti-anxiety medication.  They were telling me that I wouldn't be fainting if I could just stop what was causing the stress - that wasn't happened.  So then they said that if I "talked about it" that I could reduce the stress.  Only when I "talked about it" either I'd have the psychiatrist jacking off under the desk while I was talking because it sexually excited him, or I'd have him offer to take out our sessions "in trade", or I'd get some woman asking me questions because she was thinking about becoming a hooker, or I'd get the guy who wanted to "help me manage my money" or the ever classic one who would think I was "hallucinating because these things aren't real" and wanting to lock me up for observation.

Brenda Myers-Powell has a scar on her head from where her pimp took the leg of a chair and hit her over the head with it.  My adrenal system was blown out the doctors told me - which has thrown off my whole hormonal system.  Meaning I have a thyroid problem - which by the way mimics almost identically bipolar disorder.  Which they didn't discover until I had blown up to 460 pounds - that's when the doctors finally discovered it was my thyroid.  Now I'm on the right medications I'm losing about 10 pounds a month and I'm much smaller but still not skinny like Samoly Mam.

I gave so many blowjobs the doctors say I have calcification of my neck and back.  I'm in constant pain.  Because of the pain - I often can't sleep.  Which by the way is extremely typical of ex-hookers.  You want to "scare straight" an active hooker?  Take her to a Sex Workers Anonymous meeting.  Everyone in that meeting practically is over weight, on SSI disability, living in a section 8 apartment, and on state health insurance.  We're missing teeth because insurance doesn't pay dental and if we're lucky we're on paratransit.

But rather than an article about the "real" us - they will publish a whole cover story on the fraud?  That's more news worthy than writing about the founder of the movement - and maybe even a quote from me about how I feel about all this?

The reason why Samoly Mam was doing all those fund raisers?  Because she could.  Me?  I can't hardly walk through an airport.  I can't go through an airport to have a fund raiser thrown for me by Diane Von Furstenberg because I can't leave my daughter who I'm caring for who has a brain tumor.  We're in Los Angeles right now getting her into see the best neurologists in the world here.  Which I can do now I've recovered from a stroke I had in 2000 that laid me up in bed and in and out of ICU for two years.  So no I can't go running all over the world being a part of these fund raisers, and dinners, and events, and being photographed for the cover of Newsweek.

So honestly for a while when she first came out I thought to myself "you know what?  She can do what you can't - so let her spread the word.  Maybe this is a good thing."  So I stepped back at first thinking that maybe this was a good thing she was doing for us.

Until the comparisons started coming in to attack us.  I started hearing "well Samoly Mam has her face out there on Newsweek so why isn't your face on your website?"  I started having people TELL ME TO MY FACE that the reason why they weren't booking us for lectures, or trainings, or events to speak at that were local that I could do was because I did not have a photo of my face up online.  Yeah I really want the pimps to see me coming when I'm pretending to be a cleaning lady so I can get the keys to the back door to let women out of where they're being held captive.

They'd even compare me to Lois Lee who does run a fantastic program for teens.  However, Lois is not a survivor.  She's the founder that runs the place.  Also, she has a job running that program.  When she goes home to her neighborhood the neighbors tell her what a fantastic job she's doing "helping those kids".  People have a WHOLE different attitude when it comes to helping adults trust me.  Also, she has a job running the program.  I don't.  I don't have a grant or a foundation.

We are a 12 step group.  Our goal isn't to stop drinking or stop doing drugs.  Our goal is to be supporting ourselves without sex work.  Meaning A JOB.  Which means that all the work we do in Sex Workers Anonymous is what - "non-professional".  Now the drug and alcohol field can hire "special workers" because there's grant money for one thing that comes through the National Council on Alcoholism.  They also make MILLIONS OF DOLLARS selling their "Big Book" not just to the alcoholic - but to bookstores, libraries, treatment centers, addictions counselor schools, etc.  There's a whole industry that they sell Big Books to - that who am I going to sell our books to?

Tell me - who am I going to sell our books to?  Our members when they come into the door are always broke.  So I have to give away out book about nine out of 10 times to the member walking into the door as a newcomer.  Then when the members get working - they are busy paying their rent and back bills and they are always telling me they don't have money to donate either.  Once in a blue moon a member will have a wind fall and donate.  But most of the time they can barely make ends meet because working a "legit" job is something very foreign to us.

Sell the books to the jails?  They claim they "don't have a budget for it" which is true.  Buying a SWA book is not in their budget.  Meaning I have to create it like the National Council on Alcoholism did for the Big Book.  How many treatment centers are there for sex workers?  Most of them that do exist think this is either a substance abuse problem or sexual addiction.  They don't want to hear that it's not either - let alone buy our book about how it's not either.  Counselors?  The only things they want to learn are what they're required to learn for their license.  Hand them a book they've never seen to educate them about this and ask them to pay for it - and it's not happening.

