Wednesday, September 30, 2015
LAS VEGAS METRO, VIC VIGNA, KAREN HUGHES AND SOUTHERN NEVADA SEX TRAFFICKING TASK FORCE
In 2006, Melissa Farley was asked to do a report about sex trafficking in Nevada. Since we were the only group she was aware of who was actually working with anyone exiting sex work, and sex trafficking (there is a difference) in Nevada, she contacted me for help. She wanted to interview women who had come through Nevada whether legal or illegal sex work, and whether trafficked or just exiting the sex industry for the report. So I agreed to work with her. The report I was told was to get the funding approved to set up a program in Nevada to help trafficking victims That to get grant money made available - we had to first prove the problem existed as well as the need for help. Okay I agreed.
Hearing about me working on this report, I then got a visit from Adam Freer from the Salvation Army in August of 2006. He said he could not find anyone that was working with prostitutes in Nevada other than myself, nor could he find anyone that WANTED to work in Nevada with these victims either that had any experience. I asked him "do you want me to help prostitutes or do you want to save trafficking victims?" To which he said "the grant money is to save trafficking victims". I looked at this budget and said I could help him but I needed TWO more things from him to be able to do the job they wanted done.
First, I said I needed money in the budget to hire a translator. Most victims I was aware of with respect to sex trafficking did not speak English. Mandarin, Korean, Russian, etc. but not English. I explained I could not question every man and woman arrested for prostitution without a translator. Because this was how the grant was originally structured - to question every prostitute arrested to see if they needed help or if they were there by choice. I also explained I wanted to go do outreach in the massage parlors and I knew these women did not speak English.
I also said I needed the name of an agent who would be willing to arrest a Metro officer, or a judge, or a city councilman I explained that in my experience most trafficking was being aided by, protected by, or even done by someone in authority such as the Chris Butler and Kemp Schiffer cases have born out. I told him I wasn't going to ask a woman if she was being trafficked - and then when she would tell me officer so and so was her pimp - I needed to have someone willing to arrest another officer that I could call. I say that because most officers won't arrest one of their own They protect each other because of the "brotherhood". We saw this in the movie "Serpico" if you don't know what I mean by that.
Adam agreed and said he would go back to Washington and get the budget and the name and get back to me. He was promptly fired. Only I didn't find out about this until I opened up a newspaper in February of 2007 to read how a school teacher named Terri Miller had taken the job as "director of ATLAS" - the trafficking task force job. When I called her up to introduce myself - she had no idea who I was. So whoever hired her - she had not even been told I existed - let alone I had been promised the job by Adam months ago. That's when she told me Adam was no longer with the Salvation Army.
Then came the Operation Dollhouse arrests. Terri called me up and said "let's go" and we were down at the Salvation Army 20 minutes later only to be told the women had just been sent home. When I asked to see their case files - we were told "we didn't make any because we didn't book them"> When I asked for the address of the house - they said "we didn't make a file because we didn't book them". We raised a stink because the grant specifically said we were supposed to question everyone arrested for prostitution - and here these women had been let go before we could ask them anything.
The result? Metro gave the Salvation Army a $370,000 grant to "restructure" ATLAS. This meant that Terri was not allowed to even speak to a victim, or suspected victim, unless Vic Vigna, who was head of Vice at that time, gave her the referral directly. I asked because I'm getting calls on our hotline constantly from people telling me of victims, or they are victims, or they need help, etc She told me that I could only get help from ATLAS if Vic cleared it.
Okay problem with that is that the people who call me again were victims of rings like the one Chris Butler and Kemp Schiffer were running. Meaning when they run - they're now running from police, the IRS, etc. So the big question is "how do you protect a victim from harm if they're going to make a case against their trafficker?" Because I was told in order for Vic to clear a victim to refer to Terri to get help from ATLAS (which meant things like free housing, free medical, free rehabilitation, free counseling, and even witness protection), that a case had to be filed against the pimp or trafficker.
