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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Letter to Malika Saar about "No Such Thing" Campaign

Dear Malika Saar - I represent the largest and oldest group of survivors in this country. I am in fact the founder of the movement itself. That can be verified by clips I have up at dating back to 1987. No one had stepped up before me, before then, specifically saying this was in fact "real" and that our country had to stop viewing us as criminals - but instead to set up a system where the victims could receive help by them rather than having to call me alone. The "brothel" in the news clip dated 1984 was in reality the first "safe house" I'd set up for adult victims. No "brothel" is a warehouse with iron bars, CCTV cameras, high tech security next to the police station! I had a woman staying there I was hiding from her pimp. The pimp called to say that "prostitution was going on inside" which led to my arrest.

Being angry that I knew I couldn't even defend myself on that case because the public, and especially the courts, didn't even understand this was "real", let alone why I'd have to set up such a protected environment to help these victims - that's when I stepped up in 1987 to call for this to change. After hearing upon your "No Such Thing" campaign - I came to you about the fact that a "child prostitute" and in fact a "child sex worker" is a reality in Nevada. At 16 years of age - a woman who is too young to drive, smoke or vote - can obtain a license to work in a Nevada legal brothel which makes her a "child prostitute" and even in the strip club next to the brothel which makes her then a "child sex worker".

Your campaign asking the media to essentially state these women "don't exist" also wipes out their need for help. I want people outraged. I want them to see those words and get really mad. Mad enough to DO something. I contacted you, and the McCain Institute, and the California Endowment who seem to be sponsoring this campaign, to ask that all of this press you're generating be used to highlight their situation which might led to CHANGE. I was then told that you were "highlighting the voice of a survivor".

Okay - well how about other voices? How about the voices of some of the women who have been trafficked at these brothels as "child sex workers" and "child prostitutes" which can be heard at I understand the woman writing the letter you're championing not wanting to be called a "prostitute". I think it's awesome you're "championing" her view. But when I contacted you, and your group, and these other groups like the McCain Institute - I didn't get so much as a return phone call let alone a discussion of any kind about the feelings of those who are being put to work in establishments at states where the legal age is lower than 18 years of age - as well as in establishments that are "legal".

Meaning they're not even going to get help for their plight by being arrested. They helped organize the press conference we gave in 2007 asking for help for them in ways not involving arrest because they are NOT going to be arrested while working at a legal brothel and/or legal strip club. Do you realize there are women right now being housed in "residential sex trafficking programs" where the pimp is picking them up at the door and taking them to work in strip clubs and/or massage parlors and/or webcam studios and the shelter staff is being told "there's nothing we can do to stop this because it's a legal job". I mean we've got a program or system or whatever you want to call it happening right now in this country where no one even seems to know what the problem is BECAUSE NO ONE IS TALKING TO US.

So after putting on this conference with a panel of these types of services begging for something to be done - $870,000 was put into a grant to create ATLAS in Nevada to help trafficking victims. Only the director of said program then tells me she can't "help anyone unless Metro calls me". If you look at cases like Kemp Schiffer, Chris Butler, David Shubert, and the fact that the Mayor was pushing for "magnificent brothels" to be built in downtown Las Vegas that same year - then you'd understand why at the end of that year - ATLAS had helped ZERO cases while our hotline processed over 300 calls in Nevada ALONE. That wasn't counting the cases in other states.

We were excluded from one penny of that money going to help real victims. In fact, $50,000 was spent to upgrade the Olympic Gardens Strip Club's signage while my request for $30,000 to hire a translator so we could do outreach in the massage parlors was denied. Maybe if we had a translator - then those 24 women in Operation Dollhouse might not have been sent back home with their pimp and their bags of drugs that were after we tried to expose the police involvement with that case. Then again that might not have let the two cops found on the site off the hook - so maybe that's why they chose the sign over the translator.

In BEGGING for more money to help these victims - another grant was issued to form the Nevada Southern Nevada Sex Trafficking Task Force. Just in time to help pass AB67. In fact, they helped organize 45 "abolitionists" who helped pass AB67 - who when the hearing time came to discuss putting a legal brothel in downtown Las Vegas where the Mob Museum now resides it left our member, and survivor of brothel trafficking, to go up and testify against the brothels by herself.

