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Monday, November 9, 2015

JUGGLING THE NUMBERS

In 1988, Joe Conforte, the man who owned the Mustang Ranch legal brothel in Nevada, decided he wanted to expand the brothels into California, and further into the larger cities of Nevada.  At that time they were still only located in the small rural towns they're in now and this was long before Dennis Hof had even bought his first brothel.  At that time, I think there was maybe three brothels in the whole state, or the whole  USA for that matter, if I remember correctly.

Now HIV/AIDS was raging at the time.  Certainly not a good time to be talking about expanding brothels right?  Depends on how you market it.  I heard Joe had plunked down $1,000,000 to a PR firm in California and that he was having a Bill or Act (I'm not a political science major I can't remember what it was exactly - but it was a law he was having passed).

Now to get people to vote for this, that's why he put this money up with the PR firm.  I get the call to come onto TV against him.  The FCC had laws on the books then that you couldn't talk about a law you were passing without someone who was "opposing" you having "equal" time.  No one wanted to go up against Joe - especially after  Joe murdered that famous boxer down in cold blood on the brothel property in a jealous rage right in front of a cop and not doing one day of jail time in 1976 still fresh on people's minds.  Not with his reputation for violence either.  I wasn't worried because he needed me to get on the air.  Without an "opposing view" he couldn't get on the air so he needed me to cooperate.  I figured it was a great way to get exposure out for our hotline so I agreed to go on TV "opposing" him.  We both got exposure that way.

But I was wondering how he was planning on plugging this idea with everyone so freaked out about HIV/AIDS at the same time.  What he did was whip out some university study claiming that not one of his brothel prostitutes had shown to have HIV/AIDS infection.  So he starts waving this research report around claiming that "if you want to be 100 percent safe - then you need to legalize prostitution and that will put a stop to this epidemic and you'll be safe".

Well that just didn't ring true to me.  Anyone who knows me knows I do digging which is what I did. After a few calls -  I found out that (1) he paid to have the test done which meant the test would have the same objectivity as when the tobacco companies used to order tests done of their product which would come back saying there was "no link" between their product and cancer (when tests done by independent labs had entirely different results), (2) only prostitutes who were licensed to work in his brothel were put into the study meaning  only those who had just been determined to be negative were put into the study as subjects (kind of like stacking the deck there), (3) the testing method used had an incubation period of six months, (4) the prostitutes in the study were fired at four months of employment, (5) there was no follow-up testing done on the prostitutes once they had been fired.

In other words, the test was rigged.   

If the incubation period was six months, and they were negative to start, but taken out of the study at four months time, then clearly NO ONE was going to show up positive because they were eliminated before the virus had a chance to incubate.  Without any follow-up testing done to these same women after the six months period of time  - this was not an accurate test.  Especially since at that time the knowledge of that time reported the virus could take up to 15 years to incubate.  So to be truthful - Joe would have had to follow every one of those prostitutes for 15 years to get an accurate result.  That or use a testing method that incubated faster which actually was available in 1988.  There was one test available that did test sooner than four months that was not used - so yes the test was rigged.

Once I realized this - every time Joe pulled out this claim that "no brothel prostitute is showing HIV/AIDS infection" I started pulling out the REST of the facts about the study.  Needless to say, Joe stopped using that as his marketing angle and I haven't seen the brothels use that angle since.

Now you're not going to convince me that these people connected to the "No Such Thing" campaign  spent all the money, time and energy they did trying to convince everyone not to call a person under the age of 18 a prostitute or sex worker because it is "harmful to their feelings" simply because of one letter from one woman who asked to not be called a "prostitute" for what happened to her.  You know why?  I have taken an informal poll of now 100 trafficking survivors.

Not ex-prostitutes or ex-sex workers but actual ex-trafficking survivors.  I asked them what they thought about this campaign and being called a victim - and to say they're hurt by that term MORE is an understatement.  Ms. Park who was on the John Stossel show recently said in her interview she does not want to be called a "victim" for what happened to her as a minor.  So make that now 101 survivors are offended, angry and hurt at the idea of someone who is not a survivor telling the public what to call us vs. this ONE.

