To understand the sex industry you have to think in terms of a "family" dynamic. Now what outsiders don't understand is that "pimping" and "trafficking" are two different things. In the sex industry there is the "pimp/whore" relationship. It mirrors pretty much a "father - daughter" dynamic. The "madam" is a mother figure. The average age for one to enter prostitution is about 12'13 years old from what I've seen. Anyone working with trauma knows that one emotionally stops growing at the age of the trauma - which in our case is usually anywhere from about 4 to 8 years of age. So you have young women who have the emotional growth of about n 8 year old on average of maturity level. They then seek out the daddy figure with the pimp and the mother figure with the madam.
Then abuse used to be like the "family dirty secret". Now I've watched how child abuse, rape and domestic violence have been coming out of the closet. I've also grown up at a time when people just didn't talk about these things - they were considered things you "handled behind closed doors" and "kept within the family". Take the dynamic of domestic violence. Police would say they'd go out to try and help a woman who had just been beaten the crap out of - but then when they would step in to arrest him the woman would turn and attack them. This confused them. It wasn't until more education came out for the police they not only understood what on earth was happening - but then started changing the way they dealt with domestic violence calls and then the law. The laws were changed to where the victim didn't have to press charges for that reason - it became the state who prosecuted. One of the reasons for that is because the batterer would often retaliate or threaten the victim into not pressing charges. This way it took pressure off the victim because he knew she wasn't the one pressing charges.
The "pimp/whore" relationship is much like that. If you read Linda Lovelace's book "Ordeal" - you'll hear her talk about how her pimp/husband/manager would beat her on porn sets and no one one that set would stop it nor call the police. But that parallels not only the way it used to be with respect to domestic violence, but also rape. If you listen to the women who say Bill Cosby raped them - what do you hear? You hear more than one of them talking about being on the set of the "Cosby Show" where everyone is hearing something is wrong and everyone is ignoring them. This is why I've said that prostitutes are the "canary in the mine" for "straight' women. The world let it happen to Linda and now 40 years later we're hearing it was being done to actresses on the Bill Cosby set.
Back in the 1970's when this was happening to Linda - the porn industry was very different than it is now. If you don't know what I mean by that - watch "Boogie Nights". It's a very realistic film in my opinion. When I saw Ron Jeremy was a technical consultant - I could see why it was so real. It documented how we didn't have digital cameras back in the 1970's. So to make an adult film was an expensive process. It was born in Los Angeles because of the "out of work" lighting men, sound men, editors, stage designers, etc. In between making horror movies or romantic comedies - people who worked in the film industry could be hired to cut film.
Again, back then someone who would actually put themselves on film was a different kind of girl. A lot of women would prostitute. A lot would even strip. But to put yourself on film was a whole other thing. Some women would even do Playboy - but to be in a hardcore film back then wasn't just doing a film. When you became a Linda Lovelace yes you were celebrated by the male fans - but you were branded for life. No one would hire Linda to work in their office trust me - making an adult film back then had you crossing a line you could never cross back over anymore than a cucumber can become a pickle again.
When Linda came forward about what happened to her - it mirrored what happened to any woman who broke silence about abuse. If you watch the way the world is reacting to the Bill Cosby fans - then you'll see how people reacted to Linda. While you had some people who believed her - you had others who didn't. Also, you're seeing very few people who worked with Bill willing to step up even now and say something. You know why? Because they know they'll never work again. So the very people who watched her being kicked and threatened and beat on the set of "Deep Throat" felt Linda violated the "family code of shame" with her revelations.
You have to understand the dynamics also. The film was produced by the Mitchell brothers with mob financing. These were people you just didn't cross. Honestly, it's why I only dipped my toe into porn and backed out. When I got involved in producing a few porn films in the early 1980's I was told that it was controlled tightly by a few people you didn't want to mess with. I was trying to avoid those kind of relationships once I got out of my own "family" situation within sex work. But people closed rank on her - feeling violated she broke the "code of silence" not only about the porn industry but about domestic abuse.
That's why just about everyone in the porn industry said she was "just jealous of Marilyn Chambers". Marilyn was now making films with Linda's ex-pimp and they had films to produce. It was great for sales - nothing sells like controversy. So the customers went and ate up tickets to see Marilyn to see if they felt she was being abused like Linda claimed Chuck was doing. What the outside world didn't know was he was plying Marilyn with drugs at the time. I can say that now she's passed away but she showed up in NA the same year as me in 1985 and she confirmed what I had suspected - Chuck had been plying and controlling her with drugs so of course she said anything to the news people he wanted her to. Which is why I say the "pimp whore" relationship is very much like that of the typical domestic violence relationship.