So for a victim of trafficking to ask me "if I make a report to Vic - will I be protected until I make it to trial?" is a reasonable question especially after what happened to Margo Compton when she turned against the traffickers. Granted, this was in 1977 but it still sent a powerful message that if you're going to testify against anyone in the Hell's Angel's - you'd better be sure you're going to be safe. http://www.nytimes.com/1994/07/31/us/oregon-jury-convicts-man-in-4-killings-linked-to-hell-s-angels.html
Now you may know that the woman who testified at the Nevada legislature in 2013 was speaking about being trafficked inside the Shady Lady brothel which was owned by Hell's Angel's. I can say that openly now where this was happening because the case is no longer being put together. The Shady Lady shut down and was bought by Dennis Hof Meaning the witnesses to her being forced to work there, her rapes, etc. have all been scattered. I'm not even sure we can even prove she even worked there in the first place now that they've been closed down
But if you listen to her story at www.leavingtheliferadio.com - you'll hear that she wanted not only to file charges against her pimp for forcing her to work as a prostitute from 12 years on, and not only because he drug her and forced her to work in a legal brothel once she turned 15 years old so he couldn't be prosecuted for pimping - but she also wanted to charge the cop who was drugging and raping her weekly when he would come to pick up the HIV test results (supposedly).
Now before I'm going to tell Aubrey that she can go to Vic and make a report and be kept safe - I told her I'd find out where the victims were going to be kept. Because if she was going to just be put in the Salvation Army - these guys would find her in two seconds. The same for her home - they knew where she lived. So I called up Vic and asked if he would show me what steps they take to protect victims that are reporting trafficking that involves corruption. He agreed and told me to meet him at a Starbucks. I also told him I didn't want to be seen meeting with and talking to a cop I promise our members "anonymity" and I don't want anyone thinking I'm "ratting" on anyone if they see me in a coffee shop talking to a cop. He told me "don't worry I know how to be discrete".
He showed up at the meeting wearing an Metro ball cap and an FBI sweatshirt.
Then he asked me if we could go outside to his car. I thought that meant he was going to show me how he would protect these witnesses. Instead he puts me in a car with three other agents and proceeds to grill me like I've just been arrested. He starts pumping me for what I know about these women. I don't know anything - I don't ask them. All I'm doing is seeing if they'll be safe IF they TALK TO HIM. That's what he agreed to show me - how he protected witnesses. Instead he yells at me and grills me to the point where I'm flashing back to my arrest days and my PTSD starts kicking in and all I can think of is I want out of that car
Then he asks me "do you want to be a paid informant?" I said no - and he tells me "call me tomorrow" and throws me out of the car. I asked "will you show me the information you promised me tomorrow?" He said "yes".
The next day no one ever answered the phone nor returned my calls.
I went back to these women and then they all started laughing. I said "what's so funny?" They then proceeded to tell me stories of supposedly Vic trading sex with prostitutes to let them off being arrested. Then I speak to a private detective who tells me the prostitutes he knows are telling him the same thing.
Well if that's true - then Metro is NEVER going to refer one victim/prostitute to ATLAS because he'll be busy covering his ass. So I go to Terri and ask her "Has Vic ever given you ONE referral?" to which she says "no". I then said "don't you think that's strange?" She said "I"m not his keeper." I then asked her "how many prostitutes are they arresting a day?" To which she said "not my job". Now mind you ATLAS has now received $870,000 and $370,000 that I'm aware of in grants and "that's not her job?"
Okay I table the whole thing until I get calls from prostitutes giving me leads on the Jessie Foster case. I go into that on another blog posting.
Speed ahead - at the end of the year ATLAS has not served ONE victim of trafficking. The task force is defunded and shut down.
I'm then told Karen Hughes, who used to be a police typist in dispatch, has now been made head of vice. I think "great - a woman" Wrong. I reached out to Karen when I first heard she'd taken over as head of vice which was sometime early 2008 - and she wouldn't return my calls. I wrote her emails asking to speak to her, introducing myself, letting her know I was the person who was gave the press conference and co-wrote the report on "Trafficking in Nevada - Making the Connections", etc.
Now, with a woman in vice these victims are thinking maybe she'll be different So Aubrey asks me to see what they can do for her if she files charges. She can't file charges in northern Nevada because those are the cops who raped her. Yes, the Chief is the one who collected the HIV tests, and the Chief is also head of Internal Affairs in northern Nevada - so she can't go to them. So I write Karen and let her know I have women who are victims who would like to know what can be done to protect them if they file charges - and I get no answer.
When trafficking bill AB67 was going to the Nevada legislature - I reached out to Karen again. I sent her a copy of the letter that was read at the legislature about how we felt about AB67 and what we would like to see done to help us get help.
Her response finally? "Take me off your mailing list". Okay - yes I've saved those emails and phone logs to show the attempts I've made to reach out to Karen Hughes - with no response. Including when I tried to make a report about underage trafficking going on inside a car lot on Boulder Highway to the task force and received no response. I wrote her again anyway asking for help. After no one responded back to me - I went ahead and took those girls to the bus and sent them to Children of the Night.