Police?  They don't care about us why would they read our Recovery Guide let alone buy it for the prostitutes.  Oh sure they'll give them away if I give them to them - but they wouldn't buy one if their life depended upon it.  Do you have any idea how many people call me up and tell me "I want to start a program to help hookers can you send me a Recovery Guide?"  Okay sure that will be $24.95 and they hang up the phone.  Go and get an AA book they've downloaded for free off the internet and they call that a program.  I'm not kidding you.  I've probably had 1,000's of people tell me "we want to start a program" but when I ask them to buy one book to know how to start an effective one - it's not worth $24.95 to them.  They go and get something for free - and then they push that onto the prostitute and then a year or two later scratch their head wondering why it didn't work!

The drug and alcohol treatment centers think that's our program.  There's an old saying that "all problems look like a nail to a man who only has a hammer for a tool".  Social Services thinks our only problem is we need a degree or a job.  These people do not want to hear that for our kind - you can get us away from the pimp, get us sober, get us working a job - and WE WILL GO BACK.  They don't want to hear it's not something they can solve knowing what they already know.

The MINUTE I say it's "not what you think" and that they have to learn something about us before they can "help" us - they're out of there.  So who exactly is going to buy our Recovery Guide?  So I give it to the members free on ebook and have yet to sell one copy to someone who works in the field of supposedly helping us.  Polaris, Shared Hope, Veronica's Voice, etc. have never bought one copy of our Recovery Guide, training manual, or step working guides.  Not one.  Because in their minds they know it all already without any input from me despite successfully working in this field for three decades now.

Samoly Mam didn't have to think about her neighbors rejecting her because of her past, nor the ladies at church rejecting her, nor about a boss who might not hire her because of her past.  Do you have any idea how many good jobs I LOST when I went on TV in the 1980's and 1990's?  I remember one job where I didn't have to show up until noon, I made $20 an hour (in 1988 was great money), I have a 401k, health insurance, and a lunch room with unlimited snacks and coffee.   It was a beautiful law firm in Tarzana with covered parking.  But when I went on TV to let people know about our hotline - I got called into their office and told "we're an old respected law firm and we just can't associate ourselves with this" and I got fired.  They gave me a nice severance bonus because they didn't want to be sued for wrongful termination - but the job was over.  So no - now unless I have something worth losing what I have now no I'm not going to go onto TV and wreck my life.

People started attacking me going "you're not positive like Samoly Mam".  Sure she was positive BECAUSE SHE HAD HER HAND IN YOUR POCKET.  She was a con artist.  Con artists are charming, and caring, and they make you feel special and they talk to you for hours and after they get you to like them and trust them THEY GET A CHECK FROM YOU.  Only guess what?  That's not a job.  Our program is about having a job.  If I wanted to go out conning people for money - then in my world that's a relapse.  To smile at someone I can't stand, and pretend to laugh at their stories, all because I'm going to get paid IS A RELAPSE for me.

My sobriety, my program, is that saying what I think, doing what I want, and getting my money from work not from people LIKING ME.  Which is what Samoly did.  So guess what?  I'm NOT going to act like her.  I'm not going to spend an hour kissing your ass, telling you how wonderful you are, listening to you talk about yourself because frankly I don't want anything from you.  I do my job and I also do my work in SWA.  If I like you - I tell you.  If I don't - then I don't.

But what amazed me was all these people telling me that because I'm not acting like her - they aren't going to give us covers on Newsweek, or fund raisers, or fat checks - why?  Because you have to smooze for those things for one.  For another - you have to spend your time going after it and doing it.  I just don't have that kind of time because I'm doing the work.

Which was really highlighted by a case that came in a couple of days ago.  This woman calls me up screaming about what a "fraud the Cupcake Girls are".  She tells me how she can't get work because she doesn't have an ID.  She doesn't have an ID because her birth certificate is from another country and her country can't find it.  Without it, she can't get an ID and without an ID she can't work a job is what she's telling me.

So if that's the only problem - I figure I'll help her get an ID card.  As we're talking, I know 100 places where she can get work, good work, without the company hassling about ID.  For one - I know of a company that hires attractive people to do presentations for time share companies.  They pay $25 an hour and could care less about an ID.  I went and interviewed with them for another woman and they never once asked for an ID.  So I told her about this job and all I heard was "oh that's too far for me to go because I don't have a car".

As I went through some jobs she could do working from home - she snaps at me "what is this insistence on me quitting the sex industry about?"  I explain to her that I run Sex Workers Anonymous and we're about helping people quit.  Isn't that what she told me when she called?  She had said she "wanted to quit but couldn't because she didn't have an ID card".

Okay if that's all that's holding her back - then let's get her working at jobs that don't require an ID.  Because right now there are millions of illegal aliens who are in this country who are NOT prostituting who are making a living who don't have an ID card.   But see we know that in SWA - we know that all those excuses are just that - excuses.

That's why when I hear the Cupcake Girls say that "these women can't get jobs because of their record" is bullshit.  That's the excuse they tell everyone, even themselves.  Because there are many many employers in Las Vegas who do not care about a prostitution arrest.  Some companies even actively prefer that type of worker.  Like marketing for example where you go out onto the casino floor and you sign people up for Players cards.  I know people making $300 a day doing that and that's with a prostitution record.