Meaning yes they are "victims" in a sense. But as such, you remove them from the situation before many of them resolve their own issues - and guess what? They're going to find another person to exploit and abuse them. Just as an addict will replace one drug for another, and escalate to a harder drug each time. Linda left her pimp in porn yes - but instead she hooked up with these anti-pornography pimped who pimped her like a dog and then cast her aside like trash once they were done with her. It's why even though she came forward before me talking about being a trafficking victim - I don't credit her for starting the movement. Her story was paraded around by the anti-pornography people to try and shut down porn. That's never going to happen.
Now if she'd come in saying she wanted to change the laws so that when it happened to another girl on a set they could call and get help - then I'd credit her with founding this movement. But she didn't. She found someone else to exploit her, use her, and then dump her. Basically the "dry drunk" of a prostitute - I can show you a pattern of how many of them do that. Look at how Annie Lombert then had Pastor Benny Perez for example use her to raise over million dollars for "Destiny House" and then file bankruptcy. She couldn't leave because she had married one of his relatives! So being tied to him by blood (again identical to how pimps operate) she instead came back from Africa to help him clean up the mess and stay silent about the way he used her.
With traffickers - it's a whole other dynamic. The victims, whether male or female, are treated like one would treat a herd of cattle. They are bought from parents, social workers, etc. or straight up kidnapped. The women who taught me the sex industry told me her mother sold her to the circus people for $50. One of our early members of our program told me he was sold by his social worker to a pimp for $1500. The children are then told "this is your new mommy or daddy" and they go along. They don't know any differently. Then others are kidnapped or just controlled. The prostitutes working with Chris Butler were shown that he had friends in high places within the police department. They then knew they needed to do as they were told or they could kiss their ass goodbye. Again, when you can't, or feel you can't, go to the police - then who do you call?
That's what our hotline was in 1987. We were the ones to call when you couldn't call anyone else. Since there had been no group before us, no textbook, no manual, etc. We had to create our own. AA had the Big Book and NA had the Basic Text. So we needed to write our book. We didn't even know what our first step was - that was something we had to find out from our members wo showed up. I learned Bill Wilson wrote the Big Book and that surprisingly Jimmy Kinnon did not write the Basic Text. Instead, he believed the fellowship should write their book as a "we" program then "we" should write their recovery guide. I agreed with that - especially knowing escorts and madams. For us, we had to get out of the being the center of attention and into the "we" so I learned more about how the BT was written. We decided that we would write our "Recovery Guide" through the group conscience process.
We didn't even know what our program was when we started. The models of AA and NA were over a disease. Prostitution is not disease. So what is our 1st step? What are we "powerless" over? These are things we had to explore and answer before publishing our official views in our book. So from 1987 until 1991 when the final draft was written - the book was a "work in progress".
Now to make sure it was only "us" writing the book - we screened out everyone but members. There was a lot of curiosity about us at the time as you might imagine. I had writers, reporters, researchers, all asking me to "let me sit in on a meeting". The problem with that was not only would that make the others uncomfortable - but it would taint the writing process we were going through at each meeting. So I would block them out. You only got into a meeting in Los Angeles at that time if you convinced me you were in fact a sex worker wanting help to quit, or an ex-sex worker wanting support to stay out. One or the other.
I remember this one woman coming in and getting very friendly with me and the other members. She was telling me she was having trouble sleeping and needed to talk to someone at night. I was having to be to work at 8:00 a.m. in a law office so I couldn't talk to her at midnight. So I gave her the phone number to the chair of our NY meeting. This woman represented herself to be one of us, and gave us every assurance not only that she was not a researcher, or writer, but that everything she was told was told to her in confidence. At every meeting we read "what is said here stays here". When we spoke to her - it was not "officially" but as a woman presenting herself to us as someone being in crisis.
