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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

LETTER TO TORONTO STAR ABOUT SEX TRAFFICKING ARTICLE

In response to this article - http://projects.thestar.com/human-sex-trafficking-ontario-canada/  I sent their editors this letter for publication in their editorial section:


Dear Canadian Media:


I know you probably don't know who I am from Adam and there's a reason for that.  I'm writing you to see what I can do to change that and explain.  Catch this clip from "Enter the Dragon" with Bruce Lee in 1973.   http://www.movieclips.com/videos/enter-the-dragon-official-clip-master-fighter-510741059967  I need to get the rest of that scene - but you can see this jail cell with men in this clip.  The men are human trafficking victims.  After they show the men, they show a white girl, not an Asian girl mind you, but a white girl, who is being drugged and clearly being prepped for sex trafficking.  In Elvis "Harum Holiday" he's also trying to rescue a woman from sex trafficking.  Only we didn't have the word "sex trafficking" back in those days.  In fact, when I asked about those sorts of scenes - I was told "oh those sorts of things don't exist anymore".  

Why?  Because in the 1970's the "Happy Hooker" was on the best seller list.  The XXX film "Deep Throat" was the first adult film to be shown in a regular mainstream, not adult, theater.  Dolly Parton was singing her heart out in "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" with Sylvester Stallone.  The song got an Oscar nomination "I Will Always Love You" about her affair with the local sheriff. Playboy had a chain of Key clubs, along with his mansion, his magazine, and his TV show.  Joe Conforte opened up the first legal brothel in Nevada in the early 1970's as well.  

So when Linda Lovelace came forward in 1980 to say she'd been forced to film "Deep Throat" with her pimp/husband, who was white, pointing a gun at her head, the world didn't believe her.  I walked into a nightclub that was owned by Richard Pryor's family.  You may have heard him speak about his mother who worked in his grandmother's brothel?  Well the "family" needed a way to launder that money and with his entertainment connections they opened up a nightclub.  They recruited me to rent homes in Tarzana, and offices in Beverly Hills, along with bank accounts so they could also open up record studios to further launder the money that was pouring in from Iran Contra's cocaine money by the 1980's as well.  

I had seen images of street walking junkies and pimps like "Huggy Bear" so I was completely ill-equipped when I was turned out into a "family" where there was no violence used against us, we lived in mansions and were driven in Rolls Royces.  When I managed to get free - I went to seek therapy for my PTSD.  They started to lock me up for observation thinking I was hallucinating because "such things don't exist".  I looked in the psychology text books - and to them it didn't exist. LA had a record number of serial killers also - the Green River, Hillside Stranger, Grim Reaper, etc.  I took a woman who had been stabbed 51 times to the police who then threw us out.  They said they "couldn't get a warrant based on the word of  whore".  When I asked why - they said "because she's a criminal".  

Because of HIV/AIDS - the treatment centers, homeless and domestic violence shelters, everyone was turning us away.  Even if you had insurance or money - if they thought you were a "prostitute" then you were refused any help at all.  Children of the Night opened a shelter in 1979 - but they cut off help at 18 years of age.  I was 19 years old then and too old.  Besides, I had a dog and they didn't take children or pets then.

There was no where for us to go.  No one even believed we existed except Lois and she only took in kids.  Even with her - she had trouble making people understand why she had to make a distinction between prostitutes and runaways.  People couldn't understand that a young girl in most of these shelters would be raped by the other clients and staff alike and they needed special protection.  Covenant House by the way wouldn't even take prostitutes because the pimps would come looking for them with guns and they wouldn't hire armed security.  Then suddenly they would take male prostitutes.  That's when we learned it was because Father Ritter liked boys.  Took ten years to get him out because no one wanted to stop the money machine to get him out.  So for ten years I had staff smuggling the male prostitutes out to me when he wasn't looking because they didn't want to go to the press or the police - but we could at least get the boys out.  Until it was discovered what they were doing and then they'd be fired anyway.  

I turned my old brothel into a safe house.  I got arrested for it too when the pimp retaliated by reporting it as a brothel.  I got it sorted out but it cost me every penny I had and got my mother arrested also.  You can read about it at www.hightechmadam.com  But that's when I realized I had no choice but to educate the world that things had to change.  The modern day sex trafficking movement was born when I stepped up on a talk show stage in 1987 and announced our hotline, our 12 step program, and called out to have courts use our program as an "alternative to sentencing" like how AA does for alcoholics and NA does for addicts.   

The Trafficking Act of 2000 was passed which then did coin the term "trafficking victim".  We were told that federal recognition would allow prostitutes to receive assistance as victims they were being denied because they were criminals.  Like the Native Americans learned however when they received federal recognition - it wasn't all roses to get that recognition.  I had no idea what making money available would mean in the real world. 

