Read your article. http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-california-trafficking-task-force-20151119-story.html I'd love to ask you this question.
First, let me introduce myself. IF you look at the news clips at www.hightechmadam.com you'll see I was arrested in 1984 for supposedly "running a brothel". Only think about it - a warehouse with high tech security equipment next to the police station? What the warehouse was in reality was the first safe house for adult sex trafficking victims. I had rescued a woman whose pimp had broken her arm and nose who was sleeping in the warehouse when the pimp tried to break in to drag her back. He couldn't get it and he couldn't shoot up the place without the police hearing the noise (why we put it there).
So he calls in a tip that the place was a "brothel". The woman was on probation for prostitution and answered the door in her PJ's. Of course to the police a woman answering the door of a warehouse in her PJ"s who is a prostitute must mean the place is a brothel. We sorted it out and she testified against the pimp. The charges against me were dropped. but I now had a problem.
Clearly I couldn't just go on doing rescues without going out to change the world. At that time in history calling the police to say someone was being trafficked met with the same response as if I were to call them up today saying little green men from mars were trafficking victims and our legal system needed to change to help these victims. If you even told a therapist back then about sex trafficking they would literally try and lock you up for observation thinking you were hallucinating. The world then believed sex trafficking had died years ago with the days of the Barbary Coast.
So I contacted Edwin Meese who had prepared the Meese Report. He told me if we formed a 12 step program we could provide "alternative to sentencing" for the victims until such time as we could change the laws of the land and get people to realize this was happening. So in 1987 we launched the first hotline for adults (Children of the Night had a hotline for teens), along with our 12 step program. With then mayor Tom Bradley's help we also put together the first alternative sentencing program, the first outreach to the sex industry, and set about for the first time getting social services and our legal system to view these victims as such and not criminals.
Meaning I'm the founder of the modern day sex trafficking movement. We achieved federal recognition when the Trafficking Act of 2000 was passed. So all of this is very new. While I spent 13 years going on national media explaining that sex trafficking was real, was happening in the USA, and was happening to American men and women (not just the Chinese here or only in other countries as previously thought) - I'm still dealing with a world who doesn't understand the differences between prostitution, pimping and sex trafficking.
We didn't start this movement to have every sex worker branded a "victim". We started this movement because it was open season on us by everyone. If you look back at our history here in Los Angeles in the 1980's - we had a record number of serial killers targeting prostitutes. The Grim Reaper case alone took 25 years to get resolved. Even these victims mothers protesting in the streets the police were "doing nothing" about these murders didn't have an impact until years later when a reporter started putting pressure on them in the 2000's. We wren't just "whores" in the eyes of the police and the public - but also criminals because prostitution is illegal. This meant that we were not only being forced to work as prostitutes against our will, but also sold, kidnapped, murdered, robbed, raped, etc., with no one caring. If you doubt how bad it was/is - I ask you to name me one case even today where a known prostitute has filed rape charges and won anything but a "theft of services" award?
Pimps are one thing - but traffickers another. Trafficking doesn't exist without two things - the first is a connection with drugs through organized crime. Prostitutes are used as drug mules and dealers to further protect their pimps from drug charges. The way cocaine in the 80's for example got from the docks, to being processed by gangs in south central, into the homes of the Hollywood elite was in the purses of high-class escorts ordered through madams like I was back then.
The second is corruption. Those boats and planes with drugs didn't get into this country without someone being greased or even being a part of the operation. In the 1980's I was witnessing Iran Contra. If you don't know what that is - it's where our CIA was raising cash to buy guns for the Contra's by selling cocaine. So they brought the cocaine into this country through the gangs of Los Angeles who also got the blame. It wasn't the CIA being blasted on the 11:00 o'clock news - it was the gangs. Images of battering rams in south central crack houses were being shown in major media as where the drugs were coming from without even asking the question - how did it get into south central when most of those kids couldn't even drive a car let alone a boat or plane? Look at even the movie "American Gangster" showing the drugs were coming into NY on military planes in caskets from Asia.
When I set up these first projects in Los Angeles - the authorities then knew what I was dealing with. Victims who can't call law enforcement for help because in the cases of trafficking victims - that's who they're running from. So we used our hotline and these calls were, and are, answered by another survivor on the assurance we're not connected with law enforcement. Why is this important to a victim? http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/When-Jailbirds-Sing-It-was-the-pure-savagery-of-3018647.php This is why. Margo was calling for help in the 1970's. The police weren't equipped even to help her and it resulted in her murder and her children's. Corruption aside - the system didn't even understand she had to be put into special protection so this wouldn't happen for what she did. Her story is why I had a secured warehouse with surveillance cameras and special security - again completely unheard of in 1984 when I'd set this up - but necessary.