Suddenly she disappeared about 1994. That was the year of the Sherman Oaks earthquake so I honestly lost touch with a lot of people that year. The earthquake destroyed all of my paper files, and my phone book. The computer went flying across the apartment and shattered - so there went my database. I literally lost all of the phone numbers of every chapter of SWA in the earthquake. If I didn't have the phone number memorized - I didn't have a way of reaching them. No one could call me because the phone lines went down for two weeks for one thing. Then I picked up and got married and moved to Nebraska shortly after that - so I had a new phone number in Nebraska. We didn't have internet in 1994. There was no websites, no emails. So I truly had a huge break from many members of SWA that year. Some members knew my mother - so they got ahold of me through her. Some thought to write me and got ahold of me that way. But basically I lost touch with a lot of members in 1994 - so I just kind of wrote her off as being one of them.
In 1994, people started treating me very strange. I actually wrote it off to the move to Nebraska. I honestly didn't know what was wrong - but something was wrong. People started being cold to me instead of the typical warm response. What really tripped me out was how our book sales just plummeted almost overnight to zero. We were literally selling 1,000 books a month - mostly to the chapters that were meeting around the country. I would sent something like 20 books a month to Chicago and another 20 a month to Phoenix and another 20 to Cincinnati. Then like overnight Cincinnati just stopped ordering. But for all I knew it was the break caused by the move and the earthquake. I had no way to reach anyone to find out what was wrong because again all my phone numbers had been destroyed in the earthquake.
What really perplexed me was how all these people seemed to have a copy of our Recovery Guide that I knew were not members. The working drafts were only given to members so they could read it and input it for me. I didn't give any to "outsiders" because it was a work in progress. It wasn't done yet. I was making sure I got input from as many members, and even non-members who were ex-sex workers, as I could so that it would really reflect as much of the general views as possible.
It got worse each year. People would be reading quotes to me out of the book and I hadn't sold or given them the book. They were also quoting the draft of the book - not the final version. When I would ask them "where did you get that?" they would shut down on me and refuse to answer. Then the attacks started. People started lashing out at me about what they "thought" we were - not what we were. I would fight back and say "that's not true - where are you getting that idea from?" and again they would just retreat in anger with no explanations given.
I started having this problem with people putting videos up online they were signing my name to. They were asking for money or asking for support for legislation that we can't do. As a 12 step program - we can't ask for money in fund raisers as we are "self-supporting declining outside contributions) and we "don't have an opinion on outside issues." So I can't express an opinion either for nor against say pornography. Yet www.antipornography.org had posted more than one video signed by my name. So I was having to google myself once a week to find these videos, and websites, and fund raisers, and then go to threaten legal action to the people behind get these videos either removed or my name removed. But I was still getting people calling up to yell at me like these videos were done by me. I'd explain "I didn't know anything about this" and of course not be believed.
In the process of this self-googling - I learned something pretty shocking to me. First, I learned that Celia Williamson on the University of Toledo had opened a Prostitutes Anonymous meeting in Toledo, Ohio as part of Second Chance. That's an alternative sentencing group it appeared to be where she obtained grant money with an application where she cited she was holding PA meetings to get the money. Strange - i don't remember giving her permission to do this since she's not an ex-prostitute nor did I receive any portion of that money either. When I confronted Celia - her response was "well it didn't work so I just dropped it" like somehow that made it okay. Well first of all, of course it "didn't work" because SHE'S NOT AN EX-PROSTITUTE.
What would the chances be of a non-alcoholic setting up an AA meeting? About zero I'd say. She also made it sound like she had dropped the meetings years ago - only the information I was finding on Google was making it appear to be quite current. What was even stranger is that I've been talking to Celia since 1994 regularly and not one peep out of her about this meeting. Meaning I wasn't able to refer anyone in the area to her meeting, nor was anyone at her meeting being referred to us. Well of course not because if someone was told about us then I'd know what was going on and then I'd come and shut the whole thing down. So again we know why it was NOT WORKING. This is a SPIRITUAL program. One where if it's bred in secrecy and lies THEN OF COURSE IT WON'T WORK. But hey she got her grant money so who gives a fuck about us right?
Also in the process of googling, I came across this lovely piece of literature by Shannon Bell. https://books.google.com/books?id=bpZRowUJfgUC Curious why our name was in the book I bought a copy. As you can see it's for sale currently and has been since 1994. If I could drink now in my recovery I would have gone on a bender when I opened this book and read almost 2/3 of the draft of our Recovery Guide reprinted word for word. Not our FINAL version we all had agreed upon as a fellowship but a working draft that I had given her.
