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Friday, October 9, 2015

WHY WE DON'T HAVE A NORTHERN NEVADA CHAPTER ANY LONGER OF SWA

I got a call to give a quote to a reporter who is in the northern part of Nevada yesterday, Ed Pearce.  He was there at the Nevada legislature in 2013 when AB67 was getting passed.  He saw with his own eyes that SWA was the only objector, was the ONLY group who fought the brothels back from expanding into Las Vegas at an unlisted backroom meeting between George Flynt, the Brothel Association Lobbyist, and two legislators to decide on the issue after 45 so called "abolitionists" had left the building entirely.

He's also the ONLY reporter in Nevada who has had the balls to print the name of Sex Workers Anonymous in the paper while the Review Journal has told me to my face that our name is "blacklisted for life".  Bravo Ed by the way for being an ethical honest reporter.  A true dying breed!

By the way - thank you those legislators who voted against the brothel expansion (which means the Mob Museum is now where these people had wanted to open a "magnificent brothel" to quote ex-mayor Oscar Goodman), after hearing Aubrey's testimony about what really goes on inside "legal" brothels in Nevada.  How to avoid prosecution for trafficking her pimp packed her and their two kids up and drove them into Nevada once she hit the legal age of 15 from California where he'd been pimping from the age of 12 years old on.

Then waiting until she was 16 years old - he then forced her to go to work in the legal brothel under threat of putting their two girls into porn.  Since his father had made him into a pimp - she had every reason to believe his threats.  Ed also told me that he has noticed how everyone who supported AB67 has disappeared since the "job got done" but that once the smoke cleared - we're still here plugging away trying to help these men and women.  

Anyway, he says to me "shame you don't have a chapter here in northern Nevada because all Awaken does about the issue is hold prayer vigils and raise money".  Well Ed - that's why they're STILL there and we aren't.  What people have to realize is that when that's all you do is "pray and fund raise", and you pose no threat to these people, they ignore you.  But when you're cutting into their profits, and their goals, then it's a different story.

Because we had a "chapter" and "presence" in northern Nevada at one time starting back in 1988 when we did our first "rescue" of a woman out of the Mustang Ranch, and in 1996, when I moved to Nevada to be able to go and get these women out of the brothels because they literally have no other way out in many cases unless someone goes in and picks them up.

To get Joe Conforte, the previous owner of the Mustang Ranch, out of the brothel game because of the way he was horribly abusing the women who had no recourse, no way of calling the police, no way of getting away, and because women were literally "disappearing" into the desert at night, along with other horror stories the women were telling me about what was going on up there - I had established a friendship with Sharnel Silvey.  Sharnel was the madam there at the end of it's days and Joe's girlfriend.  She's the one who left the "right" books out for the IRS to find which got them shut down and Joe fleeing the country finally.  Sharnel got clean, and stopped being a madam and a prostitute.

Working together, I took the Vegas end of the state and she took the northern end to cover.  This way we could get to any of the legal brothels in just a few hours from either end of the state (they're in very rural towns on both ends making it impossible to cover unless you have someone on each end of the state - keep in mind there were no buses either going from one end to the other until 2012).

Anyway, we knew that Clark County would not allow us to have any type of "alternative sentencing" program until forced into it by having one at the northern end that was working for a few years.   That would then put them on the spot where they'd have no choice but to adopt a state wide program.  So that's what we did with our goal being after two years - we'd then push on Clark County to adopt the same type of program.

Sharney used the church as a "trojan horse" to get into the brothels.  She appeared to be some religious bible thumper coming in with flowers and saying "Jesus loves you" stuff just so the owners wouldn't take her seriously and thus let her inside where the women were to give them the flowers and the bibles "alone".  Trust me - when she'd show with the bibles spouting about Jesus - that's when the owners would then leave her alone and run!  This gave her private access to the women to speak to them "one on one".  Then inside each flower was our phone number.  This way we'd get the call when one of them wanted to leave in the middle of the night - we'd pull up, throw them in the car, and split.