Recently, I complained about Karen in this blog. In response to that complaining - our hotline got this call from Officer Boznack (I don't know if that's the right spelling) from Internal Affairs this morning. http://www.mediafire.com/watch/06m4hwp4xpzsa04/Metrocall.mp4
If you don't want to wade through the whole phone call it goes basically like this - Karen Hughes is no longer head of Vice therefore we can not take any action against her for any claims (I have emails from other cops claiming she would "run officers off the force if they tried to help trafficking victims or gave them SWA's phone number or spoke highly of me in any way" - and I think it's very wrong that when I'm trying to reach her to give her information on open cases, or to come help or investigate a trafficking case she blows me off).
When asked who was her replacement - he said "I don't know". He tells us to "call Vice". Well Vice isn't going to reveal information on their agents. Their standard routine is to tell us to call the Press office who will then tell us "until we get a press release we don't know". How do I know this? Because that's what they did to us for a year when we tried to find out how to get in touch with the task force, and who the new director was
I basically asked for help in speaking to whoever her replacement is so that things can change and he tells me as a man in Internal Affairs that "he has no idea who is in charge of Vice". You're kidding me right? Internal Affairs does not know who her replacement is? Plus, when exactly was the world going to be told she's no longer in position there of any kind and retired?
If you google Karen Hughes right now, today, you'll find this about her:
Looks to me like she's STILL head of Vice, STILL head of Internal Affairs for N. Las Vegas, and STILL on the trafficking task force to me anyway
Now like me or not - I operate the ONLY hotline in this country that is national, that is for male and female adults, and that is for ANYONE exiting the sex industry NOT JUST trafficking victims. While Polaris is taking calls from trafficking victims - I'm taking calls from anyone who wants to leave for any reason. Not just prostitution - but the sex industry. Meaning porn performers, strippers, prostitutes, escorts, madams, strip club owners, massage parlor owners, porn producers, etc. This makes me the OLDEST and LARGEST hotline for adults in the country.
Like me or not - that's a fact. Now - every "crazy" claim I've made has proven to be true. There WERE 24 Chinese women in that house with TWO COPS and bags of drugs in Operation Dollhouse Kemp Schiffer WAS an IRS Agent who was trafficking girls into Nevada from California. Cab drivers were being used by the trafficking ring as was proved by their arrest. Chief Gillispie has stepped down because of corruption charges. The prosecutor, David Schubert, died of a drug overdose proving he was on drugs at the time he was in office. This means that every "crazy" claim I've made about what's going on in Nevada has proven to in fact be true INCLUDING that we rescued victims of a trafficking operation that had Snoop Dogg connected to it during his tour that I was saying happened YEARS before he confessed to this in Rolling Stone.
Including the "crazy" claim I was making that Chong Kim, Samoly Mam and Bill Hilliar were FAKES. That proved to be true as did Gigolo's prove to be actors and Annie Lobert's Destiny House not opening in reality also proved out to be true.
So please - out of all the "crazy" claims I've been accused of making EVERY SINGLE ONE of the has proven out to be true.
Now this call we got today was from Nevada's Internal Affairs Granted, Karen Hughes might not still be in office. But the fact remains I've had phone conversations with officers, and I've got emails from officers in Metro who reported to me they were "chased off the force" for even speaking about us or to us and they were forced to work with us in secret because of Karen. Now SHE DID NOT DO THIS ALONE.
When I was trying to get fresh information looked in the Jessie Foster case - I also had other detectives assigned to that case who REFUSED to look at FRESH information and to speak to FRESH witnesses on that case coming into our hotline What about them? Are they still on the force?
Either way I didn't exactly hear from this phone call that Internal Affairs is that interested in rooting out any wrong doing in their department with respect to Vice or even Homicide.
Nor are they telling me who Internal Affairs might be for Pasadena, California or Phoenix, Arizona either. Two cities where I also have complaints against officers I'd personally like to file but no one wants to give me a straight answer as to where to go to file such a complaint.
I do know this - Aubrey said that the officer who was collecting the HIV test results at the Shady Lady was drugging her and raping her. Now is he still in office? Since we "can't do anything about someone who isn't in office anymore" what about him? Does his office handle Internal Affairs for where the Shady Lady was located - or is that still going under the Chief's office? Because when her and I looked it up online - it was the same man who was Chief at that time in 2013.
Now for whoever did take over Karen's job - I would like to try and have a better relationship with you than I had with Karen. You can reach me at www.sexworkersanonymous.com I'm going to follow up this blog with trying to find out who you are and send you an introduction email. I'd like you to see the "Code Red" we put out for Nevada.