What do I mean by "given her"? When i read the quotes in the book supposedly coming from me I remembered the conversations. This was a woman who presented herself to me to be a woman wanting to leave the sex industry. She came to my house for dinner. We went to coffee together. She came to meetings and said she was one of us. The woman who runs our NY chapter - she obtained that phone number through deception. Every word was said to her not only in confidence but in trust thinking she was "one of us". She also wrote things I had made sarcastic cracks about as if I'd seriously said them. Reading what she wrote - i suddenly realized what was behind all this cold hostility that I had started getting off people post-1994 - they were responding to having read this crap in her book.
Let me ask you something - if you're married and you have a fight with your husband and then go out with a trusted girlfriend to vent you're going to say all kinds of things. Now if that girlfriend calls him up the next day and says "well she said you're a no-good loser who is just like your dad" and stuff like that - the husband is going to know she was upset and letting off steam. Not that she meant it. Also, sometimes when someone is upset you say things to calm them down. What you're saying isn't what you necessarily believe - but you're saying it to calm the other person down. I mean this woman took personal comments, and sarcastic cracks and stuff said during personal midnight conversations where we thought we were talking to a friend and she published these statements in a completely distorted out-of-context type of way.
These professors have seriously damaged us in many ways. I realized looking at Shannon's book why our book sales dropped off so severely - people are thinking they've got most of our book reprinted in her book. She did not print that the material was a draft - a work in progress that was significantly changed before we finalized it in 1992. That's why we opened in 1987 but did not publish the book until 1992 - we were writing it. But to gain our trust like that and then reprint personal comments as if they were official views - I mean what's wrong with this woman?
I approached Shannon when I found out and let's just say she could care less about the damage being done to us in that book. She's not going to stop selling it either - which leaves me with the only way to stop this misinformation from continuing to spread is to slap her with an injunction. After I realized this woman pretended to be one of us to gain access to a meeting, and our trust, I restructured our screening process to make sure this kind of thing doesn't happen again.
Which is a good thing because for about six months now we've been getting very weird calls that I think are like what Shannon was doing. They say they're a prostitute and they want to come to a meeting when they call. I start asking them the questions I've learned to ask not about their last name, or where they live or work, but to help me identify if they're putting on a show about being a sex worker. After 30 years of answering our hotline and talking to an estimated 500,000 callers - trust me I've come to know what "one of us" sounds like. There is a very predictable pattern of how we talk and act when calling the hotline.
I have not been sure why these weird calls have increased lately but they haven't. Most of them seem to be coming from Los Angeles area codes. I saw an expose on TV about the drug treatment world - how people were going into NA meetings to get the names of addicts, and then writing up reports that said addicts were in treatment, Medicaid billed, and how no one was actually going to the meetings. The reporter showed this one clinic that was supposedly holding group meetings they billed Medicaid for - only when they arrived the meeting hall was empty. So I've watched and seen all the tricks some people do within the drug treatment field over the years I've been in recovery, and working with those leaving prostitution.
What's concerning me is what I call the "rise of the Samoly Mam". I do not believe she was unique. There was Chong Kim and the questions about Rachel Moran. After Ruth Jacobs confirmed with me she lied about having met Catalina Lopez and that Rachel had put her up to confirming this based on their "friendship", and that once Ruth decided not to support Rachel's political work her friendship was over - yes I seriously doubt Rachel Moran's story. After reading her book I totally doubt her story. I'm sorry but there's just some things you can't fake. A holocaust survivor knows another, a veteran knows another, an alcoholic knows another and so too does an ex-prostitute know another. I don't care if it was on a street corner or a fancy hotel - the life of the prostitute is the life of a prostitute. There are just some things that are universal for us that only "insiders" know.
Lately, I've seen it's become quite profitable in fact to say you're a survivor if you shill for the right people. I mean I'm sure that had Samoly Mam not been "outted" who knows how long that gravy train could have gone on. Same with Chong. There's another thing that I've come to see is a pattern with these "faux" survivors. Take a look around my "friends" page. I never added Samoly Mam, nor Rachel, nor Chong Kim. I've actually stumbled onto so many fakes the last couples of years - I've even come to know the pattern of them quite well. So well that when the one started having me check off each box on the list - I finally just said to her "off the record - you're full of shit aren't you?"
To which she confessed because I assured her I wouldn't repeat her name and I won't. I asked her "please tell me why you would lie about being a survivor?" The answer was pretty simple and honest "Why not? I'm getting my college paid for, a book published, paid to speak all over the country and I'm a single mom from a trailer park so why the hell not? I'm lying? No more than some people lie on their resume to get a job so who am I harming?"