I say that because by 2000 we had a chapter of SWA just about in every major city of the USA (we were better known by Prostitutes Anonymous).  We also had chapters in Canada.  In 1990, a woman I sponsored down in Florida, Paige Latin, moved to Vancouver.  There was a serial killer up there and in response she set up a chapter.  Soon she had 10 women in her studio apartment and something had to give.  She went to the ministry and they gave her enough money to open what I was told was the first drop-in crisis center in Canada for prostitutes.  Another one opened in Ontario not long after that.  Our original program was called SPACE for Substance and Prostitution Alternatives Counseling & Education.  

I'm not sure the exact year but it was about 1995 (I remember it was about when the movie aired), when Paige's father died.  She had to go take care of things like his funeral and signed some papers for things to be handled in her absence.  She didn't have time to have me review things before she left.  Evidently she pretty much signed over the farm and PACE took over our center.  They were what's called "harm reduction" people.  I call that the kind of people who tell you it's okay to shoot heroin as long as you put your vitamins in your needle.  I can't agree with it - so I pulled all my support.  

The people who also didn't agree with PACE split off to form PEERS.  In the meantime, the Telecommunications Act of 1995 had passed meaning I couldn't run public service announcements for our hotline any longer.  Let me explain something I'm sure you're aware of by now - most prostitutes, whether they're pimped, or trafficked, or not, aren't really safe in most drug treatment programs.  http://www.laweekly.com/news/a-drug-rehab-mogul-built-an-empire-that-s-now-being-probed-by-the-fbi-da-and-state-of-california-6390686

They aren't safe in jail. http://www.bakersfield.com/news/2013/03/26/kern-county-settles-last-of-molestation-conviction-suits.html

They aren't safe in court - even with court staff around and it's a guard whose feeling them up.  http://lasvegastribune.net/clark-county-court-patricia-doninger-youre-fire/

They can't call the police because they might be like Holtzclaw http://www.buzzfeed.com/jtes/daniel-holtzclaw-alleged-sexual-assault-oklahoma-city or like Chris Butler http://patch.com/california/sanramon/private-investigator-christopher-butler-pleads-guilty0df4c86437 or just either completely incapable of protecting them http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/When-Jailbirds-Sing-It-was-the-pure-savagery-of-3018647.php or they took a bribe or were blackmailed to look the either way.  In Margo's case we don't know other than she agreed to testify against her traffickers and her and her twins were savagely slaughtered in their own home.

Nor does the stamp "christian" mean they're a good place to go either for help.  http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2012/02/21/dark-side-mercy-ministries/  Remember, there was a famous study done once that revealed 100 percent of porn stars came from very strict religious backgrounds, and that their sexual abuse was done within that context.  

True story - I was suffering from what we've now dubbed "post prostitution syndrome".  To try and figure out what it was, or if anyone else was suffering from it (I had two years clean and out of all sex work and was completely insane) I went to interview these women at a church that I had been told was doing an "amazing job at turning their lives around".  This church was supposedly going out and picking up women off the streets and getting them clean and out of prostitution and everyone told me "you need to go interview them over at so and so".  So I did.  

As I was interviewing them - I realized these women were living the same exact lifestyle as that of being pimped only their pastor was their pimp.  The church?  Children of God.  They were using sex to get donations and converts for the church and the pastor was sleeping with their kids.  http://www.xfamily.org/index.php/Flirty_Fishing  As I realized this was the "dry drunk" for us - replacing the pimp with a pastor (you might want to look a little closer at Annie Lombert by the way), the light bulb went on for the women too.  Suddenly I had 10 women with kids who wanted out. So when I went on the first Sally Jesse Raphael show in 1987 I asked for help to get these women out of there.  I got a call from an apartment owner in N. Hollywood who helped me get each one out of there.  The pastor packed up and left the country and changed the name of the cult to "The Family".  

PEERS from what I understand just closed their doors for a lack of operating capital.  Look - if you try and talk to these women without knowing what you're doing you're just going to make it worse.  In fact - it pretty much does make it worse.  It's called the "Backfire Effect" and trust me pimps and traffickers are well aware of this.  http://youarenotsosmart.com/2011/06/10/the-backfire-effect/  Meaning the more you actually try to help these men and women, the more you actually anchor the brainwashing and in fact trigger it.   It's one of the reasons why when I first started doing trainings for police officers and social workers in the 1980's they used to tell me "I'm just so frustrated because the more I try and help the more they fight me back" or "I take them out and then they go right back"!   Because they couldn't understand why these women would either go right back to the pimp, or someone just like him, or even worse!