Personally I'm enraged.  How DARE anyone tell the public what to call me when they themselves are not in that category?  The people funding this campaign from what I can tell are the McCain Institute and the California Endowment - not a survivor led group.  Both of these groups are led by wealthy white men who have never been trafficked nor been sexually abused that I'm aware of.  As for Malika Saar - I've not heard she's a survivor either.  I mean who elected these people OUR SPOKESPEOPLE?

So if this was about helping US to get a message across to America about what to call US - THEN THEY WOULD HAVE ASKED US.   But they didn't.  Were they aware of our feelings?  Not only did they not ask us - the largest and oldest group of survivors in this country, or the world for that matter (since we are the ones who founded this very movement in modern times actually), but I even wrote these people, including Sheriff Jim McDonald and the LA Board of Supervisors, and Malika Saar, saying that we would like to be involved in the discussion about this label in September and we got nothing.

The campaign was launched on October 22nd and I had started writing to these people in September about the label hoping to have some kind of input.  I've had a good deal of success before at impacting campaigns by letting them know from a large group of actual survivors how we feel.  But they just weren't listening at all, and were not open to any discussion at all on the subject  - which got my attention.   Why weren't they?  I mean if they were representing "us" - why not talk to "us"?

I come to find out this campaign was not at all going to be launched on October 22nd.  The woman who the letter was supposedly from was already honored LAST YEAR on a red carpet by being nominated by the Ricky Martin Foundation for Time Magazine's "100 Most Influential People".   Strange also because a member of Sex Workers Anonymous had told me they had nominated me for that list last year - and listed off some of my accomplishments INCLUDING FOUNDING THIS MOVEMENT.  But I wasn't named - but Withelma Pettigrew was.

For what?  I went to look up for what and I couldn't find anything.  As I'm digging trying to find out what exactly she's done that's so "influential" I go to thinking that I was the FIRST person to start a meeting in the jail for victims in Los Angeles in 1987.  So I start thinking maybe I need to track down someone from Sybil Brand Institute who maybe can verify we used to hold these meetings.

I start calling the jail, who got me thinking also about how I was the first person to start the first alternative sentencing program for victims in 1988.  I had gone to the California Governor saying that I didn't think it was fair these victims were being incarcerated as criminals when they had been forced to do what had got them arrested and asked him what could be done.  It was the governor who told me that "prostitution might take 100 years to get decriminalized but what you can do right now is set up an alternative sentencing program for them so at least they don't have to go to jail in the meantime" which is what I did.

Now I'm thinking I need to dig up some proof about that - so I go to calling the probation department.  As I'm talking to a guy they told me was some head guy at probation for Los Angeles - he informs me that "they stopped arresting juvenile prostitutes as of January 2015 so the report for arrests for 2015 will be zero".   What threw me off the train here with that information was the fact that the only reliable way we were able to get statistics as to HIV/AIDS rates of infection for prostitutes was with the mandatory testing that's done when one is arrested for prostitution.

But that's only part of it.  Because our society had a problem with prostitutes who were HIV/AIDS positive CONTINUING to work in the sex industry without protection AFTER being diagnosed as positive - that's when a law was passed making it felony manslaughter for a prostitute to know they are infected and then if arrested again for prostitution.

Now it was argued then this was a "violation of their privacy".  However, while I agree that what was does in their personal sex life IS their private information - it is a whole other matter when a person's body is being used against their will to forcibly expose another human being to a deadly incurable virus.  That's a horse of a different color and that's why that law was passed.

Now after this law was passed did it stop?  Hell no.  Which had law enforcement scratching their head wondering why if faced with felony murder charges why would a prostitute then continue to prostitute?  THAT'S when I was able to speak further to our Mayor then trying to clarify the difference between someone who was selling sex voluntarily vs. one who was being forced and when the one forced might also be HIV/AIDS positive.   I mean imagine if you will a victim being trafficked by a gang who knows this woman/man prostitute is HIV/AIDS positive.  That person could be possibly also used not only to make money but also as a WEAPON.