Is this still happening? Of course. Look at the cases of Kemp Schiffer, Chris Butler, the DEA agents who owned a strip club in NJ who was trafficking dancers, as well as the recent news of two cops in Chicago who were trafficking a 14 year old girl.
Two years ago, a woman called me up who resides in Pasadena to tell me she was being trafficked by people connected to Liang Yaohui. http://sinosphere.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/05/29/trial-of-chinese-hotelier-features-accusations-of-prostitution/?_r=0 This was before his arrest. She'd been forced to work as a prostitute since she was 8 years old and she was now turning 50. Her son was entering UCLA and she wanted to quit. She told them she was quitting to accept a marriage proposal to a man in Florida - only to find herself being drug out of her home by two police officers where she was then slapped with two phony prostitution charges. She was then told if she didn't "go back to work" that they'd hit her with a 3rd which would get her deported wherein she would then be slapped with a charge that would get her the death penalty in China. They had photos of her they'd made by drugging her and forcing her to pose with her sister - a crime punishable by death in China. They further threatened to charge her son, who had now turned 18, with "pimping" for receiving money from her earnings as a prostitute and ruining his life.
She came to me because I run the only hotline and program for those who are dealing with this type of thing. This woman can't call the police for help nor just go into some homeless or domestic violence shelter. They're not equipped for her type of situation. No sex trafficking "safe house" in Los Angeles is set up for that type of victim yet. I obtained an attorney for her who set about to try and see if her story about the fake charges were even true by ordering a copy of her booking video first. In response, he was threatened by a police officer and attorney. I then went to speak to her - whereupon I was threatened by a police officer. I have recorded the threat made to me by the way.
I've been getting so many calls from Los Angeles over the last two years by women identical to her story, as well as prostitutes informing me they're HIV positive who also had slept with Charlie Sheen, that I started getting alarmed. Then so many members of SWA started telling me of other alarming things going on out here they were begging me to relocate out here again so I could get back re-involved with the legal system in order to do something about these issues. So I did. I moved out here about a year ago. In fact, right before Jim McDonnell's election.
I was told that "there was nothing he could do" about these complaints I was hearing about until he was elected into office. After he was elected into office - I was told there was "nothing he could do" until he was inaugurated. Then I was told "nothing could be done" until he "formed his policy". Then I was told "nothing could be done" until he obtained his grant money.
Well now he's obtained his grant money. The ACLU has been awarded money to do something about the police corruption in this town. I've written to every Internal Affairs office I can find about these threats I've received, and other prostitutes have received from men in law enforcement. So James - I'm writing to ask you to please ask Jim McDonnell when exactly he's going to be willing to talk to me about what our members are coming to me about.
We already know Charlie Sheen has now admitted to spending over $10 million dollars to try and cover up his HIV status. I have no doubt that has something to do with why the police stop arresting juvenile prostitutes in 2015. The reason is because mandatory HIV testing is required when one is arrested for prostitution. So we now do not have any accurate HIV results for 2015.
Which is a real threat to public health and safety being that we have a confirmed HIV epidemic in Tijuana. Anyone knows the Mexican Cartel is trafficking women from Tijuana into San Diego, and thus the rest of this country. There's video footage of them bringing women in from Mexico right into the fields down in southern California. This was in 2008 - meaning that yes this is why I'm now getting the same amount of phone calls into our hotline now that I used to get in the 1980's HIV epidemic.
Only what's different now is when I saw this epidemic in the 1980's affecting sex workers and I started contacting the CDC, and people like Mayor Tom Bradley and Edwin Meese - these men did something about the situation. I however can't get Jim on the phone. I've asked to even be put on the list to be notified of when there are meetings with respect to this trafficking task force - and can't get anything out of anyone. They act like we don't exist in fact.
Which is ironic James because if not for me and my big mouth - they wouldn't have a task force to begin with. What they're doing is the same as setting up a DUI court while trying to act like Bill Wilson and AA don't exist. But that's the difference between us and AA - no one forces the alcoholic to drink against his will. So James - can you please ask Jim for me what he's going to do about any of this?