In the middle of the state is a small town where one man used to own the local casino, a motel, two apartment buildings, a thrift store, and also he would sell used cars on payments.  Meaning we'd take them to this motel for the night which also served breakfast with the room.  These women would leave with NOTHING.

So in the morning, we would contact social services.  They'd give the woman a voucher for an apartment, furniture, clothing, food, etc.  This supporter would then move them into an apartment in his complex furnish it out of the thrift store, give her clothing, and then give her a car on payments.  We had mental health providers who would see the women via skype on Medicaid the social worker we worked with would expedite.  He would also give them jobs in the motel, the casino, the restaurant - wherever he could get them work.  Once they'd "stabilize" then we'd work towards their long term goals now they were out of the sex industry and away from their pimps.

Some women wouldn't even want to call us - they'd just get a ride out with a customer, then try to leave by hooking up in Carson City or Reno on the streets.  They'd get busted.  So Sharnel set up the first ever alternative sentencing program when she had about two years clean and "with time" as we call it in SWA so instead of jail for their attempt to flee the brothels - they could enter into this program.

This would get them out of jail.  Then we'd put them into the housing in Tonopah.   But then Joe started calling from Brazil asking her to come down there to run prostitutes because it's legal there. She refused very generous offers.  Everything seemed to be fine until we hit that two year mark of the alternative sentencing program working and we started gearing up to go after Clark County with the statistics on the good results we were having with our program in northern Nevada in hand now.

Sharnel's "day job" (because we don' get paid for any of this) was as a CNA or caretaker.  One of her patients was an older man dying of cancer.  He read the press about her work saving these women and he told her upon his death he wanted her to take his credit card with a $17,000 limit on it and "buy herself some clothes".  She was doing a lot of press and TV back then on a $8 an hour job. So she didn't have a great wardrobe - especially because she'd gained weight (as most of us do after we quit sex work and get clean), after his death - so that's what she did.

Only no one counted on the fact these brothel owners, unhappy the previous system wasn't working any longer (which was the prostitutes used to  leave with the "john", go do illegal prostitution, get busted, and then come crying back to the brothel owner to get help to expunge their records and take them back - but with us there that wasn't happening.  We were churning out recovery like an assemblyline back then.)

Which means they went to the DA's office, and bribed the family to claim Sharnel had stolen the money.  Since the patient was a senior, it was "elder abuse".  So for a first time offense - she got five years mandatory time in prison for supposedly ripping off this old dying man.  I warned Sharnel going into the hearing to "get a lawyer - and get the press in on this" and I offered to come down to testify on her behalf at the court because I felt in my gut she was being set-up.

She kept telling me "oh these people know me" and "I'll get it dismissed - peace of cake", etc.  In other words, she walked in there like a  lamb to slaughter.  Literally it was like she walked into the court to speak to the DA about the case - and BAM - she's carted out of there on a five year elder abuse charge to prison.  There was no warning - we didn't have the keys to the drop-in center, nor even the codes to the social media to even let anyone know what happened.  It was that quick and unexpected she was carted off.

Why do I believe she was set up and not guilty?  Because the press turned on her overnight.  She went from a "patron saint" of prostitutes, someone who set up the first alternative sentencing program for them, someone taking flowers into the brothels to do outreach despite the owners threatening her life, and all the press she had been receiving about her work - just disappeared overnight and was replaced with scathing attacks upon her like she was truly guilty.  All the previous stories about her good work COMPLETELY DISAPPEARED OVERNIGHT out of Google.  Not one of these reporters was talking to us about her work, nor any of the prostitutes she'd worked with to save.

NO ONE was interviewing or quoting someone like me who was giving another side to the story.  So I know a hatchet job when I see one in the press.  She even filed a motion for leniency because this was a first offense - and the judge (most judges in Nevada are owned by the brothel owners, the strip club owners, etc.) acted like she was the devil himself and wouldn't budge on the sentence even when made aware of her public service work with these prostitutes and that she could have been set up.

I couldn't even visit her.  When I'd try - I kept being told that unless I was "on her list" that I couldn't visit her.  When I'd ask how to get on the list - no one would answer me.

