Search This Blog

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

OPEN LETTER REGARDING MASS INCARCERATION

First of all - I'm trying to talk about 30 years of work in the area of sex trafficking in this letter so it's going to be long.  If you care about Prop 47 working, and also reducing the number of inmates being incarcerated who don't have to be - then I assure you reading this letter to the end will be worth your time.  If you're on a phone instead of a computer - please switch to a computer or print this out to read.

Complex problems such as sex trafficking aren't solved in 140 characters on twitter, five minute conversations, or hashtags.  So please read this letter to hear from the oldest and largest program of sex trafficking survivors on the issue of mass incarceration - as well as from the group who founded the first alternative to sentencing program for prostitutes in Los Angeles.  Our members are wanting to maintain their "personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films" so to hear from them I've prepared this letter.

Who am I?  If you look at the clips here at www.hightechmadam.com you'll find I was arrested for supposedly running a "brothel".  The reality was that warehouse was the first "safe house" for adult sex trafficking victims I'd installed next to the Van Nuys police station for safety's sake thinking traffickers, bandits, serial killers, pimps, dealers, etc., would be reluctant to shoot off a gun so close to the police.  That's why there was so much "surveillance and security" equipment and it was even a warehouse in the industrial district.  I put it in the industrial area so that if there was shooting children would be less likely to be harmed.  The cameras were in case we were murdered at least there would be evidence who did such a thing.

A woman had called me saying her pimp had broken her arm and nose.  I put her in the warehouse to rest and heal.  The pimp was angry, especially when he couldn't force his way in or threaten me into returning her.  So he called the police to report it was a "brothel" at midnight.  When the police knocked on the door of course she was in her PJ's.  She was on probation for prostitution so in the cop's mind - answering the door at a warehouse in her PJ's at midnight must have meant I was operating a brothel.  They didn't believe it was a "safe house" because in 1984 the world didn't believe sex trafficking even existed anymore in the modern world or the USA.

With the cast on her arm, two black eyes and a bandage on her nose - she testified to them about her pimp and the matter was resolved.  However, the police then charged my mother with pimping me because of a photo of me handing her a $20 bill for a bucket of KFC chicken.  This took a little longer to straighten out.

But I learned my lesson - if I was going to keep rescuing these victims I would have to (1) do so with the cooperation and knowledge of what I was doing by the police, and (2) that I was going to have to raise public awareness about what was going on so I wouldn't be misunderstood again.  Realizing we needed  a different model I consulted with Attorney General Edwin Reese who had written the Meese Report.  He informed me that until we could change the laws to stop treating these victims like criminals by arresting them for prostitution - we could start a 12 step program which could be used as an "alternative to sentencing" like AA does for the alcoholic, NA does for the addict, and GA does for the compulsive gambler.

So in 1987, I launched the hotline and 12 step program.  This year was a huge year because just before there had been a proposition to isolate prostitutes on an island in fear of HIV/AIDS.  The cost of incarcerating them who were positive was tremendous and the jails, and budget, of the county of Los Angeles was collapsing under the strain.   

To put together the first ever "alternative to sentencing" program in Los Angeles in 1987 - Mayor Tom Bradley, Chief Gates and Sheriff Block banded together to help.  We had to first estimate how much the county was spending on prostitution by treating it like a crime instead of these men and women as potential victims.  Victims of trafficking, as well as poverty, mental illness and HIV/AIDS.  Back then medication for the virus was $10,000 a month.  When you were ill, you were too sick to work and spent your days in clinics.  Meaning you were almost forced to work in the sex industry while infected - so this was a huge crisis at the time.  

To create the estimate of how much the county was spending, and was impacted, by the current system, they allowed me to go into the Sybil Brand Institute, as well as the men's jail which included where the transgenders were kept.  Out of approximately 2,000 inmates - we identified 1800 approximately who were working in the sex industry - prostitution, porn, stripping, phone sex, etc.  Out of the men, we included male prostitutes, porn actors, male strippers and pimps as members of the sex industry.  We found 2/3 of the men were involved in sex work.  Many men "combined" crimes - such as dressing up as a prostitute and then rolling the john for his wallet once they got him alone in a dark alley or motel.  There were also 400 transgender prostitutes in the system at that time.  
The guards were refusing to work with prostitutes at all in fear of HIV/AIDS.  The mens' jail was at a complete standstill in fear because the men were threatening to bite guards.  A board was formed with a member of each office on the board - the public defender, prosecutor, police, sheriff, health department, mental health, social services, probation, etc.   The judges were trained in how to identify which prostitutes were being forced to do what they were charged with and needed special "alternative sentencing".  

The transgenders were sleeping on the cafeteria floor or isolation.  They wanted us to work with them first.  A house was found and almost all transgender prostitutes were court ordered to be released but to attend Prostitutes Anonymous meetings (as we were called then).  HUD paid for the house for those who were HIV/AIDS positive so we could get them to stop hooking.  A grant was organized to hire ex-sex workers who were HIV/AIDS positive as "outreach workers".  Special testing sites and mobile testing in massage parlors, strip clubs, bath houses, even nightclubs was set up.  A moratorium was put on considering condoms "evidence of prostitution" to encourage the sex worker to practice sex safe.  Those who were tested were assured it was not going to be held against them or incriminate them in any way.  Those being forced to prostitute by their pimps/traffickers were given special assistance to be able to just leave the control of their "handler". 

