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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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'.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.