It was through enlightening law makers about this distinction that the law making it a felony for a prostitute who was diagnosed as positive who then was arrested again as a prostitute would then be charged with manslaughter.  People needed help then understanding that no - most people in a non-forced situation when they would learn they were HIV positive would stop prostituting.  Why else would someone know they're facing murder charges if arrested again for prostitution after getting a positive diagnosis unless FORCED?

THIS was when I was able to get Bradley, the CDC, the Health Dept., etc. to coordinate with me on putting together the first ever testing site in W. Hollywood (where a lot of the sex workers didn't have cars and thus were walk-in traffic), where we had a front and back door system.  The site was actually right by Grauman's Chinese Theater.  We had HIV/AIDS positive ex-sex workers hired to work at this testing site for one.  Then whatever the test results, positive or not, would be delivered we would then ask them "are you being forced to prostitute?"  If the answer was "yes" we would then offer to take them out the back door (while their pimp was usually in the lobby by the front door).

A whole program was set up which included housing, food, counseling, medical coverage, vocational rehabilitation, and of course our meetings (when we were called Prostitutes Anonymous), etc.  Everything they needed to literally just walk out that door into a new life was offered them.  We had a "sponsor" there or "advocate" who would walk them through the whole process from start (walking out that door and then filling out the paperwork) to finish (those middle of the night phone calls when wondering if they made the right decision).

Out of this program, an ex-porn performer, Sharon Mitchell, was put into a special medical program where she was made a doctor which was qualified to do testing.  Dr .Sharon Mitchell then went on from this to form AIM - a testing site which was dedicated to the porn industry entirely.  The Mayor then appointed an AIDS "Coordinator" in conjunction with this ground breaking program - http://articles.latimes.com/1988-12-16/local/me-362_1_aids-activists

So there are good solid sound reasons, and laws, why someone identified as a "prostitute" needs to be arrested, and therefore TESTED.   To not do this testing I'm sorry in my opinion makes the county liable for a prostitute then who knows they're positive but continues to work because otherwise, how is the county going to be able to PROVE this person was aware and notified?  We're talking public safety here now is being risked by these girls not being arrested for prostitution and tested for HIV  - not feelings.

I moved back to Los Angeles because a couple of years ago I started hearing what sounds to me like another epidemic brewing.  I've gone into random strip clubs, and massage parlors, and in the red light districts where the street walkers are - and I've talked to the young women who are under the age of 20 AND under the age of 18 years old and these young men and women are NOT on the vaccine for HIV/AIDS and even worse - are not AWARE there's a vaccine.  They further report to me NO ONE is doing ANY HIV OUTREACH/EDUCATION.

Even worse, is the misinformation.  To prove my point - I witnessed a "casting call" for what's called a "gonzo" porn shoot.  What that means in layman's terms is that the female model would then perform oral sex and intercourse - and then be covered in the male ejaculation.   This was a "private" shoot so there was no proof of anyone's health status required before this shoot.  The model who was the subject of the shoot was not advised that she could contract the virus through any orifice - not just vaginal or anal.  For example, if she had just had dental work she could be exposing herself.   This "private label shoot" was just cast a few weeks ago.  THAT'S what's going on in Los Angeles today.

These young people think this virus is under control and they are not carrying condoms because condoms are being "criminalized" again.  Something also Tom Bradley, Chief Gates and Sheriff Block worked together with the prosecutors' office to call off the criminalization of condoms in the 1980's to encourage sex workers to start using, and carrying, condoms to curb the outbreak.  In the 1980's, sex workers used to carry condoms in garters, in condom purses, even "Heidi Wear" that Heidi Fleiss used to sell which was clothing that had condom pockets out of a store she had in Glendale for a while.   In the random testing I've been doing for the last 18 months in Los Angeles NOT ONE of these men and women are using condoms.  However, some of these prostitutes are having as many as 20 sexual contacts per day unprotected with no records as to who these people are being kept by anyone.