But when I offered the Cupcake Girls the list - they refused.  Now that's when I got suspicious of them.  If they're about "helping these women" then if they want to quit and want to find work but their record is holding them back - then they would jump at this list of employers.  But they didn't because clearly they're not what they're representing they are.

Which then this woman throws up at me.  She says "they held a fund raiser for Kamylla so why can't you throw one for me?"  I then have to explain to her why would I do that?  Okay let's say I raise her $5000.  How long would that pay her bills?  A month?  Two?  Then what?  What happens when the money runs out?  We're right back where we started which is getting her an ID card and getting her a job outside of sex work.

So then she confesses "no I'm not ready to quit" which is what I thought.  So I suggested she contact Red Umbrella, Desiree Alliance, or SWOP.  They're three programs I'm aware of set up to help women in active sex work.  I don't believe in harm reduction.  To me, it's like the heroin addict who puts B12 in his shot.  I don't see the point.  It's a short lived career at best - and one is going to have to think about quitting one day.  In the meantime, it's going to be full of violence, danger, disease, rape, kidnapping, being arrested and even possibly a high rate of murder and that's just the nature of the game just as football players get a lot of head injuries and dancers screw up their feet.

Now over the years - I've seen a pattern in my life.  A pattern where I come into someone's life to give them another path.  I offered to help her quit - and she didn't want to quit.  So I left.  Before I left she asked me why I'm not out fund raising like the Cupcake Girls.  She told me they even get cash donations in the club.

So I asked her "are they talking to you right now?"  She said "no".  I said "because they're out fund raising right".  She says "yes".  I said "how do I spend my time? Talking to you, and women like you all over the country right?"  She acknowledges.  I then explain to her I'm only human.  I have so many hours in the day and I can't do both.  I can't go out pan handling in a strip club for money and then spent three hours talking to her about if she wants to quit and how to help her.  It's just real life.  Something I've learned how to do in the 12 step lifestyle.  Accepting life on life's terms.

It's now 1:00 a.m.  I get a call from her telling me "it's urgent".  She starts telling me how she went into a casino on a Friday night to hook and how she almost got arrested.  I start hearing about the mean cops.  You know what?  If I wanted to get a 1:00 a.m. phone call from someone who almost got arrested, or got arrested, for prostitution in Las Vegas - then honestly I'd go back to hooking.   Only I'm not the hookers' girlfriend to get that call anymore.  I left that lifestyle.  Now I get calls about the first day at work, or the job interview, or getting off probation, or paying off the mortgage, or my kid graduating college, or I got my diploma.  I frankly don't want to hear this dumb shit.

So I tell her to call SWOP, Desiree Alliance or Red Umbrella and let them help her.  I gave her the option of quitting the very day before and she didn't want to hear it.  Fine.  Then suck it up.  If that's what you want to do - that's what you're going to get.  I told her when she's ready to quit - then call me.  Until then I am not here to get that kind of emergency phone call.  I sleep with the phone by my ear at night so that if I get a 1:00 a. m. phone call from a woman who wants help to escape her pimp or trafficker - I can get her, or him, out of there.  That's what my hotline is for.  It's for a late night call when you're alone because you've left everyone you know to get out of sex work and you're scared.  A few nights ago I talked to a woman who was married, had four kids, and three dogs - and now she's in a house by herself for the first time in her life.  She's going out looking for work and life is scary.  THAT'S what I'm here for.

But this woman calling me up wanting me to help her put on "a fund raiser just like Kamylla had done for her" is the kind of bullshit I'm now having to deal with because of people like the Cupcake Girls.  When Annie Lobert was promising women she was going to help them out but left them hanging - who got the call when they had a 5 day notice that had to be filed by 8:00 a.m. the next morning?  I did.  I'm the one who had to help them file that Answer or Stay, and then take them looking for work, and take them to the food bank.  All because of a crisis caused by Annie.  I don't play like that.  I have our members figure out an exit plan that's realistic so we don't have a crisis to deal with.  Creating crisis is not what people in recovery do.

Now what am I going to do about this?  Clearly these con artists aren't going to go away.  They are creating false expectations and false ideas in the public's mind about what we do, how we do it, who we are even.  Which when I think about it - isn't even new.

At least we're on the map now.  Back in 1987 people didn't even think we existed.  So in reality - this is progress isn't it?  At least people know we're real now.  Now I guess we just need to clarify the details.  So I guess this is a good thing.

Now - you've just witnessed what we do in a 12 step lifestyle.  We "accept the things we can not change, the courage to change the things we can and the wisdom to know the difference".   I can't undo these unrealistic perceptions in the public's mind.  That we don't exist - or that we do but what they're putting out there isn't accurate.  That I can't change.

But I can change how I perceive this.  So in reality it's progress and a good thing because at least people know that sex trafficking is real and exists and why many of us need help to exit.  Just as I helped people to see that pimps are exploiting us - maybe I can educate about how pastors are exploiting us like with the "Children of God" cult that was our first big case we got involved with helping women to leave that cult where the pastor was pimping them.  Just as I guess I know have to teach the public that the government, and even other 501c3's can exploit us also.

So how am I going to educate the public about what we really are like?  Well we've got plans for that in the works.  In the meantime, I'm going back to sleep.









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