Taking the female prostitutes who were HIV/AIDS positive, pregnant, and/or had children at home were taken first.  Via Avanta was a treatment program that had just shut down and was vacant.  Tom got it opened up and those who were pregnant, HIV/AIDS positive, and had small children were put into this residential program paid for by social services as an "alternative to counseling".  Our numbers came up the county was spending $150 a day for approximately 2,000 people PER DAY in one way or another - whether it was investigating them for the crime of prostitution, arresting them, processing them, holding them for court, medical care, public defenders, and paying for their children they were being separated from when arrested and/or serving time.  

There was a shortage of foster parents then just as there is now.  There's only about 1000 foster parents while the need at the moment is over 9000 according to the estimates I've looked at.  Children of the Night could only hold 14 juveniles, Covenant House held maybe 20, while the Mary Magdalene Project housed maybe 7 women.  The Via Avanta House allowed them to house over 120 women and their children.  The house for men allowed them to house over 50 transgenders and gays who were HIV/AIDS positive.  

The rest were allowed to leave the jail in exchange for serving out their time in our program while working out their community service hours helping us do outreach.  In other words, we took people who were once just inmates and not only got them working on their own recovery  - but put them to use in the field doing outreach in a way no other person can do.   No one could do better outreach for HIV/AIDS education, testing, prevention, etc., as well as to find trafficking victims than another ex-sex worker who was now clean and working off their jail time through community services hours.  Those community service hours allowed us to get a lot of people out in the field doing more outreach to further reduce the inpact.

I lost my paperwork in the 1994 Sherman Oaks earthquake - but I know that when we first started the prostitutes had an 80 percent HIV/AIDS infection rate among sex workers.  This was among sex workers and porn starts -  not just street walkers.  Street prostitution compromises maybe 7 to 10 percent tops of the sex industry.  In the 1980's, escorts who worked off services, the yellow pages, print advertising, massage parlors, nightclubs, sex clubs, etc., comprised about 90 percent of the industry which was unseen really to outsiders who only saw a few women standing on corners or the male hustlers down on Sant Monica.

At the end of the year of doing this project/outreach - we had that rate below 8 percent.  A figure which was lower than that of "non-prostitutes".  This included the male and LGBT sex workers as well as the straight females.  

I remember they said we slashed the costs to the system "over half" and we had "free'd up $3,00,000".   That money was put into even more services to help the sex worker who found they were infected to be able to leave sex work immediately.   Something that couldn't be done by arresting them and forcing them because again street prostitution accounts for maybe 10 percent of the industry.  When you have someone working as a porn performer, a stripper, in a peep show, or even in a sex club - this is "legal" work.  Meaning the county couldn't FORCE them to stop.

When you focus only on street prostitutes you can arrest - you only reach a tiny portion of the active sex industry.  By us taking those who had community service hours to work off we got free outreach workers out in the industry.  Then by us reaching out into the sex industry as a whole - legal and illegal as well as men, women and transgenders - we were able to have a huge impact proved by the numbers plunging from over 80 percent to below ten in only a year.  Making our outreach workers and projects even more vital because we could reach that other 90 percent that had to be "persuaded" to leave the industry rather than "forcing" them which is what happens.  By us focusing on the adults, and Children of the Night focusing on the teens - we were also able to cover all age groups.  

We still had some in the industry who were very reclusive and thus hard to reach - especially the transgenders who didn't want to go to the county testing sites for fear they'd be laughed at.  (You have to remember they looked like men in dresses back then.)  Which is why it was truly ground breaking also when Tom found a way for an ex-porn performer, Sharon Mitchell, to get a special medical degree.  This allowed her to set up AIM - which was a clinic that focused entirely on the sex industry.  While AIM operated - many outbreaks were contained.  Sex workers voluntarily got tested there because Sharon was an ex-performer - especially the transgenders who came out to support Dr. Mitchell - the first ex-porn performer to open such a clinic for the sex industry exclusively.  They felt comfortable with her and also knew it wasn't  going to be used against them criminally.  Everyone in the sex industry went to get their testing done at the AIM clinic when it opened.

Things started to change when it was shut down ten years ago.  The AHF has refused to consult with ANYONE with ANY history of effective outreach campaigns into the porn industry with their outreach and frankly has resulted in the sex industry retreating right back into the dark ages when it comes to HIV/AIDS.  Walk into any random strip club in Los Angeles county and you will not see strippers carrying condoms in their garters which would be fine if the dancers were on the vaccine.  Which they don't even know about existing either if you ask them about it.

When the TVRA of 2003 put outreach into the hands of "faith based" groups who HAVE NO IDEA HOW THE INDUSTRY WORKS - their campaigns have focused right back again on street corners trying to "cherry pick" for "victims of trafficking" rather than approaching the industry as a whole organism.  In fact, I'm seeing the most laughable of "outreach" campaigns.  I mean law enforcement, and outreach workers are being told to "ask the victim if they're being exploited"?  Are you kidding me?  That's about as effective as walking into the corner bar and asking the patrons "anyone in here an alcoholic?"  You'll get the same response.

The only outreach I'm hearing about is bus signs and billboards WHICH HAVE NEVER PRODUCED RESULTS EVER.  Or I'm hearing about today is women being arrested, and then ticketed.  A few say they MIGHT get asked gruffly "are you being exploited" for statistical purposes - not like they're being offered any help.  There's an obsessional focus on Backpage and Craiglist where mostly "independent" prostitutes work who are mostly drug addicts - whereas the trafficking victims are in massage parlors, strip clubs, and even sex clubs.