So she got toppled out of northern Nevada for one.  Aubrey who had set up a SWA meeting in Carson City also as you may have read had her home robbed, her car stolen, and her life and the lives of her children threatened by brothel owners so she had to shut down the meeting we had up there and flee the state to protect her and her children's lives.  You can hear her story at www.leavingtheliferadio.com

Since I'd had the mechanic tell me about the bomb in our outreach RV - she also had every reason to believe these threats were real.  As the case was being built to prosecute her pimp for trafficking her inside the brothel she worked at - they shut it down and all the witnesses have scattered.  I don't think we can even prove she even worked there now but for her brothel prostitute license because the place is shut down now entirely.  As the Attorney General was building the first ever prosecution of a pimp for trafficking inside a legal brothel - Dennis Hof came in and bought the brothel so it could be shut down.

After Sharnel went to jail - this man who helped these women and us also started being hassled.  Zoning and health inspectors started coming out almost daily to ticket and fine him for something.  They made him put in a whole new electrical system in the apartment complex, reroof the whole complex, pave the parking lot, and move the propane tanks to 10 feet off the ground.  They rezoned his building into two different counties which then made it so he then had TWO counties inspectors coming out to harass him and double ticket him for the same offense.  Clever huh?

He finally gave up and sold everything because he said he was being drained of all of his money. A friend of the brothel owners then came in and bought up his properties - and then immediately upon escrow closing came to me with the trespass notice.  More than the trespass notice - I had the new apartment manager, a uniformed police officer, the new owner and some big guy I didn't know who he was show up at my doorstep with a moving truck.  They gave me the trespass notice on the apartment where I'd just paid them the rent check and tore up the rent check in my face.  Then left the big guy at my unit saying that he was there to "help me pack".  Further, the cop told me they were going to come back at 8:00 p.m. where I was to "be driven to the state line".

Then the manager, the owner, and the cop knocked on everyone else's door in the complex and the motel to inform them if they spoke to us, let us in their apartment, or let anyone we knew stay in their apartments or rooms they would be immediately evicted.  I felt like this was something out of an old western!  Most of the tenants were on a fixed income and disabled.  They told me they "loved me - but couldn't afford to be evicted over this".

When I went to file an objection to the trespass notice being illegal with the court - the Tonopah Judge said it had to be heard in the Goldfield court (because of the zoning split they did).  The Goldfield judge then literally refused to file the "stay" that I tried to file.  By the way, it's completely illegal for a judge to refuse anyone their legal right to file a court document with the court.   It's also against the law in Nevada for a landlord to refuse to accept rent.

When I told this to the Goldfield Judge - she told me to "complain to the judiciary committee" about it "once I got to the state line".  When I tried to retain an attorney to file the papers and also to sue this judge - the attorney told me there was no way he'd go up against this woman.  Yes this is the same court that we're reading about with respect to this cattle lawsuit with Bundy and the BLM.   https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2014/04/15/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-long-fight-between-cliven-bundy-and-the-federal-government/  See when they have corruption against us - it's never just "us" when a system has gone bad.  Just as Hitler started in on the pornographers first - then moved up to others - that's how corruption works.  They started with the poor, the prostitutes, the disabled, the minorities, the addicts - then they move on up to the "regular" people.

In the situation - I told these guys that I "would pack" and then literally split to a motel.   Since we had women there who we had just helped to leave their pimps - I wasn't going to abandon them.  My daughter was also in school in the town at the time.   So I was still living in Tonopah when Jeane Palfrey died.  That's when the next stunt they pulled was to have a warrant issued on the claim I was "impersonating myself".  Supposedly when I ordered a burger at the fast food place and paid by my debit card - they got the owner of the place to sign a warrant that he believed I was a victim of ID theft - even though the charge was paid.

This is the incident I've spoken about where they tossed my room for hours with a drug dog - and then tried to get CPS to take my kid on the claim my room was now "uninhabitable for a child" after they trashed the room looking for Jeane's papers, and took my debit cards and checkbook from me so I couldn't access my own money.