Well I'll tell you who it's harming - me. When I started this movement I was educating people. I was educating them not only about the experience of sex trafficking but also about what our needs are. For example, we need a good year off from all work so we can focus on our therapy and recovery. We can't just go right to work at some fast food joint 8 hours a day five days a week and then come home so exhausted all we do is crash. The problem with that is then we don't have time to work on our recovery. Without that, the problems become worse. There's a term called "generalization". Where you get bit by a dog and then you're scared of dogs. But then you start getting scared of anything that's an animal. Then you get scared of anything that moves. Then it's anything that's brown. So untreated - your anxiety starts getting bigger and bigger. This is what happens with us and our PTSD. Before, in the 80's and 90's, I would put our members into disability/vocational rehabilitation. This would give them time to go to school and therapy. That worked and each one of those members I'm speaking to today.
However, now these trafficking programs are putting them into these minimum wage jobs at fast food places for some reason. Well the reason is so they don't get disability. But what is happening is they're working so much they're not given time to work on their emotional and spiritual issues. As a result, I'm hearing about the woman turning tricks in the back room of a Winchells'. I'm hearing about another woman who is doing drugs in the bathroom of the burger shop. Yet another I'm hearing about her pimp picks her up after a shift at the restaurant she works at. Because these women are told if they don't do these jobs they will go to jail - they lie. Thankfully, a few are finding their way to us where they can be honest with us.
I look at the speaking engagements of these I believe to be fakes. They travel all over the country, and even into other countries, to share their story. REAL survivors need to recuperate emotionally for about two weeks after telling their story in public. If they don't, they're libel to start drinking or using, or even worse might start having flashbacks and nightmares again. One real survivor told me of an anti-trafficking group who ran her all over the country speaking for them, helping them raise money, raising awareness, etc. and without time to work on her PTSD, and her bipolar disorder, she was never allowed to stabilize. After two years of this, her bipolar became so severe she found one day she couldn't even comb her hair, get dressed, or even shower. Once she was no longer useful she told me this anti-trafficking advocate threw her out of the house and cast her aside. Used her up and spit her out just like I saw them do with Linda Lovelace. When she got stressed by all the public speaking and needed a transplant - they cast her aside also. Leaving her to make a porn to get the money to save her life. Of course she became so depressed she relapsed again and died from a car crash while driving drunk.
So when these "faux" survivors breeze through this kind of stress - guess what happens when a real survivor can't cope with that same kind of stress? It makes them appear to have something wrong with them instead of it being a sign of what they are. These kinds of false ideas are very harmful to us. Because now instead of just educating people about us - I'm having to first cut through the expectations created by the false survivors. I mean when I explain to people now that if you take a real survivor and put them in front of a 100 people to tell their story - they're going to need to be able to take two weeks off of work, double up on meetings, make sure they get into see their therapist, and have time to recuperate before going on to the next engagement their response is now "well so and so didn't have these kinds of issues". Well "so and so" either wasn't a real survivor, or so and so was taking xanax after the show. Most of our members are not only out of the sex industry, but they're also staying clean and sober, they're not cutting, they're not getting into risky abusive sexual situations, and they're not acting out on their eating disorders. Recovery can be a very delicate balance for us.
I don't think it's going to end soon. Not as long as trafficking survivors are the new "building fund" and "starving orphans in Africa" for the church to raise money with. Which that's already started too. I've grown up in the church. I was ordained at 17 years old. I know how the churches raised money growing up. We have become the new "building fund", the new "school for the starving orphans" and this one is so sexy it brings the husbands in to church. Such a powerful combination - I mean who wants to stare at the starving kids in Africa on a Sunday morning - so now they're advertising "ex-porn stars will speak" and they're packing them in the aisles.
No I don't think it's going to end any time soon. When I see what's going on with addicts right now based on those screen shots I attached, and look at the phone calls I've been getting from people trying to fake their way into our meetings - I think we're a therapist's dream. We've got it all - PTSD, child abuse, sexual abuse, domestic violence, depression, chemical imbalances caused by the prolonged periods of stress, brainwashing, Stockholm Syndrome - I mean those wanting to bill Medicaid are dying to get a shot at one of us. So in the meantime, we've increased our screening process and hope you understand why we're protecting our meetings the way we are. Predators aren't just limited to pimps on a corner.