Saturday, October 10, 2015
NEBRASKA SEX TRAFFICKING AND DOJ GRANTS
Dear Ms. Gemee:
My name is Jody Williams. I'm the founder of the modern day sex trafficking movement itself. You can verify this by clippings I have up at www.hightechmadam.com The "brothel" I was charged with having was the first "safe house" for adults. We had to set up our own because the police didn't even believe trafficking was real - let alone would they do anything or have anywhere safe for us to go. I couldn't explain that back then as a defense.
Wanting to change this is what went into the founding in 1987 of our hotline, the 12 step program, and the first program in Los Angeles then Mayor Tom Bradley set up with the courts and jails as the first "alternative" sentencing program that recognized there were in fact victims years before we got federal recognition with the Trafficking Act of 2000 passing.
Needing cheap housing - I married in 1994 and relocated to a small town outside of Omaha, Nebraska. Once settled into Blair, Nebraska, we set about buying homes for $5,000 and $10,000 that we turned into "safe houses" for adults (male, female and transgender) where we took victims from the east and west coasts of these trafficking rings and set them up in the midwest into new lives.
My husband's nephew at this time was the Omaha District Attorney. Boys Town was there and still reeling from the Omaha Franklin scandal. Meaning we were having to help young boys escape Boys Town, and local politicians in Nebraska and Iowa which we'd put on planes to send back to Children of the Night. The only program I was aware of anyway that accepted males and transgenders under the age of 18 years old that also provided proper medical supervision for those who were on, or forced to be on, hormones.
Realize this was in 1994 before there was federal recognition - meaning we had to fund all of this work ourselves and do it in a world that still didn't recognize any of this as "real" yet. When I moved back there they were still locking up boys in hospitals for observation if they said these things were happening to them. Made more complicated by the fact the whole state had three psychiatrists in the whole state - and those three were very devoutly "anti" LGBT.
When I first read the legislature out there was going to go after "harsher penalties" for traffickers I knew this would mean more dead witnesses. So I contacted the NE Legislature who agreed with me and changed their course. I was told they were going to set up the first ever programs to help victims back there after many long conversations with the legislators back there, along with some of the local police and churches.
We had a great working relationship UNTIL they got the first federal grant. The minute they got that grant, and the task force was set up - suddenly everyone acted like they didn't even know my name. The ACLU vs. Catholic Bishops lawsuit win and the Supreme Court decision that I also helped to bring to be - I thought would do something to change the fact that suddenly these people who came into a field I carved out of nothing were acting like they didn't even know my name because of obtaining money from the Catholic Church for distancing themselves, and anyone they worked with - from anyone who was not putting religious rhetoric before the needs of the victims.
After these grants started coming into Nevada - I'm suddenly talking to women who are so emotionally distressed because of a total lack of recovery services appropriate and effective for their situation (if all we needed was an AA meeting - I wouldn't have formed SWA now would I have?) that they couldn't even maintain a phone conversation with me thinking on their own for two minutes who are telling me there "are no resources" for victims back there. When I said "what are you talking about - of course there's resources" (we have three houses back there mind you that my ex-husband still owns and we use) - these people then refuse to speak to me because that idea clearly interferes with their fund raising and grant writing projects.
Now I can't even get services to victims through these programs - nor can I even get a return phone call now from the very people who I put in their minds to start trafficking programs in the first place.
Just thought you should know how well your grant money is being spent. Prostitutes are having police threaten to take away their children if they don't prosecute their husbands and the father of their children as "pimps". I don't call that progress. Especially when I can't even get anyone on the phone to talk to me about what "real" trafficking looks like in Nebraska because I assure you it's very different back there than it is in California or NY.
Thanks for your time.