We found this letter in response to Kelly House's article on the Cupcake Girls.  http://www.wweek.com/portland/blog-31998-stripper_responds_to_kelly_house_of_the_oregonian_i_am_no_mary_magdalene.html  My daughter read it by the way who has grown up around sex workers and said "let me get this straight - they sit around the club and get paid without taking their clothes off - boy have they got a hustle going.  Shame they're taking away tips from the ones taking their clothes off or tending bar for living."   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFRSawe33sA  Got to hand it to you Joy - you found a way to get tips with your clothes on as my daughter says!

Look folks Joy married a Christian.  He clearly wanted her out of the business.  She had a baby and can't shake her ass for money any longer but clearly can't leave the lights and music behind.  In AA - they call it a dry drunk.  She's just found a new way to hustle in the club with her clothes on.  

Here's the letter we wrote to Kelly in response:

Kelly - we too had to ask ourselves a very serious question when we formed Sex Workers Anonymous how we were going to do our outreach.  Were we going to go into strip clubs, brothels, porn shoots, and go out and "mingle" with the sex workers and do our outreach?   Is that how we were going to reach them with our message  the way out is over here?

First of all, we had to define what we were doing.  I say that because at the same time I was opening up our hotline and 12 step program for Sex Workers Anonymous in 1987, I was also organizing the first outreach into the sex industry because of an HIV/AIDS epidemic that was hitting us in the 1980's long before we had medications.

Back then, if you were a woman who contracted HIV/AIDS you were dead in a year.  Why?  Because the only drugs available from Canada that cost about $10,000 a month were not tested on women.  Because of our hormone cycles, the disease would speed up and basically if you were a woman you were dead in a year.  Every single woman that I knew as a prostitute from the time period I was out there was dead before 1988.

Now when we were doing outreach for HIV/AIDS - then we had to go to the Mayor, the prosecutor's office, the police, etc.  because they were considering condoms as "evidence" at the same time they were saying condoms saved lives.  So the prostitutes weren't carrying them so as not to be arrested.  The only way to stop this was we had to get an agreement from law enforcement to stop.  While we couldn't get them to agree to decriminalize prostitution - what we could do was get them to agree to stop holding condoms against us and I was able to take the 12 step group into the courts and ask the judges to allow those convicted of the charge to attend our meetings instead of being incarcerated where there was no medical care there whatsoever.

When a man or woman found out they were positive for HIV - their career in sex work was over.  While they might be able to do some porn for a while, or even dance for a while - it pretty much was a given that soon they'd be too sick to continue.  So what do we do for work then when medications were costing $10,000 a month?  What we did was appeal to the Mayor who allowed us to organize a team where we set up a special testing site for sex workers by sex workers.

It was also the first site in history that addressed sex trafficking because you can't get someone off the streets when their pimp is forcing them to prostitute.  Mayor Bradley knew he'd hit nothing but public opposition - so he cut through all the red tape and did what had to be done to get Sharon Mitchell, an ex-porn star, certified as a doctor who could set up the testing site that was known as AIM.  Everyone hired at the clinic were ex-sex workers.

When one would come in that wanted away from their pimp we had a back door we'd take them out while we threw the pimp out the front door.  Those who found out they were positive were hired as outreach workers, and given special housing we'd arrange through HUD, along with free medical care, food, vocational rehab, etc.

While our outreach teams for HIV/AIDS would go into the strip clubs, the brothels, the bath houses, etc., these were men and women who knew they could never go back into sex work because they were literally carrying the message with them to the active sex workers with their presence - look at me - I have HIV/AIDS and look at me.  That was the message they were carrying into those clubs.

By the way, Michael Weinstein comes in and sets up Dr. Sharon Mitchell to get AIM shut down.  There's not a doubt in my mind that he was behind the people who hacked into her medical files and I know someone had to come up with that bribe money she was accused of taking - if she really took it by the way.  So AIM that's run by a female ex-sex worker gets shut down and guess what?  Ten years later under Michael Weinstein's guidance of the AHF who thought hiring Shelley Lubben was a wise idea for outreach - well the sex industry is experiencing another HIV/AIDS epidemic.  It's been documented in Tijuana and Indiana.  Charlie Sheen has admitted to spending $10 million to hide the fact here in California.  But it's here folks believe me.  Something by the way I don't see printed on any of those Cupcakes she's handing out.  I'm sure the fact that their lobbyist is the same one that works for Charlie Sheen has nothing to do with that now does it?