Doubt me?  Look at the Chris Butler case where he owned massage parlors here in California.  Not only were the prostitutes in his parlors being trafficked, and forced to sell drugs, as well as blackmail his patrons - but he even "shook down" other escort services and madams. In other words, it was his "competition" who was finding themselves arrested.  Which is what I'm seeing right now with these so called "trafficking campaigns".  I point your attention to this completely BOGUS "outreach" campaign that was being led by Kevin Brown and Greg Reese in 2014-15.

These men were running around posing for the cameras and the grant sources as doing "outreach" while in reality they were staging the whole thing for the series "8 Minutes" sponsored by General Foods?  They were saying there was "no resources" to the prostitutes because they were staging the whole thing to get grant money to create those resources.  While the reality was resources already existed they were ignoring because to acknowledge would mean no fund raising.  Teens were being told in front of reporters "there are no beds" for them because the people being interviewed were applying for grants and money was being spent on creating hotlines - while hotlines and beds already existed and were available through programs like www.childrenofthenight.org

I'm also hearing prostitutes being told "there are no beds" and there "are no resources" by people who refuse to call our hotline.  Our hotline has been getting these men and women off the streets for 30 years.  When I get a call from a woman who tells me she is calling me from a payphone because she had told her pimp she was pregnant and wanted to quit so he threw her out of his car at 65 mph on the highway and drove off so all she has is the clothes on her back and she's all banged up and there's no pimp to have arrested to call her a "victim" and she's over 18 years of age - I can get her into a program that day.  But I can't do anything when we're not being called by programs who based their fund raising and grant writing on "having a large waiting list" of those who believe there's no beds. 

Look I rented and created that warehouse in 1984 because there were "no beds" then.  There were "no beds" in 1987 when the world didn't even believe we were victims.  Which is why we learned how to find beds in a way that happens when necessity is the mother of all invention.  I'll call hotels if I have to until I find one that will donate a room for these victims until they are on their feet.  I'll call churches, landlords, or even recovery programs who might have a bed open.  When I was doing outreach for the county in the 1980's - people's lives DEPENDED upon us getting them out of sex work ON THE SPOT.  Meaning we FOUND beds, and found programs, and found what we needed for them to "shut down shop" immediately.  

We had to be resourceful because back in the 1980's because no domestic violence or homeless shelter would accept a prostitute no matter how banged up he or she was.  No drug treatment program would accept prostitutes either.   Churches wouldn't even allow us to have a meeting space because essentially we were asking them for a place for criminals to gather together.  With the conspiracy laws in a grey area about "two or more gathering" while on probation for prostitutes - we had to find resources when none existed back then so I can assure you we now have resources when we get calls to our hotline.  We have 30 years of members all over the county even who can offer housing, jobs, free drug treatment, free counseling, etc. to those who call our hotline.  But we can't offer help when we're not called.  And your boards are being mislead by people trying to get grants approved and fund raisers organized that there "are no resources" when in fact there are.  THIS is contributing to the overcrowded jails/prisons and the HIV/AIDS epidemic we're right in the middle of now we're having to pay the piper for today. 

So you have to understand I'm confused when I am not hearing our hotline ring, my letters are going unanswered - and I'm hearing that we "need to build new jails" because of a shortage of beds and also hearing about Prop 47 being passed because of a desire to "stop mass incarceration" and to get people out of jail/prison.   What happened?  We had a good working system going by the early 1990's.  When I moved out of Los Angeles in 1994 - we had a functioning "alternative sentencing" program and rescue system in place.  

Recently, I spoke to the chaplain at the womans' jail here in Los Angeles and she told me there's 5,000 inmates now there - double what Sybil Brand had in the 80's.  To try and figure out if there were just as many prostitutes incarcerated there now as they were in the 1989's I asked her if she knew how many were "prostitutes".  She then told me "we aren't identifying anyone as prostitutes" and asked me if I meant "trafficking victims".   

I asked how many "trafficking victims" and she said "none at the moment".  Now I assure you out of 5,000 female inmates while there may not be one "trafficking victim" I can pretty confidently state that it has always averaged the majority of female inmates have engaged in prostitution.   So I think the numbers may be misleading.  While you may have zero "trafficking victims" - I can assure you probably 4,000 of those 5,000 inmates have been working within the sex industry. 

In listening to all the discussion about Prop 47 - I wasn't hearing one word about the number of inmates who could be helped by attending Sex Workers Anonymous meetings.  The reason why we were formed was BECAUSE our community does NOT respond well to drug treatment, therapy, or faith based programs.  In fact, we're notorious for leaving usually within 24 hours if not forced to stay with a locked door.  

I know this to be true because of what happened in the early 90's.  At that time California's governor was angry at paying for drug treatment that showed a 98 percent failure rate.  He had it up to his eyeballs with the "it's a chronic disease" excuse and he said he was going to cut funding 95 percent if these programs didn't "improve their numbers" for success.   The first thing the program directors did was survey who was their biggest "relapser" or most "resistant" to treatment and it was the prostitutes.  Now part of that was because trafficking wasn't being acknowledged as real - let alone were they offering treatment for this issue nor the specialized PTSD our kind get.  

Our program however was cranking out recovery.  Many were going on from coming into recovery through our program to found their own programs like Kathleen Mitchell and Brenda Myers-Powell to name two of our public members.   So when now having their budgets threatened if they didn't start producing better results - suddenly my phone rings from these programs asking me to come in and consult with them about what could be changed to bring their numbers up.  I spent from 1990 to 1992 doing these trainings from San Diego to Ventura to Orange County.  I then watched as those who changed their systems, and their staff, improved their numbers and survived.  Those who didn't - didn't.  

But this was because they started making funding dependent upon results number one NOT on a contract or "per diem" basis such as those billing Medi-Cal, or those with federal grants, are under   Number two - they acknowledged this was a difficult community that required a different approach (those who had been working in the sex industry - trafficked or not).

