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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

LETTER TO ADULT PERFORMERS ADVOCACY COMMITTEE

Dear APAC:

This article might explain why we suddenly seemed to have a problem with interacting with your group once James came onto the scene.  When Feminism Is a Brand — HACK GROW LOVE

Contrary to the smear campaign going on against us at the moment - we are not:

1.  Anti-sex work.
2.  A "shame based" program.
3.  Blaming the sex industry for our problems or issues.
4.  Trying to outlaw the industry.
5.  Trying to say everyone is a trafficking victim.
6.  Trying to convince everyone in porn to quit and people not to use porn.

These are but some of the accusations I've been hearing us accused of since 2015.  Why since 2015?

A lot of reasons.  A few include that as a 12 step program when one is found guilty of prostitution, porn charges or even madaming - one can ask the court to court order them to a SWA meeting instead of jail/prison.  The person can ask the judge without hiring an attorney and our program is also free.  At the end of the term of us signing their court cards - the person then presents the signed court cards to the judge.  The judge then has the power in many cases to completely dismiss or expunge the charges.  This is done without changing any laws, setting up any programs, having to hold a fund raiser, etc.  

We have been doing this just fine in many states across the USA since 1987.  Last year a lobbyist who was retained by the Defense Attorney's Association came onto the scene and suddenly groups like SWOP were out raising money to retain attorney's to ask for alternative sentencing on these same charges.  Some were out filing for federal grants and holding fund raisers to set up special "diversion courts" to do what we've been doing for free.  There are more privately owned jails now who work for profit meaning they want the person to have to serve time - not to get "alternatives to sentencing" because attending our program costs them about $150 a day out of their pockets when they attend our meetings.  There were politicians getting their photos in the paper by writing laws to essentially attempt to do what we were already doing.  Cops were getting in on the act and professors.

Take Phoenix, Arizona for example.  Here's an interview with a woman who is describing "before" and "after".  Way We Were  In the "before", we had a group there who did this "alternative sentencing".  Those found guilty of prostitution were offered our meetings to attend vs. jail.  Now the pimps didn't want their women in jail anymore than the jail did - so "you'd better do this" would come out of their mouths.  Then instead of jail (which could be up to two years in some cases), the prostitute would simply attend one meeting a week of our program.  We'd sign a court card and at the end of their term - they'd turn the papers over to the judge. That worked great.

Then Project Rose comes into town.  They get all this federal money. They hold fund raisers.  They set up a special program.   Now women are being grabbed off the streets who even look like prostitutes and they're told "go to Project Rose or we're going to arrest you".  So without being able to defend themselves, and in fears of going to jail, women were just agreeing.   You can hear Jewell describe how things were "after".  

Since the prostitutes knew that we offered this option through many groups like SWOP members, or outreach programs like HIPS, or St. James Infirmary,  and advocates like Margo St. James, or Dave Elms who ran the Erotic Review, they would just ask the court to be able to use us as an option and voila!  

So how do you break this cycle?  How do you get prostitutes to STOP asking the judge to go to SWA meetings?

You got it.  Smear campaigns.

Now how do I counter back?  I moved back to Los Angeles last year.  I contacted APAC and requested to speak at your "exiting the porn industry" panel held I think it was last May.   I had planned on explaining what we do and how we can be of help to those in porn especially.  

Here's an example.  Someone does porn 10 years ago.  They get their degree and set about teaching school.  They get married and have a couple of kids.  Suddenly their porn is discovered.  They are fired and their checks withheld.  Their husband leaves them and takes the kids - suing for custody.   You're not out of a job and need to raise money for a lawyer and a new place to live.  You're older and can't risk doing porn because your husband's attorney might see you doing new porn.  So you go out and work for an escort service.  Only you screw up and get popped for prostitution.  

Happens a lot believe it or not based on our hotline. So now what do you do?  You ask the judge to suspend your sentence on the basis of attending SWA meetings.  The judge agrees.  You are fighting for custody and your husband is throwing the porn at the court as evidence of "not being a good parent".  A member of SWA can go in and testify to the court that this isn't true based on 1,000's of cases we know of for one thing.  We can write a letter to the judge that you have "turned your life around" so the judge won't think you're returning to porn and can feel safe giving you the kids back.  A SWA member can also testify against your employer to get your check, and your pension back based on wrongful termination.  