Leave it up to Kevin Brown? http://www.latimes.com/local/great-reads/la-me-c1-prostitute-squad-20131002-dto-htmlstory.html Only problem with that is that all this publicity about this so called "outreach" was used to create the so called reality series "8 Minutes". Which was exposed in April of 2015 as being completely bogus. It was scripted and staged with actors. There was no outreach. It was all one big "catfish". Someone should have figured that out when Greg Reese and Kevin Brown were trying to do "outreach" while also acting like our program which started the movement out here didn't exist either.
Or D'Lita Miller? The technical consultant for "8 Minutes" who helped stage the fraud? The producers of "8 Minutes" by the way are being sued by their investors for fraud. They were also told the show was "reality" when it was not and they lied about a lot of other things. So they're in bankruptcy proceedings right now. When I contacted Ms. Miller to ask her why she would help stage a fraud upon the public about a fake rescue operation - she said it was because they were "trying to raise money to create resources". I explained to her there ARE resources. Right here and I have a huge database of resources I offered to share with her so they could pass them along to victims who actually believed them and reached out for help.
She blocked my calls after that. Had another fund raiser to go to I guess. Well no actually she admitted she was forced to be silent because of the confidentiality agreement she'd signed with Relativity Media.
So my questions remain. Up until two years ago, if I needed to get a victim out away from a trafficker - we just did it. With victims of Snoop Dogg, Chris Butler, Kemp Schiffer, and others I can't talk about because they're not in the papers let so I can without violating confidences - I just got them out. However, we have a whole new technology now to deal with that didn't exist a few years ago. The phones of these victims are tapped. My phones are being tapped. We are under surveillance as you know by the NSA. Surveillance corrupt police can easily access.
Meaning we can't organize rescues anymore without being overheard. RICO laws were written because you can arrest someone in a criminal operation - but the operation goes on. Which is what happened in Wichita with respect to the victims there of this operation connected to Liang Yaohui. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/24/gary-kidgell-yan-zhang-sex-trafficking-kansas_n_3647993.html The ring is also part of this - http://www.buzzfeed.com/sheerafrenkel/former-usc-students-indicited-selling-trade-secrets-to-china#.sim7W46Aa so they're quite sophisticated technologically as you can tell by this article.
The victims in Wichita were set free because prosecutors there were wiling to arrest the pimps despite the death threats and the corruption. In fact, the arresting officer was fought so hard by other officers who were on the payroll to get these arrests he waited until he retired from the police force. He then got hired at the Zoning Dept. From there he was able to gather the evidence which led to these arrests.
Now I have plenty of information tying Gary Kidgell, and those connected to the heads of this operation as being connected in Pasadena. I've been told "nothing can be done" until a "complaint is filed with the Pasadena police". Only they're the ones who have threatened the victims and even myself. So I can't do that. I've gone to Internal Affairs who tells me there's nothing they can do - they just had files burned over their objections for the last five years. I've gone to City Council who tells me they're "busy" with $6 million dollars stolen. I've gone to the politicians who tell me there's "nothing they can do" until a police report has been filed. I went to the Attorney General's office who told me there was an investigation being done already into the police and we had to wait "until the report was done".
Well the report's been done. And redacted and revised. I've gone to the ACLU who tells me Jim's been stalling them about doing anything they want to do.
So James - can you ask Jim what he plans on doing about any of this? I've love to hear about it because in the meantime we have a serious problem. Women who may be HIV positive are being forced to work as prostitutes without protection, testing or prevention. I started to go out in the streets to do an outreach campaign about the signs the state has now required to be posted in places like massage parlors and strip clubs thinking that while we were hanging signs we could also do some HIV outreach. Only I got threatened again by the police with a "5150" campaign. So I can't subject myself or other SWA members to being carted off like Sandra Bland possibly to do outreach unless I know I have the support of the police behind me.
I've love to hear what answers you get because I'm not getting any. I asked to speak at the HEAT conference about these issues and they told me there was "no time for public comments".
PS - Dear James: In reading further at the bottom of your article I see Merrill Ladenheim is actually going to be the head of the task force now. http://www.loscerritosnews.net/2014/06/17/cerritos-sheriff-captain-abruptly-transferred-to-lakewood/
PSS - James: Could you please ask Merrill Ladenheim if he's still feeling the same way about Tanaka now he's head of the trafficking task force? http://abc7.com/news/exclusive-abc7-eyewitness-news-obtains-lasd-trial-evidence/350453/
Especially in light of the charges of skimming money from a foster group home? http://witnessla.com/category/paul-tanaka/