We won and there's now the museum and the arts district there now instead. Aubrey, the woman who testified, then had her car and belongings stolen, her children's lives and hers threatened, and basically had her and her childrens' lives threatened so dramatically that we had to help her move out of state to safety - all without one shred of help from the task force, Awaken Reno, or any of the other groups who testified for AB67. Oh I take that back - the director of Congo Justice did offer me money for sex when I contacted him asking for help with Aubrey. I guess that's some type of "offer".

So after being the reason why the money came AGAIN into Nevada to help these victims- we suddenly found ourselves not being invited to any of the task force meetings even. Other groups who were invited were telling me they were told they would "lose their funding" if they so much as even spoke to us. People like the head of juvenile social services in Clark County who turned to us to help what they said are now "third generation trafficking victims" (pregnant with their pimp step-father's baby) - were in fact fired for calling us for help. Sure the lawsuit to stop being blocked access to victims because of the abortion issue of ACLU v. Catholic Bishops hadn't been won yet, and we had people in office like Mayor Goodman wanting to fight our opposition to them wanting to expand brothels at the same time they're trying to get grant money to "fight sex trafficking" - but what this resulted in was still the fact money was being donated by people who wanted to see victims get help. Instead they got billboards, booklets, and films bordering on "Reefer Madness" that conveniently left out of the sex trafficking "documentary" any word about sex trafficking within legal brothels and/or strip clubs in Nevada. The donors got videos about trafficking in the "Congo" while actual Nevada survivors wanting to talk about Nevada sex trafficking during Nevada hearings on sex trafficking - were banned from even being allowed on the premises - let alone to be asked to speak.

When I heard about your campaign again to address the way the media is talking bout us - I reached out to you asking if we could talk. I was also very concerned about you being the "face" of this campaign while being African American wearing corn rows in your photos about the campaign while the "poster child" was also African American and then championed by African American celebrities such as P. Diddy and Russell Simmons. P. Diddy who hangs out with Snoop Dogg who STILL hasn't apologized to the victims of his "trafficking tour" in 2003 which he has bragged about openly in Rolling Stone, and Russell Simmons who I watched help keep her escorting career alive after the Eliot Spitzer scandal broke out. I'm finding their "outrage" about as hypocritical as Jada Pinkett-Smith hosting the CNN Freedom Project in Atlanta featuring only African American girls (along with only showing African American men as pimps) the same WEEK as she comes out promoting Magic Mike XXL. Once again - we seem to be having people who aren't even understanding the basics here about how sex trafficking works because frankly it seems the only thing people are listening to here is the GREEN and not the voices of survivors.

Meaning we had members of SWA who wanted to come participate in your event today. Speak to the press, your audience, you - as survivors of trafficking about what their experiences are across the board and the wide range that this thing can take. Ranges important to be aware of because as the emphasis keeps going onto African American girls - the traffickers in this country are simply switching their operations over more to Asians and males . As well as increasing their blackmail and theft of the "johns" who are finding when they go to the police they're being threatened.

In much the same manner as we just stood by and watched with Lamar. He was taken to the brothel so stoned supposedly he couldn't drive. Yet knowing this - he was then sold herbal supplements they had no idea how anything would interact with in his system. Then knowing this - he was left alone unsupervised and without medical attention called until he was found unconscious. His friends reported he had $75,000 in cash missing from his pockets. Nye County police then obtains a warrant to verify he had "every drug known" in his system. While threatening him with possible drug possession charges - suddenly Lamar is not holding the brothel liable or negligent for what happened to him neither do I see anyone charging the brothel. If that had been a bar - they would have been shut down for the same act.

Which is highlighting the cry of the "customers" of places like the Crazy Horse who have been reporting they were being drugged, their credit cards ripped off, and then when they went to file charges for the theft found themselves further threatened by the cops and the DA about how their "lives would be ruined" when the "press came out", and even possible charges against them for the drugs! I mean how do you prove who drugged who? What happened at the Crazy Horse wasn't stopped until a man was paralyzed. Am I saying Lamar was robbed? No. I'm saying if he was - could he file charges without facing charges against him? Doubtful. Now imagine if you are one of the customers up in these so called "legal" establishments that are telling me they're being drugged, robbed, and then blackmailed? And where is a victim of someone like Chris Butler or Kemp Schiffer to run to for help?