To prove my point is still true - I direct you to the Dr. Drew Celebrity Rehab series as well as the show "Intervention".  Every SINGLE sex worker on the Dr. Drew show who was treated as "just like any other addict" didn't stay clean and is still in sex work.  Mary Carey for example works for Playboy and has said on her social media she's not stayed clean except for spurts.   Heidi is growing pot, raising parrots, and pimping women to the Bunny Ranch in Nevada while also getting arrested for buying pills AFTER she's been on Dr. Drew's show where she was "treated like an addict".  To show the contrast in philosophy - if we had been called in as a consultant on the show then there's no way we would have Heidi being in the same treatment program at the same time as her ex-lover, Tom Sizemore.

Also, not one single word was uttered during the show about getting rid of the 400 parrots she was caring for.  Caring for 400 parrots not only is hugely expensive for someone in a small town with only a laundromat for an income outside of sex work, but it ties one to the house.  Meaning how else is she going to care for that many parrots other than sex work while also living in such a small town as Pahrump.  Yet no one word was uttered to Heidi during the show/treatment about getting another home for the  parrots, relocating to a larger city, nor finding more stable legit work.   Meaning she left treatment to go back to caring for 400 parrots while being housebound and living in a tiny rural community.  So of course she's going to go back to sex work, which means going back to drugs, and the cycle continues as it is now for her.  

Now Dr. Drew saw these failures and rather than bring us in as consultants, or acknowledge maybe they're "different" than just the "addict" working a 9 to 5 job - he tried to address it from a sexual addiction view which is a common rookie mistake.  Those who don't understand the sex industry always turn to sex addiction first which is actually the "johns" problem - not ours.  He put the sex workers into sex addiction programs thinking this issue is about sex.  These same sex workers in "Sex Rehab" also failed to recover of course.  Heidi Fleiss actually was so stoned driving home from the show that she had a horrible accident and wrecked her car on the highway before even reaching home.  

Not to know just Dr. Drew, but to show how those who try and treat this like it's just the same for all addicts, instead of acknowledging sex workers require a different approach - if you watch the show "Intervention" - you'll find each time they try the same techniques on the prostitutes as they do the addicts - all that happens is they run.  That's it.  I have not seen one single prostitute accept the offer of intervention/treatment because it's too easy for them to just walk away, catch another "trick" and have a place to hide/stay in five minutes.  

I'm writing you because of Prop 47.  With so many of those inmates in the system also being in the sex industry, and with me seeing not one single word of discussion or consideration coming out of anyone to do with this project about incorporating our program into helping them to find recovery - you're looking at creating a repeat of failures I've seen repeated over and over and over again for these last 30 years, across the USA, and even into Canada, by programs who attempted to address prostitutes and/or trafficking victims, coming out of jail, and into recovery, who simply want to approach this from only a drug treatment and mental health aspect while neglecting to incorporate us into the program.

Professor Sharon Oselin, of USC, spent 10 years working on a research project with prostitutes in three programs in different states.  Only one of those programs incorporated our program into their approach.  Her findings were released in the book "Leaving Prostitution" last year.  In this report, the two programs who DID NOT incorporate our program had such a huge failure rate they DON'T EXIST ANYMORE.  The one program however who did incorporate us into their program, had the highest recovery rate in the country, they continued to operate, and the prostitutes she interviewed gave direct quotes that our program was "what turned them around".  http://nyupress.org/books/9780814770375/



I stood back and watched the "system" even try and use our literature, without incorporating our members and program behind the literature from about 2007 to 2013 with 11 projects across the USA ranging from Project Rose, to Second Chance, to Division 17, etc.  They took counselors and social workers who took our literature and tried to run meetings "their way" without our members and without doing things "our" way - and the results were disastrous.  That's why they also are shut down now with no recovery rates.  I have also watched the NY Trafficking Network try and offer trafficking victims "yoga classes" since they launched with a program who completely excluded our 12 step approach and program.  The end result is again NO recovery, and program directors back knocking on the system's door demanding "more money to make it work".  Dr. Thomas Neylan, the doctor for the veterans who works with their PTSD also has come out with a report this year confirming the best treatment for PTSD is "exposure therapy" which is exactly how our program is structured and allows our members to speak for outreach purposes - not just as fund raisers.

So the ironic thing is that our program not only works, not only produces recovery, not only has proven to produce results and get these men and women out of the sex industry, off drugs, away from their pimps, and working legal jobs where they contribute to society, as evidenced by the independent research of more than one professor and more than one reputable investigative reporter, BUT THAT WE DO IT AT NO COST.   Our workers are not paid, we don't apply for grants, we don't hold fund raisers and we don't cut off our services midway through saying we "need more money to keep things operating" like has been done in NY currently and further when we get someone into recovery we also get them out there helping still more others.

Which is all the more reason we don't understand why our calls and letters are not being returned to be included in this process of changing the system re: Prop 47 nor with any of the trafficking task forces.  Especially since I've relocated back here to become more involved again in California and that incorporating us costs not one dime of money nor takes away any work from anyone.  It's even more confusing when we have a PROVEN TRACK RECORD OF EFFECTIVENESS.  Something you're going to need with a new program you're launching.