Nor have they been tested.  A victim of trafficking is only going to go where her, or his, pimp takes them.  Now - do you think a pimp is going to take them for testing voluntarily?  We used to get a lot of them in for testing in the 1980's by paying them.  If it meant money, and business was slow, yes we would get pimps to bring in their victims not thinking for one moment we'd be taking them out the back door and security escorting them back out the front door.  As a matter of fact - we used to advertise the test site as a porn shoot.  We put out a "casting call for $50 for a quick shoot".  We did this specifically to throw off the pimp.  Then we would take a photo of the male or female (clothed) and then test them and pay them.

After having lived through the 1980's - trust me - I'm familiar with "numbers juggling".  When Las Vegas got back one report in the early 90's showing their prostitutes had an 80 percent infection rate - oh boy did they change their policy of arresting, and testing, prostitutes FAST.  That's when Las Vegas instituted the "24 hour hold" policy for prostitutes which essentially makes them invisible for reporting purposes.

Instead of arresting them for prostitution now - the police were instructed to do one of two things to most prostitutes.  If caught at a hotel or casino - they're taken to security.  They're photographed, fingerprinted, and put into the facial recognition system.  Then they're told if they come back onto the property again they'll be arrested for trespassing and told they are trespassing now and escorted off the property.  They're then told they can't ever come back onto the property again or they'll be arrested for trespassing - NOT prostitution.

If caught on the street and not a hotel - they're taken to Clark County Detention and put on a "24 hour hold" for trespassing or "loitering too close to a bus stop".   They're not arrested.  They are simply held for 24 hours and then let go.   The women report to me they first get a 24 hour hold, then a 48 hour hold, then a 72 hour hold.  After that THEN they get arrested for solicitation.   Meaning their first solicitation arrest is actually their 4th arrest.  The problem with this system is not only does this not give an accurate number of prostitutes in Las Vegas needing help - but it also doesn't give us an idea what's going on with HIV/AIDS.  

When I first heard about this policy I went to the Las Vegas Mayor then - Oscar Goodman.  I asked him "why?"  He said "because it's bad for tourism to hear that 80 percent of our prostitutes are HIV positive that's why - it's bad for business and bad for our image".

It also makes it really hard to get funding for HIV/AIDS services for prostitutes when we can't get an accurate reporting either.  When a prostitute is not getting mandatory testing which is done when arrested for prostitution - they either don't get tested at all - or if they do get tested there is no system in place with their private testing to alert anyone at the CDC or elsewhere that these are prostitutes coming down with this virus.  Are they going to tell their private doctor they're a prostitute?  Highly unlikely CONSIDERING IT'S A CRIME.  Would you tell your doctor you're a professional bank robber?  Unlikely.

This is further complicated by the fact MOST TRAFFICKING VICTIMS SEE AN "IN HOUSE" DOCTOR WHO KEEPS NO RECORDS AND DOES NOT REPORT TO THE CDC.  If you don't what this is - this is a doctor who may, or may not, be licensed, who agrees to see the prostitutes either "in trade" or for a higher cash fee, who does not report to the CDC when someone comes up with an STD like HIV.

If my suspicion is right, and that maybe, just maybe, there are no prostitution arrests for juveniles in Los Angeles in 2015 because someone doesn't want them to be tested for HIV - then why why why why would Los Angeles possibly be trying to cover up numbers of possible HIV/AIDS infection rates of prostitutes for 2015?  Either covering them up or artificially making them appear to drop dramatically?

Follow the money folks . . . . http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/03/20/will-california-legalize-prostitution-next-inside-the-crowd-sourced-fundraising.html

Now look at the dates between the two campaigns.   Notice anything?  There is a direct link between the time frame of this "No Such Thing" campaign AND the push to get prostitution LEGALIZED in California.  Coincidence?  https://reason.com/blog/2015/10/21/california-assemblyman-we-have-to-distin

There is a TREMENDOUS amount of media going on right now trying to separate the idea of "trafficking victim" and "sex worker" in the minds of the public right now.  Example - we have Jada Pinkett-Smith going to Atlanta with CNN to show the "horrors of sex trafficking" which of course was showing nothing but what now . . . street prostitution.