Look in the late 1980's and early 1990's when the jails wanted to have their numbers reduced, and treatment centers were paid by their success rate - I was setting up trainings, and programs, and workshops right and left.  I had a course set up even at Mission College's Addiction Studies program.  We were offering continuing education courses there and I was in the process of setting up the trainings at the policy academy and even working with the colleges to put education in their textbooks on how to work with this community.  

Again, that federal recognition just changed everything.  That and the abortion people.  You can trace it - once money came into the field in 2000 - the TVRA of 2003 was passed.  What that said in English was if you didn't sign a pledge stating that you were against pornography and prostitution that you didn't get paid.  Bush came in and said if you weren't a "faith based program" you didn't get paid.  Which started a stampede of money.  Only guess what?  These were the same people who the year before were refusing to let me have meeting space because they didn't want "hookers on their property".  These were the same people who were organizing teams of women to run the strip clubs out of town.  Not SAVE them but RUN THEM OUT OF TOWN.  

Honestly, many of the films that got blasted out over the airwaves post-2003 are the equivalent of "Reefer Madness".  Then came the cherry on the sundae.  Many of the police officers who you're reading about were either trafficking these women, molesting them, raping them, beating them up, or buying sex from them?  They started getting real worried about the chain of information.  A police officer can get access to information in the files of a social worker, mental health, counselor, even the local shelter.  But guess where they can't get information from?  

Us.  I was approached in 2007 and basically asked if I would become a paid informant on our members.  I refused.  That's when the lid came down.  Every police officer, social work, counselor, etc. who basically works for the government got told they couldn't give referrals to us.  They can't access our notes and we won't release information to them.  The faith based people weren't giving referrals to anyone that wasn't connected up with this "Freedom Registry".  Now the ACLU won the ACLU v. Catholic Bishops.  The Supreme Court in 2012 also ruled that this was a violation of our constitutional rights - but this still remains that from about 2003 until about 2012 - everyone who was working within the system was told not to even think about giving out our name and number for one reason or another.  

Add onto that the "johns" like Steve Sassa who was running Heart Media who certainly doesn't want to even think about anyone interfering with his "drug of choice" (all johns are sex addicts) and we're not going to get in those publications.  No active alcoholic is going to run an ad or an article about Alcoholics Anonymous.  No - they're going to run ads about how great booze is.  

Steve Sassa has been running Telemundo for a couple of years.  Tijuana has now been confirmed as having an HIV/AIDS epidemic among the sex workers.  It took PBS to get the word out about the epidemic.  

So your article is showing the results of all of this blacklisting about information on us for a variety of reasons.  Whether it's people afraid we're someone going to help someone get an abortion (ridiculous), or that we're going to somehow increase the number of lawsuits against cops (again ridiculous - but guilty people act paranoid) or people like American Apparel who throw out a lot of ad money in sexualized content - either way I've got to figure out a way to get the media to help us get our hotline number out there.   If you had 100 residential programs - many of these women wouldn't call them.  That doesn't help the men or the transgenders.

Now if someone is under the age of 18 - they can get to any airport or bus stop and Children of the Night will get them free to their house and they're awesome.  For those under 18 - you really need to get that information out there.  They'll even pay for a cab if they can just call their hotline at www.childrenofthenight.org  They also take girls, boys and transgenders.  I've sent kids to them for 30 years and they are really really good.  Especially when it's the parents pimping them - she can handle those difficult cases.

So this is why you haven't been hearing about us.  There are a lot of people who are trying to go for this $20 million that I understand the ministry has set aside to do something about trafficking.  So what I saw was they went after the PEERS people and wiped them out of the way so they had a clear path.  Now the people who made nothing but a mess of things in the states are trying to get their hands on money there in Canada.   I just need your help please getting the two hotlines out there for this community where we can meet them where they're at and get them what they need.  

If you need testimonials - I have some at www.leavingtheliferadio.com  and the clips I have up at www.hightechmadam.com Thanks for your help and listening.  January is trafficking month - so any opportunities you have to help us get press - please let me know.  I don't charge for anything we do.  
  If you need me to edit it for word count - just let me know and I can.   Thank you.  Jody www.sexworkersanonymous.com) 

Sex trafficking is not a secret. It's not something that just suddenly sprouted up in Canada either. I'll prove it to you. There was a movie made in 1995 “Fighting for my Daughter” where Lindsey Wagner played the mother based on the story of a woman who came to me for help in 1991. Her daughter had been kidnapped by a pimp and the police refused to help find her daughter to bring her home.

The mom had heard rumors she was with this pimp and had gone down to the red light district asking for her daughter only to be rebuffed of course. They didn't want to get beaten or worse if they told where she was. This pimp had murdered three other prostitutes so word on the streets was the prostitutes and the cops were scared of him.