Also, if you want to do something to reduce the number of inmates, and to increase the recovery rates of these Los Angeles residents - one has to acknowledge some hard facts about Los Angeles in order to understand why you need to be including us in these projects.  First, 80 percent of the world's porn is filmed right here.  So most of the porn performers live here.  Not New York.  Not Seattle.  Here in Los Angeles.  Second, we have the film industry here.  Look at the recent scandal with Charlie Sheen who has admitted he's HIV/AIDS positive while sleeping with porn stars, escorts and even madams like Heidi Fleiss.   In a town where most actors don't work in films - they pay the rent through stripping, porn and prostitution.  Many out of work actors and musicians used to wait tables - but many restaurants don't even have servers anymore.  I can assure you web cam performing is the new waitress job for out of work starving actors and musicians and these sex workers are not standing on street corners with a pimp on their arm.  

Third, we're next to the border of Mexico.  The Mexican Cartel trafficks in drugs and prostitutes.  They use the prostitutes as mules and to carry the dope for them so they get arrested - not us.   The cartel will do things like put the drugs in prostitutes' inplants or vaginas and then transport the drugs across the border that way.  They further use them to transport the drugs into the Beverly Hills Hotel, the homes of the Hollywood and corporte elite.  

Long Beach has a HUGE Asian gang problem.  Combine that with the Mexican cartel using prostitutes coming in from San Diego and everything else and Los Angeles has a unique position of probably having more sex workers in this area than anywhere else in the country.   It is a mistake to not include the issue of sex trafficking with drug trafficking, money laundering and other "white collar" crimes.

Look at how the Chris Butler ring operated as one example of what I mean.  This man was a retired cop so he had a lot of police connections.  He opened up a private investigative agency upon retirement where he then hired women who had said they wanted to retire from sex work to be wives and mothers as his "decoys".  These "decoys" were used to do "stings" for wealthy women who wanted to know if their husbands were cheating on them.  So he's got female private investigators who are also actresses as the story he gets all kinds of press over as his "cover" story.  He even goes on the Dr. Phil show promoting his "Charlie's Angel's" squad of female investigators.

He then opens up a string of massage parlors and escort/outcall services which he then is able to staff with women he "knows" are prostitutes, not undercover cops, not only from his days as a cop, and his cop friends' giving him the number, as well.  He's got active duty well respected cop friends - one of who is the head of a drug task force meaning no one will suspect any "funny business" going on with this guy around.  This cop then takes drugs out of the evidence rooms, transports the drugs in his cop cars so as to not be stopped with the drugs, and if they are stopped - they're in evidence bags.

The drugs are then sold through the prostitutes to the "johns" so they don't worry about them getting busted on any drug charges.  Besides, how are they going to be busted for drug sales when the drugs are being sold to a naked man in bed?  The women hired to work for him are mostly on probation meaning if they don't cooperate with this scheme - they'll be violated and carted off to jail.  So these women ARE NOT going to report any of this - the drug sales or the trafficking - to anyone.  Besides, who would believe them?  Who would believe a prostitute telling such a story about Chris, or these well-respected officers?

Others who are their "competition" who don't pay Chris a cut of their money are the ones arrested and then paraded around to show they are "cracking down on sex trafficking".  The reason they WANT the media saying "there are no beds for these victims" is because they want the prostitutes under their thumb to think there's "no where to go for help".  The LAST thing Chris and his trafficking team wanted these women to know about was either Sex Workers Anonymous or Children of the Night for those under 18 years old.  You know why?

Because we get them out and they stay out.  But when we take a victim out of this ring do we have pimps like "Hubby Bear" coming after us?  No.  We have COPS and private investigators coming after us.

Now look again at the Donald Burns case.  The man orders a male prostitute who was also in some porn to come play with him thinking he's getting a "high class escort" - not some street walking "victim" like the media portrays trafficking victims.  Do you know how Chris Butler would do his "stings" to see if a husband was cheating on his wife?  His pretty investigators would hang out at conventions, bars, business functions, and then invite the guy for a drink at the bar.  They're then pass him a roofie.  After the roofie - they'd ask to meet him back at the hotel where he has to drive to get there.  Getting into his car while under the influence - one of Chris's friends on the force would pull him over for drunk driving.  Then while pulled over - there's video of him in the car with a pretty lady.  The cop then says "if this goes to court - you're going to have this video leak out in court and your wife will find out and leave you and take the kids and you'll probably be fired.   Now I can make this go away for $200,000 or whatever the amount was".

Let's say the guy decides to fight the case.  He's going to be fighting all of Chris Butler's "friends" from the other cops to the district attorney to the judge who is going to remember Chris from the Dr. Phil show.   He doesn't stand a chance.  So he pays . Only now this crime ring also knows where this guy works, what he's afraid of leaking out, and what they can milk him for.  The CEO of Hearst Media was being blackmailed by a trafficker out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.  He refused to pay and the pimp went to the legal department with his text messages and got him fired.  With Donald Banks, he was blackmailed out of $500,000 and a car.  When he decided to go to the police to try and stop the blackmail - guess what happens?

If the blackmailers had posted any photos of Donald with men online - Donald could have obtained and injunction immediately.  The only thing Donald can't stop is public record.  So the police convince him that he can file under a fake name.  At the arrest, the cop finds a gun in the prostitute's car.  Making this a bigger case.  Donald files under the fake name - only the judge releases his full name in the public record which reaches the press.  Now the whole story is "public record" and he can't do a thing to put the genie back in the bottle.  Now any other man thinking of going to the police will be reminded by the traffickers of "look what happened to Donald Burns - and now these "johns" will gladly pay any extortion.  Not to mention trade secret espionage and even manipulate stock prices.  Look at the CEO of Glaxo Pharmaceuticals and his manipulation by "Chinese prostitutes".  Chinese prostitutes don't have the knowledge to have a pharmaceutical company "fix rates" which in turn affect the stock prices.  They're but pawns in the trafficking ring that I'm talking about where the traffickers are involved with, or are, law enforcement.