I mean all of this press and attention over labels - some of these victims I'm speaking to would like some attention drawn to their issues, plights, and needs. These women want to see the licensing process in Nevada change for example. They would like to see the legal age for the brothels and strip clubs to at least increase to 18 years of age. They would like to see an orientation at the licensing where they can be offered the National Trafficking Hotline to call for help before being swept into a brothel where if they try and leave within the first 48 hours - they're threatened with arrest.

They'd like some of this press over the fact that the only ones receiving any help from these "trafficking programs" right now are those arrested that you're speaking about in your campaign. You're talking about how the press is calling them "child prostitutes" when arrested. Okay well at least they're getting help at whatever they're called. I've got victims in RI for example who up until 2009 prostitution wasn't even illegal. I've got victims in NJ, FL and PA strip clubs at 16 years of age where it's legal. They aren't able to get a trafficking charge filed against their pimps because the only witnesses are other people working at the club. Or worse are working at clubs like the DEA owned strip club in NJ. How do they get help?

So did I get a call from you? No. Meaning that for the voice of this one woman you focused on in your campaign - you are refusing to acknowledge, incorporate, or even show an interest in the voices of many other victims that I've written you asking if the ones we have who lives in the San Francisco area could come and be involved in your event today.

Where the lack of response tells me it's not the "voices of survivors" you're interested in at all - but only this one. Which tells me it's not about "our" voices - but more sounding like you found one that mirrors what ever this is really all about that you're exploiting for some purpose. I'm sure the election coming up and this being sponsored by the McCain Institute has nothing to do with the timing of this either.

But this is also why we're saying that "anyone about us - needs to include us". Because one of the biggest problems we faced when Samoly Mam started spreading her agenda around and she wasn't "real" is that she was mouthing what the press who put her up to that farce wanted her to mouth - not what are the issues WE want addressed. Not much different really than when the Nazi's had the Jews leading the Jews into the showers. They did that to get "compliance". They knew if the Nazi's were leading them into those showers - that all hell would break loose. The victims walked into those showers thinking they were coming out because they felt their "own" wouldn't "do them that way".

I wasn't asking you to do anything but to speak to "us" about this. Hear our voices. Consider our feelings. Again, as the oldest and largest group of survivors in this country - if the campaign is to be about US - then we need to have our voices heard. I hear you speaking out for one person - well then why not hear from others of us when representing us? Don't you think that's fair?

Ms. Saar - you are a female attorney and activist. I however am not a female attorney. Now I ask you - how would you feel if I started writing a letter to the press and organizing a campaign to have all of the media in the country start referring to ALL attorney's as either "female attorney" or "male attorney" because I felt it was an important distinction? Not being an attorney - how would you feel about me doing such a thing with the representation of your career and how you're going to be written about in history for years to come when people google your name? How about a group of pimps who start lobbying to have them referred to as "alleged" victims since they haven't PROVEN they're even a victim yet in a court of law?

Meaning unless you want to come out and say you're a survivor yourself - we're right back to the fact we've asked you to involve some of us in the campaign you were organizing about what the media is to call us and I haven't received a call from you, the McCain Institute, the California Endowment, etc. Nothing. Meaning you sure don't seem to interested in hearing from our survivors for some reason - but yet you do seem really interested in an agenda with respect to what we're labeled in the media. An agenda you sure seem pretty set on putting an African American face upon too at the same time. Now if you have a shortage of white, Russian, Asian, Hispanic, etc. victims - we can put you in touch with survivors of every race, religion, etc. Including males and transgenders we weren't seeing represented either.

We also addressed the letter to you to the press club you are appearing at. The press is also supposed to be hearing about "us" so we thought someone there might be interested in hearing from some of these survivors. They didn't seem interested either. Again, I'm not talking about "me". I'm talking about the survivors who live up in the area who would have loved to have come and spoken to you, to the press, etc. They weren't too interested either evidently in speaking to other survivors either as we got no response back from them either.

Funny how you seem so interested in this one voice - but then not interested in others. So I guess I'm just writing to let whoever is reading this know we asked and offered - and were ignored. So in our opinion this isn't about us at all.

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