So this is why we don't have a physical chapter of SWA meeting in northern Nevada any longer. It's just not safe.  Today when we get calls from anywhere in Nevada as a matter of fact - we get them right out of state promptly period if at all possible.   We do have what's called "rabbit" meetings of SWA in Nevada like NA used to have when addicts would be arrested for attending their meetings in the 50's and 60's.  What a "rabbit" meeting is - means we change the meeting location every week.  If you want to attend - you call in and you're told where it's meeting that week.

After I've had more than one landlord in Nevada threatened for the crime of renting to me, and when someone kicked in my front door and Metro refused to come out and make a report about the break and enter - that's when I decided I will no longer reside in Nevada physically for my own safety either.  Nor my daughter after she was run over by an SUV in an attack we think was meant for me (from a distance her and I look almost identical.  That's a whole long story in itself but when you hear the details you'll agree the whole thing was very weird and possibly deliberate.)

By the way, every call or email we'd made to Awaken Reno to help us with a rescue call has not ever been returned.  I've also spoken to FIVE prostitutes who tell me they've contacted Awaken for help and also did not get a response from them.  I've also attempted to contact every "survivor" they are quoted as having helped - and not one of them has panned out into a real person.

Nevada is the ONLY state in the USA where we do not hold regular scheduled SWA meetings, and where we as a policy try and get the members out of the state if at all possible from day one.  We have a system set up to take them directly out of Nevada when they call into other surrounding states.  We rotate people and systems to pick up those who contact us for help, and then take them out of state to safety.  Those who can't leave for legal reasons, or because of family - have "rabbit meetings".  No other state in the USA, not even our Canada or international chapters have to resort to these safety measures.

I have made my attempts, in writing to document that I have tried, to get the vice departments in Nevada to pass out our flyers to the prostitutes.  Not one department will do this.  Probably because when we released the "Trafficking in Nevada" report in 2007 - then mayor Oscar Goodman held up the report, in front of reporters, and told Metro, and the Chief of Police, and said that if "anyone who worked for the city or state even so much as read the report, or even spoke to Jody - they would be immediately fired".

The reporter, Ed Lawrence, who confirmed this threat, and also reported that Oscar had threatened Bob Herbert with a "baseball bat to the head" for interviewing us and validating our statements about sex trafficking in Nevada being so prevalent as it is - was fired from his job the week he made that report.  Which I think is ironic because this was said by Oscar in 2007.  According to Andrea Swanson, whose husband is either a Metro officer, or an FBI agent, depending on what interview you read - their daughter was trafficked starting in 2009.  Which means maybe, just maybe, if not for the ban of government officials in Nevada from speaking to us - it's entirely possible that their daughter might not have been trafficked.

Which by the way - we are still collecting mothers to sue the state of Nevada for "negligence" in the trafficking of their children.  Why?  When I first moved to Nevada in 1996 - I have made numerous attempts to get training out to the schools about this issue, and I'd tried to get press on this issue that's actually useful in the way to warn parents what they need to know to keep their children safe from these types of pimps.  They've refused.  Which makes the trafficking subsequently the state's fault or negligence.  I have four mothers now who want to file a class action lawsuit and the ACLU says we nee five to make a class action.  So if you know a mom who wants to join the suit - let me know.

Which means when people say to me "well so and so is operating in Nevada and not having these types of problems" to raise an eyebrow at me - I just respond "well who are they threatening?"  Have they so much as gotten one single woman out of the legal brothels of Nevada - let alone been doing it since the 1980's?  Have they messed with their plans to expand the brothels into California and into Las Vegas successfully since the 1980's as we have?  Have they even done one single interview or article or recording or video or anything about what's really going on inside these legal brothels?  Do they have volunteer teams going in to pick women from the brothels up at 2:00 a.m. and driving them out of state to safety - never to return?

So this is what I've been doing while Awaken Reno has been busy fund raising, praying, and charging people to "train" them in "outreach" projects which never manifest.  What is that passage in the bible - something about "faith without works is dead"?   It's also why I say if someone isn't threatening or in opposition of some kind to a trafficking group - then they're not a threat to the traffickers.

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