Now I ask you - could any of Chris Butler's victims just to name one name you might know of call 911 for help?  Could they contact the trafficking task force for help?  Could they go into a shelter somewhere for help and be safe?  Do you think simply going into a drug treatment program or getting a therapist is going to help these victims?  Do you think anti-depressants are going to be able to help such victims deal with this?  Sorry but no.  Which is why the victims came to us for help.  We were able to relocate them where they couldn't be found where they are now getting those things treated safely and securely.

Leaving Chris Butler, and his cop friends, and a lot of nervous people, coming after us trying to shut us down and retrieve those victims.  Because each minute one victim is out from under their control is a minute for all they know she's talking to some reporter or some prosecutor who might be building a case against them.  To make sure people aren't listening to anything we have to say on behalf of these victims - they tell anyone who will listen "Oh Jody is crazy and makes up stuff" so that anything we say against them isn't taken seriously.  Also, so the victims will think they won't get help from us also.  But some are smart enough to see through this and call anyway.  These are women I assure you are not going to go on the news telling their story also.  They're not going to come down to your board of supervisor's meeting talking about how we helped them either.

Leaving us to get him arrested with what we did.  We convinced one of his own male investigators he had to go to the press to tell the story.  Look, not one of their victims is going to file a case against them directly with the police.  She'll wind up just another dead hooker found hung in her backyard like Jeane Palfrey.  Protective custody?  Tell that to the witness against Paul Tanaka who got lost for days in our jail.  Go to the FBI?  The FBI who was threatened by cops in the Tanaka case?  No - the ONLY WAY to shut him down is what we did.  We convinced a male investigator to go to the press.  The press ran a story and then charges were brought.  Now I can assure you if an officer were to ask one of these women during an arrest "are you being exploited?" she's going to be thinking about her safety in jail, and the safety of her children back at home and she's going to say "no" which is what most "real" victims say when asked in such a manner.

Some of the victims in the Chris Butler ring have tried traditional drug treatment, counseling at the mental health center, medications to deal with their anxiety, Narcotics Anonymous meetings, church, etc.  They are not properly equipped to help these women to not only get out from under such a ring - but also to "recover" and/or stay clean and therefore out of jail.

Now I've spoken to undercover police who confirm the trafficking here is more ruthless and larger than anywhere else in this country because of men like Chris Butler.  I can assure you while he and another cop were arrested - the ring itself is still operating.   Right now as we speak - women are being moved through this network in cop and sheriff's cars, along with the drugs, guns, stolen items, counterfeit checks, and stolen ID information, also moved in these cars to avoid being stopped.  I know for a fact anyone who tries to report these people to the police is met with threats from other officers and then attorney's where they're threatened with restraining orders, gag orders, etc.

When I went to the Pasadena Chief of Police with information on the ring involving Gary Kidgell who was sentenced for pimping in Wichita, but owns property in Pasadena, and this woman was threatened, and tried to report one of the victims of this ring was drug out of her home by two cops and slapped with fake prostitution charges to stop her from leaving - I was threatened by an attorney, a police officer, and then finally a 5150 campaign to make me drop the case.  Other people right now are in the same situation and they aren't even BELIEVED, let alone are they able to find help through some intern at the mental health center nor by being put into a drug treatment center.  They even have paid informants encouraging them to not stop engaging in crime or drugs because they want off the hook.

These are all men and women coming into your criminal justice system that granted has been receiving a lot of training recently in sex trafficking BUT NOT in how the sex industry works as I'm explaining to you now are cases we see and how that impacts not only your criminal justice system but also your mental health system, social services, drug counseling, domestic violence, etc.  I've seen the way these systems are set up, and I've seen their training materials on sex trafficking and I can assure you I already have survivors reporting to me they not only are not being helped - but they think the whole thing is a complete joke.

What you're doing by not incorporating us into these projects is about the same as trying to help an addict while totally excluding Narcotics Anonymous and recovering addicts.  Meaning it won't work.  For example, are you aware that out of every five incidents of sexual violence in an ER about three of those incidents are sex workers?  These are victims of sexual violence, domestic violence, rape, and/or other abuse who are not receiving any help through these other programs because they're denying help to sex workers or just ill-equipped.  

Look to the case of Christy Mack as one example.  This woman IS NOT a "trafficking victim".  She is not a "criminal" either.  But she was the victim of a horrific attack by "War Machine".  A man who has not only worked in martial arts - but also in the porn industry.  He's now in jail for that assault and I can assure you the treatment he's receiving in jail right now is not giving him any type of mental health care designed to treat male sex workers within the criminal justice system.  

However, if your'e going to get him out of jail and "rehabilitate" him - you're going to have to address his past in the porn industry.  Just as some of the other pimps who are within your criminal justice system.  Because our program works with ALL sex workers, including trafficking victims.  Not JUST trafficking victims.  Sex workers include trafficking victims.  But again only focusing on trafficking victims is leaving 90 percent of sex workers' needs unaddressed.

Go back to Christy.  She said after the attack she is "not going to quit porn".  I ask you "how could she?"  Who would hire her?  Would you hire a known porn star to be your receptionist?  In the programs you are working with right now - do they have a list of reputable companies who would hire someone like her for a well paying job that one can live on at say something like $25 an hour?  We do.  Would she go into a domestic violence shelter in downtown Los Angeles - leaving her pets, her home, to share a room with four other street walking junkies?  I doubt it.  Can she get help through the trafficking victim's programs being that she's a porn performer with no pimp?  Nope.  