Then what does she do LITERALLY ONE WEEK AFTER the CNN Freedom Project about child sex trafficking?  She comes out promoting Magic Mike XL like strip clubs have NOTHING to do with trafficking.

What?  Either she's very stupid and hypocritical which is possible OR this is marketing to create a distinction between trafficking and prostitution - and the upper levels of the sex industry to make it appear there's a difference between the two in the minds of the general public.

The very first person in modern times to speak up to the public about being a trafficking victim in America as an American was Linda Lovelace.  She wrote in her book released in 1980 "Ordeal" that not only was she forced to make the porn film "Deep Throat" with a gun pointed at her from off camera by her pimp while no one on the set stopped him but she was also forced to PROSTITUTE and STRIP.

The strip club in NJ that was busted recently owned by DEA agents - where the dancers were not only illegal aliens but were also TRAFFICKED.   Recently two Chicago cops were using a 14 year old girl's photo for porn AND trafficking her - so she was being prostituted and used in porn.

Don't you people understand yet - TRAFFICKING IS NOT PROSTITUTION.  APPLES ARE NOT ORANGES.  Now apples and oranges are fruit.  They're within the same family but not the same thing.  Meaning that within the sex industry there are trafficking victims.  Just as in the farming industry - there are trafficking victims.  Just as in the hospitality industry - there are trafficking victims.  In ANY industry where there is a high demand with a low level of people willing to do the work - you have trafficking victims who are used to fill in the gaps.

Now the sex industry includes minors and adults.  The sex industry includes males, females and trangenders.  The sex industry includes prostitutes, strippers, porn performers, web cam performers, escorts, even madams such as Jeane Palfrey, the DC Madam who told me about being trafficked before her death (which I still believe was a murder so she couldn't explain all about that at the hearings that were set up for her to testify at).

I mean you tell me one good reason why a juvenile in California is not being arrested on prostitution charges?  Okay you don't want to call them a "prostitute".  Okay got it.  So what is happening to them?  I was told by someone who works with juvenile prostitutes that "oh they are being arrested - just for something else".  Okay so they are still being branded a CRIMINAL then.

Let me get this straight.  We don't want to call them "prostitutes" or "sex workers" but we want to call them "victims" and "CRIMINALS"?

Now a few people who work with juveniles told me that all of this is simply because the people doing this are "crazy".  I don't believe those people are crazy or stupid.  I'm sorry but I just don't believe that about these people.  I think they're very intelligent.

So what would this be about?  I do know that as of right now in Los Angeles for 2015 there is NO accurate report anywhere of juvenile prostitutes HIV test results.   I do know that there is also a huge campaign going on to legalize prostitution.  I don't just mean Maxine Doogan's lawsuits either.  Because her lawsuits didn't get the California Committee on Public Safety to call a hearing on the subject.  A committee which by the way would be considering HIV TEST RESULTS.

If the people that did this are "crazy" then maybe they're "crazy like a fox".  I mean to get the rates to show up zero at the same time the committee on public safety is thinking about legalizing prostitution?  Now this makes a lot more sense to me about why all these people are spending all this time and money on suddenly taking such an interest in what the public labels us - even more than the FACTS that there ARE CHILD PROSTITUTES AND SEX WORKERS IN NEVADA.

Because every time I bring up to them that maybe we should be talking about the fact that a 16 year old in Nevada can get a license to work at a legal brothel before she's old enough to drink, smoke, vote or drive - they're not interested in that.

Which is why I don't buy that they give one shit about juvenile prostitutes.  We're being exploited again pure and simple.  The question is why?  I think this is probably why and the problem is at what cost?  Also, how are we going to follow these young people at whatever name you want to call them?
Because the "No Such Thing" campaign essentially just made them disappear right off the 2015 police report statistic for arrests for juvenile prostitutes for the year.  It literally did make them "no such thing".  So how do we follow up on them?  How do we know they're okay?  Where did they go?
Trust the system?  Are you fucking kidding me?






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