She came to us at www.sexworkersanonymous.com (we were called Prostitutes Anonymous then). I was pregnant in Los Angeles at the time so I couldn't travel to help her if she had any money to fly me up there anyway. Our program had a local chapter in Ontario and Vancouver then so that's how she heard about us. There was a serial killer targeting prostitutes in Vancouver so our Vancouver chapter there being led by Paige Latin. She had 10 women staying in her studio apartment because everyone was afraid to go out on the streets to hook because this killer was just leaving hookers' bodies in pieces by dumpsters in alleys. So Paige couldn't travel either.

So I gave the mother the advice of what I would do to find her if I was local – to dress up like one of the hookers, blend in like one of them for a few days, and after they think you're “one of them” then they'll tell you where she is. Which she did and about a week later she found where her daughter was.

The pimp was not only holding her against her will - but was threatening to murder her if the girl went home. Turned out the mom was getting a check for the daughter which had been cut off because she was gone. So when she came home she told the social worker how we helped to get her back. The social worker thought that this was really cool and told the producers on the Sally Jesse Raphael talk show. We flew down there to do her show and after taping got approached by the producers to do the movie. We agreed to do it as long as our hotline phone number was put up at the end of the film. Only the end of the film is kind of like what I'm writing you about – they didn't run it after we spent six weeks working with the script writer. You'd think after all that work to make a film about such a horrible event – they'd want to get the phone number out there of the group that helped this woman save her daughter.

I also don't know if I understand why the producers made the pimp white. They said they didn't want to make it appear "racist". But he was black so I don't know how reality is racist. But in the film they made blond and blue-eyed even. Me? They made me African American even though I'm white. Go figure.

There are Russian, Chinese, Hispanic and white pimps. Chuck Traynor, the man who pimped Linda Lovelace was white. Pimps come in all colors of the rainbow and there's all different types. I assure you there are many different styles of pimps and traffickers and if you only cover a few of the more violent ones - you're going to wind up with what I saw on the NBC "Sex Slaves" show. On there they arrested this woman who had seen the show. The producer says "well if you saw the show - why are you out here?" She says "oh that's not me".

If the media keeps only focusing on these more horrible dark violent cases exclusively and then the other types of trafficking that are more common is going to go under the radar. In the case on the show “Sex Slaves” this was a woman who had just had a baby and lost her job. She had rent coming due and just ran an ad on Backpage to pay the rent. Nothing dark. Nothing horrible. But it got her arrested for prostitution.

Believe it or not, Bruce Lee was even trying to warn us about sex and human trafficking in “Enter the Dragon” in 1973. Elvis Presley was also trying to enlighten us in “Harem Holiday” in 1965.

So sex trafficking is nothing new. Our hotline has been on since 1987. It's answered 24/7 by a survivor and our program is for anyone – male, female or transgender who wants help to leave the sex industry for any reason – whether trafficked or not. That means even if they want to quit just because they are just sick and tired – that's okay.

We used to be able to run free public service announcements for our hotline which is how the mother found us. But when the Telecommunications Act of 1995 passed – that wiped out all the free commercials we used to be able to run on TV and radio. Believe it or not it also wiped out our ability to buy advertising even. Why? Because company's who either are in the sex industry, or whose owners are supportive of, or patrons of, the sex industry, spend billions of dollars in advertising that we can't even hope to compete for. Which means when I go to try and buy some ads for us – we get refused and told right to our face that they're not willing to risk losing their bigger advertisers by taking our ads.

But then we run into problems even if I had a million dollar ad budget. A few years ago Steve Sassa, the CEO of Hearst Media was fired when a pimp of an escort he was texting sent some of his text messages to the legal department because he was being blackmailed. So he was for lack of a better term a “john”.

Now I invite you to think about just how big of a media empire Hearst Media is. Before Steve Sassa became CEO, we were able to have a wonderful article about us published in Cosmopolitan, a Hearst publication. While he was CEO however – we couldn't get a return phone call for any of the TV shows, magazines, newspapers, anything published by Hearst Media.

The truth is that it's easier to point the finger at these pimps and say they're the problem rather than what's really underneath it all. That there's a lot of people who don't want these women to find their way out besides the pimps. There are some people who believe that ohn Kennedy was assassinated because he was going to bring about world peace. Problem with that is peace isn't very profitable. Sex trafficking could be wiped out quite easily. However, the one teeny little problem with that is you'd have to also wipe out the sex industry to do so. There are a lot of men who aren't pimps who just aren't going to let that happen. If you want to help to get out of the sex industry – please get in touch with us at www.sexworkersanonymous.com

-- 
Jody Williams

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