Most important - you can't hang around active porn performers while this is going on or you'll risk losing your kids and your case.  You don't know who is going to hire you while this is going on in the press.  SWA not only has ex-porn performers you can speak to for moral support who have "been there" but also a list of employers who will hire you despite your record.  Maybe even another ex-porn performer who runs a company of their own now will hire you referred to you through SWA.  

So I asked James Deen if we could please come speak at the panel to let the industry know we exist today for one thing.  Why?  We formed in 1987.  Almost everyone we've worked with in the 80's and 90's has died or retired.  We have a whole new generation of sex workers who don't even know we exist.  The TV's don't run public service announcements like they used to prior to 1995.  So how do I let the 20 year old's new to porn know we exist?   Know we have a list of attorney's who specialize in cases like this who sometimes even donate their hours to help out.  

His response was to tell me that I "had to have coffee with him first".  I didn't understand why we had to meet in person first. I explained I'm disabled now and also caring for my daughter who has a brain tumor.  I'm not paid for this work.  I don't get grants nor hold fund raisers.  I don't charge.  Everything we do is strictly free and volunteer.  So I asked if we could speak on the phone and he insisted on an "in person" meeting.  

Honestly, it wasn't just the lack of time really to take out of my day to do this meeting and then to speak at the panel.  I just didn't understand the need for a "personal" meeting.  This was back about April of 2015.  Now in James defense, I've encountered a lot of "catfish" activity lately in the industry especially in connection with Shelley Lubben.  So I actually do understand now his desire to meet me in person to make sure I'm "real".   Then again, I might have just been feeling something "off".  After reading this article, maybe I was feeling th energy.  https://medium.com/@kittystryker/when-feminism-is-a-brand-cde634625357#.4virnzsbh
After I asked if we could meet by phone rather than in person because it's just very difficult to get out of the house, and I wanted to save that energy for the panel, and then I refused to meet with him for coffee, he then just stopped talking to me.  He wouldn't answer any emails after that.  So I haven't known how to make a connection.

We are experiencing an HIV outreach in the sex industry right now. Meaning we're getting more calls to our hotline from porn performers who are now HIV positive.  Meaning they can't do porn anymore so they're turning to prostitution instead because they don't know how to exit the industry.  They're not experienced in illegal prostitution and too sick to travel to Nevada to work at the legal brothels.  They wind up in trouble.  We can help.  

But we can't help if they don't know us or we exist. So I'm writing you now asking how I can go about meeting with your group so I can be more involved with your members and provide whatever help we can that's useful and needed.  I need to try and introduce us to the younger industry and also try and counter these smear campaigns that have arisen now that money is on the table to do the things we used to do for free before federal recognition of sex trafficking.  Now everyone wants to act like all sex workers are "victims".  Which we know isn't the case - but there are still those who do need help. 

Help they still can't get from law enforcement.  Cops and courts used to get their money arresting prostitutes.  Now they're getting more money for "rescuing" us.  The whole system has gone nuts.  We're not like the Shelley Lubben's out there and the only way I know of to convey that is to ask to meet with you and offer to speak at upcoming events.  

I also produce a radio show at www.leavingtheliferadio.com and I'd love to also do a show on APAC and discuss exiting the industry from other views.  I'm going to start filming the show in January (www.leaving-the-life-tvshow.com.  As part of this show, there's been a law passed requiring signs posted at adult industry sites with the National Trafficking Hotline number.  I'd like to make up signs that fit the legal requirements, and add other hotlines like ours as one example, and then distribute.  Before I do this - I'd like to get some input from your group on the final signs.  I want to make sure everyone is "cool" with what we're doing.  I'm also going to combine this sign campaign with an HIV outreach campaign.  

So please contact me when you get this to see what we can do to speak to each other more about this.

Thank you.

Jody Williams
(702) 468-4529





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