This town is repeating mistakes already made in the 1970's and 80's.  I watched the county spend $120,000 in 1986 to "reach out to prostitutes" through billboards and bus signs.  Women like Christy Mack don't rise buses.  Nor do the women who were infected with HIV/AIDS by Charlie Sheen nor the women who were being trafficked by Chris Butler.  Those signs netted zero results.

Yet in the last two years - I've seen this county spend over TWO MILLION DOLLARS on bus signs and billboards that when I've followed up on the results I've been told they are ZERO.   We made those mistakes in the past and that's why Tom Bradley incorporated our program's involvement into the issue of the public's health and safety with respect to HIV/AIDS, the criminal justice system, AND the mental health and social services arenas'.  

Once we did that and WE were involved in creating and executing outreach campaigns - we had amazing results.  Again, I can show you how for example AIM stopped HIV/AIDS epidemics right in their tracks.  Now they've been shut down for 10 years - guess what?  We're in another epidemic.  It's registered in Mexico, Nashville, Durham, Chicago, China, Indiana and also Los Angeles (again as we've seen proved with Charlie's positive status).  Based on Charlie's history with sex workers - I can assure you we're now in another epidemic.  Our hotline is now receiving as many calls with those HIV/AIDS positive as we did in the 1980's.

This epidemic I blame on AIM being shut down and on the AHF.  Not only is the AHF not run another an ex-sex worker or survivor who understands how to get access to the workers, but they've also refused to even return my phone calls with respect to their outreach campaigns into the sex industry.  They've tried to bring in a "faith based" outreach to porn performers as he did with Shelley Lubben who approaches this as a Christian "faith based" issue.  Our studies had shown faith based outreaches ALWAYS failed.   Just as churches trying to get alcoholics to sign "pledges" didn't work.  
In the early 90's I was regularly training drug treatment counselors and helping to design programs.  Programs which went up and worked back east and in Canada.  However, for the last two years I've been in Los Angeles now I've also been refused to even offer free training to local drug treatment programs.  Why?  

Two reasons.  The first being that most education today is sponsored by the pharmaceutical companies.  For our community, who have the highest levels of PTSD to deal with because of years and years of abuse growing up usually - they are over 4000 % more likely to be addicts.  Meaning they can't take the same types of drugs the non-addicts can.   Now the last thing that these pharmaceutical companies want to hear is that our community I work with usually have things like low thyroids because of the overloading of stress on the adrenals.  A low thyroid will mimic almost identically bipolar disorder.  We also tend to have a high degree of poly-cystic ovarian syndrome or insulin resistance.  Meaning we have severe mood swings on sugar and lactose.   Meaning that sometimes we need to modify our diets rather than being put on mood stabilizing pills.   So these trainings sponsored by pharmaceutical companies don't want to hear us talking about things like a change in diet,  or full medical screenings BEFORE they're just put on a bunch of pills.  

Pills that make it almost impossible during the early stages to go to things like vocational training that our community is having to do in early recovery.  The addict/alcoholic has a job usually.  However, we have to go out and get a job meaning train for a job and if you're in the first month of being on three or four different medications -  you're not going to be able to study in that condition.  If you read Suzy Favor-Hamilton's book "Fast Girl" she confirms the early days of her going on medications had her a zombie.  Had it not been for a rich husband - she would have relapsed or not made it out at ll.  So no the pharmaceutical companies don't invite me to speak at their trainings.  

The other is look at drug treatment centers in Los Angeles not covered by Medi-cal.  Some are $10,000 a week.  Now where is the money for that going to come from?  Why sugar daddy - that how.  This town has porn performers, strippers, and high level escorts who have people wanting them off drugs - but DON'T want them hearing someone like me telling them they have to "refuse to be taken care of financially like a child and to become fully self-supporting through a job sourced income" because that threatens a lot of "sugar babies" in town.

We screen programs who work with children for pedophiles.  Peophiles drawn to work with children.  However, there are traffickers drawn to work with prostitutes they can exploit that we do NOT have  a screening in place to address.  I can't tell you how many sex workers have told me the counselors, program directors, therapists, etc., have been sexually inappropriate with them because who is going to believe the prostitute over them?

Look in the news - traffickers are social workers, foster parents, teachers, counselors, probation officers, even police.  There is no screening in place for that type of predator.  I point you to the Adult Protection Advocacy Council which was being directed by James Deen for a long time.  While he was in charge - he refused to allow us to address the performers in his council.  Now it's come out he's possibly raped more than one performer and more are coming forward daily reporting he was abusive to them.   

So yes, we're going to be shut out of organizers who may have people working within them who exploit this community and until we change the structure - the only way we have to make sure that the sex workers, the trafficking victims, and anyone who has been in any type of commercialized sex, whether legal or illegal, is if we're included by the organizers such as the city council, board of supervisors, legislators, etc.

Last June I tried to organize an outreach campaign to go out to the sex industry to get signs posted with SB1193.  I was promptly shut down by CASTLA who was wanting to instead of going into the sex industry and pulling men and women out - instead they wanted to "build a bigger waiting list for help. When I asked why they wanted a longer waiting list of names on their waiting list for help rather than to start pulling some people out to safety - they said "we're preparing for a fund raising where we're asking for $50,00 a plate".   I received no help at all with the project from local law enforcement, CASTLA, nor even the media and you know why?  Because Jim McDonnell was "waiting on a grant for $4.5 million dollars" for Long Beach, and your board was in the process of approving $7 million dollars for services.