For the rest of us who wanted to stop - I ask you does an alcoholic go into a bar and invite everyone to an AA meeting?  Does an addict go into the crack house and leave NA pamphlets?  No - because that's the fastest way for them to get defensiveness and start defending their lifestyle.  If you note from the letter above - that's just what happened for one.  For another, the other person in that bar says to themselves "if life on the other side of the fence is so great - why are they in here?"

When I formed our program I put together a mentor board of other 12 step founders, such as the founder of Gamblers Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, Sexaholics Anonymous, and the still living founders of NA.  I did that because I wanted to know how to help us get out and find recovery - not because I wanted to raise money.  What they taught me is about "attraction not promotion" for that reason.  Otherwise you trigger what's called the "backlash" effect - where the more you try and convince someone what they believe is wrong is wrong -the more they try and prove you're wrong.  You go into an active sex work environment to try and talk them out of it - and they're going to tell you how great they are - which is exactly what happens.

However, all addictions have one thing in common - that's "jails, institutions and death".  Left to their own devices - that's where one winds up.  EXCEPT when cushioned by the co-dependent who enables them.  The addict who has their grandmother giving them drug money, or the gambler who has their wife paying off their gambling debts, or the alcoholic who has their wive supporting them because he can't hold down a job, etc.  So to me - when someone who is in stripping, prostitution, porn, etc., finds themselves broke, sick, in need of medical care, in legal problems - to me - I can then say "hey the lifestyles not really working for you is it?"   I haven't had one member yet come to us at the height of their game believe me.

Does that mean everyone is going to wind up there?  Is everyone who drinks an alcoholic?  Is everyone who uses an addict?  Everyone who gambles a compulsive gambler who bets the house and kids?  No - but that doesn't mean there aren't some who for them it is a problem.  For them - they have a process - the 12 step process that works for them.

Personally, if I am a dancer seeing someone coming in asking me for money - I'm not exactly going to be inspired to want to live their lifestyle. If anything, I think it validates my lifestyle.  I don't know how many years out of the industry Joy has but I know this - studies show that over 98 % of those who leave the sex industry without a proper recovery process - that do it just by "white knuckling" it or by the church only - sure they can stay out of it as long as their husbands are paying the bills, or someone else is paying the bills - but when life puts them in  a position where they have to stand on their own two feet - can they stand then?

If her bakery was doing awesome and she wanted to help these women out as a charitable act - Jesus taught us to do things like that "anonymously".  You'll not find my face and name all over the internet - because I let our members and our work speak for us.   I draw a line in the sand that if someone who is in the sex industry wants to see what life is like out of it - they can come see that life by coming to meet with me or other members of SWA.  I'm not going to be in their life with them because well that's not "different" is it?

Frankly sitting in a bar hustling for tips but just doing it with Cupcakes - what was it that song in the Gypsy Rose Lee showed us "you got have a gimmick"?  It's just another stripper costume folks.    It's just another hustle.

If it's not a "hustle" then why didn't she come to SWA to join our Vegas or Portland chapters to help these women?  Probably for the same reason that Shelley Lubben or Annie Lombert didn't.  Shelley Lubben came to us in the early 1990's when she left porn.  We told her that to work a program - she'd also have to be clean from all non-prescribed drugs and alcohol since she was an addict by her own admission.  She didn't like that idea and then fell off a stage drunk during a speech at Cambridge about the dangers of porn and there was the tweet message she blasted out about when she was flushing her drugs last year.  Now her husband has been arrested for domestic violence twice in the last month - oh but let's not send two addicts married to each other where her husband was her drug dealer to NA meetings either.  No.  They wanted to do it their way and now Pink Cross has folded and Garrett is up on DV charges.

Annie Lombert came to us in Vegas and we told her a terrible thing like we'd help her find a job.  She didn't want a job.   She wanted to get checks for talking about Jesus and selling "Hookers for Jesus" t-shirts.  She then helped Pastor Perez raise $1,000,000 and talked her way onto a reality show on Bravo.  Only when Bravo realized they were filming a complete sham - they shut the show down after one airing.  The government came in while Annie had run off to Africa to hide and told them if they didn't produce a house for that money someone was going to jail.  They're now set up a little house where the last i heard they were asking people to donate a TV set for the women.   Annie still has not worked a job a day in her life.  Bravo Annie.  By the way - I'm not "outting" anyone - all of this is public information other people, or they, posted online.

Our program has been independently researched by a professor who followed our members over a 10 year period of time.  Sharon Oselin wrote wonderful things about us in "Leaving Prostitution".  There are quotes in there from women who are now out of the business thanking us for making that change in their lives - and clean from drugs and working JOBS.

That's what I'm looking for.  You want to be a stripper? Knock yourself out.  You want to stop?  Give us a call at www.sexworkersanonymous.com


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