So the last thing anyone wanted to talk to me about was a couple of SWA members going into the strip clubs, massage parlors, webcam studios, porn sets, porn modeling agencies, and hanging up the signs as per SB1193 and introducing the sex workers we encountered to Sex Workers Anonymous and Children of the Night for those under 18 years of age.  I don't do campaigns like that unless the local police is aware of what we're doing in case a pimp at one of these sites decides to get aggressive with us.  Each station I spoke to refused to back us up and you know why?  Because Jim was telling everyone to "hold up on doing anything" until he could get his grants approved.

When I would try and open up a dialogue with women like Jackie Lacey during this time, I've be blown off by her staff who "found the name of our program offensive".  To me that's like saying one finds the program of "Narcotics Anonymous" offensive because the name "legitimizes drug use".  That's about how ridiculous this sounded to me when I heard it.  Especially to refuse to talk to us about 

Now we don't "legitimize" sex work by the name of our program.  We identify by the terms our members identify with when they come in the door.  As I've explained we cast a much wider net this way which includes the industry as a whole - which has to be addressed as a whole if you can to stop these men and women from going back to jail in the future.  No different than Narcotics Anonymous calling someone an "addict" does not condone drug use - but also includes those on prescription as well as street drugs to include any manifestation.  

There was a break within the system we set up in the 80's and 90's when the TVRA of 2003 came out backed by Bush who essentially gave federal money to ONLY faith based programs.  Any program who did not come out "against" the sex industry was shunned and excluded - which included us.  However, we can't "have an opinion" against or for the industry because of the  traditions anymore than Narcotics Anonymous can get involved in the medical marijuana issue in the legislature.  Excluding has has led to an explosion in trafficking as well as HIV/AIDS now rampant - as well as your jails and prisons now overflowing with men and women who are not going to be considered "victim" but who could be released into our care.

Professor Sharon Oselin did a ten year study on three programs working with prostitutes.  One of three programs incorporated our 12 step program into theirs.  Out of the three - that one is the only one still operating.  The results were the record for the highest recovery rates in the country, and in history, was the program that incorporated our program into theirs.  Just as how an alcohol treatment program that incorporates AA is more effective than one without.

Our "sponsors" also provide "glue" for the cracks in any system. We can follow our "sponsees" to any program they go to.  If they move - we move.  If they turn over 18 - we don't "age out" with them like some juvenile programs.  We aren't limited to only women.  We work with the LGBT community as well as those who are Jewish, Buddhist or even atheist.  Many of the programs I'm seeing incorporated in Prop 47 are Christian based which I agree are great for the addict but will exclude the prostitutes who have an almost 100 percent failure rate in Christian based programs. 

Let me point to the problems at the Welcome Center by the Staple Center where a 12 year old girl was trafficked supposedly.  Where there's not enough beds or foster homes for these kids who aren't being properly supervised.   I assure you it's going to take time and money to solve that problem there and in the system.  

However, right now today - if those kids who were trying to stay out of prostitution, or away from a pimp, were provided our phone number then we could at least assign them a "sponsor".  The sponsor would then be keeping track of that kid.  If you can't find them a bed - then at least our sponsors would be keeping an eye on them to make sure they're okay.  That's without a law being passed, or a committee formed, or a study done, or money raised.  That's right now today - if we were allowed to give our number to those kids we can provide some help to watch over them.   

We can also speak for those who can't speak publicly in fear.  For example, an inmate who might find themselves afraid to report a guard being sexually inappropriate with them - however we can file  a report on their behavior on their behalf.  

If this board wants to do something to reduce the numbers of people being incarcerated, and to stop the revolving door - then they need to start recognizing our program, and incorporating us into this process because many of these inmates are also involved in prostitution, sex trafficking, the sex industry, and therefore even if not charged with prostitution are a community we can help.

I am writing you these long emails and letters because for one thing - we are repeatedly excluded from trafficking events and panels.  I've asked repeatedly to be notified of when these events are held so we can attend, and I've offered to speak, or send in members/survivors to speak - only to keep finding we're excluded.  We're not even told when the events are being held so we can attend in the audience.  I've offered to speak at HEAT and denied.  I asked to attend the training workshop for SB1193 only to find no one returning my calls because I was "not a member of their church".  I've left I don't know how many messages to speak to people such as Don Knabe, Mark Ridley-Thomas, Jim McDonnell - only to receive no response at all.

We are not federally funded nor do we hold fund raisers.  I don't have the financial means to come down to your board meetings, sit for 8 hours on a hard bench, nor am I willing to go put my face on camera and identify as a survivor to come to your board meetings.  We are an "anonymous" program because many people don't respond well to our past.  My daughter has a brain tumor and I can't afford to alienate her doctors by putting my face on camera and alerting them her mother used to be a prostitute 30 years ago.  

The same for our members.  They're WORKING during the day of your board meetings.  Many are working in fields where if they're past came out they'd be fired or maybe lost their marriages.  Look at the news - there are teachers being fired over  porn shoot coming out from 10 years before they became teachers.  We recently had a member working as a counselor at the jail who was fired because one of the inmates saw one of her old porn shoots from 20 years ago.  That was it  - she was fired.

So no - our members aren't in positions to come down to your board meetings or public events to introduce themselves to you.  But they're in our meetings for the members coming in the door.  

I appreciate your listening to my request to have our program, and members, included in this move of the county towards not only reducing the inmate population - but also in trying to get the services out there needed by this community in a way we can't do because of having to remain "anonymous" and because of being "non-professional".  

Thank you.

Jody Williams
www.sexworkersanonymous.com
www.leavingtheliferadio.com
(702) 468-4529

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.