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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

OPEN LETTER TO EMPIRE WRITERS

I am so thankful Gabourey Sidibe is playing Lucious' assistant on your show.  Quickie intro to myself - I'm the founder of the modern day sex trafficking movement, as well as Sex Workers Anonymous which runs the largest and oldest hotline in the country for adults seeking help to exit the industry in it's many forms.  You can verify this claim with news clips at www.hightechmadam.com

It's become kind of a running joke among our members that we can always tell who is "retired" from sex work vs. who are the "newcomers" to our program coming in the door just by one look.  The reason is because of weight gain so many of us, especially trafficking survivors, put on after coming into recovery from sex work, stripping, porn, etc.  

For those who were on drugs while in sex work - they gain weight trying to adjust to life without drugs. For those who had pimps or traffickers - most of the time they're starved to keep their weight down or simply from neglect.  So when they come into recovery and freedom - they tend to want to eat everything in sight just out of the joy of being able to.  For a lot who were in porn - they find putting on the weight helps them not be recognized so they won't have trouble finding work or be stared at while in line at the supermarket.  For the strippers, they're using to a lot of dancing so when they get desk jobs or retire - they tend to gain weight from inactivity.  Of course many of our members also have eating disorders.  So for one reason or another, most of us tend to put on a lot of weight in recovery.  I myself in my first year of recovery put on 100 pounds.  

For those of us trying to find work in Los Angeles, especially with people in the entertainment and corporate field we've found that we're judged more for weight gain than our past in sex work.  When I was gaining weight my first year out and working as a paralegal - I found the firms' would hire less experienced paralegals than myself who were thinner.  Some have resorted to requiring videotaped interviews just to keep out people who are overweight.

So to see her character being that of the right hand woman of  a powerful man and a powerful company was truly ground breaking in my opinion.  Sure you have the fat housekeeper in "Two and A Half Men" - but this is a large woman in a corporate and powerful job.   I've seen the impact of this character in the workplace.  I'm seeing jobs opening up to our members who have gained weight trying to put their lives back together because people learn from what they watch.

I also was impressed you made her a sexual being.  Which is why I wanted to write you with a story line idea for her.  Many shows on TV base their fictional stories and people on "true life" situations.  Which is why I think you could easily adapt into the Empire Story line what Snoop Dogg has now confessed to doing during his 2003 Playboy tour.  He says he "always had a fantasy about being  pimp" so he got n RV and "sold pussy from coast to coast".  http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/snoop-lion-opens-up-about-his-pimp-past-20130508  Now he's spoken about this - I can speak about what happened on my end without violating any confidences or being slapped with a defamation lawsuit.  Since it was online - it's now in the "public domain" also.  
I called it the "pimp revival tour".  The women would be put on the RV where they were confronted with NFL players, Snoop, and other wealthy, powerful famous men.  They were stoned and drunk.  The women were alone.  Snoop reports he "explained" his fantasy to these women and then asked for them to "play along".  He says as they "handed him the money he returned it" as it "wasn't about the money".  

We need to raise awareness about what "no" means.  Let me ask you - if you were a young 110 pound female and alone and you were suddenly confronted with a room full of these rich, powerful, famous men, who were all high/drunk asking you to "live out their fantasy" would you even THINK of saying "no"?  Wouldn't you be afraid to say "no"?  Then again if a woman said "no" in such an environment - would she have been heard?  

Snoop says he "put some women out of the RV" while on the road.  Local pimps in each city knew about these rejects, and knew they had already been "turned out" and that they could also resell them to the local "johns" for high dollar being they'd been on the RV with Snoop.   So just like religious revivals where the preachers come to town to whip up the crowd and then turn them over to the local pastors - during Snoop's pimping tour - the local pimps would come out and scoop up the leftovers. 

Pimps who weren't so nice.  Needless to say, what police would want to stop this or arrest Snoop?  Certainly not Nevada.  I got a call from a senator who explained to me that a very famous and violent pimp had got one woman away from the RV who was also now four months pregnant.  That she was being pimped out of a vacant apartment with nothing but a mattress on the floor where she was chained to the toilet by her ankle.  He'd send the johns in to see her and then come and pick up his money.  Only if the police came to get her they'd have to arrest him.  With his outstanding warrants and past record - he'd then want to turn on Snoop.  No prosecutor in Nevada wanted to have a case against Snoop in fear they'd make the O.J. trial look like a warn-up and everyone would look like fools.  Especially when the DA at the time was doing cocaine and they didn't even want to think about what the press would do over the case.  I mean look at what happened with the press when Lamar collapsed in Nevada.

To bypass all of this - they called us to go and get her out of there.  I asked about expenses for this because her family was in another state where I'd have to get her to once released and they said "they didn't want to leave  paper trail" and besides there's no budget for such types of "operations."  They did offer to go and arrest him on his outstanding warrants to keep him away overnight so I could go in, free her, and get her to her family out-of-state.

Which I did.  Interestingly MTV was doing a whole campaign on sex trafficking then.  They were making arrangements to film a "True Life" episode of my work, and a series of public service announcements for Sex Workers Anonymous.  So I also contacted MTV.  First, because I thought we could get the camera crews out to start filming this rescue since we were going to do a show about our rescue work anyways.  Second, because I wanted to know who his producer was.  I didn't know if Snoop knew what was happening to his rejects, that they were being trafficked by horrible pimps, so I was thinking if I made contact with him we could discuss him stopping this fantasy game of his.  I also was trying to get ahold of his promoters to let them know about the potential liability.  I mean look at what happened to Joe Francis with "Girls Gone Wild" and them not verifying a womans' age before filming her.  With this, were they checking ID before turning them out into an act of prostitution?  This was serious and I wanted to reach out to his producers to let them know so steps could be taken to shut this whole thing down.

What did happen instead was the producers I was working with were fired.  Then MTV switches the launch of their "trafficking campaign" to Thailand.  Which sent a really screwed up message to the sex workers here - like we cared about Sweden's victims -- but not American victims (the MTV Exit Project was changed to launch in Sweden rather than the USA.)  All talk of us running public service announcements, also warning to get your HIV test and put yourself on the vaccine, was canned.  So by reaching out to save this woman - I shot our projects with MTV in the foot.

Now - what if you mirrored this story only you had Gabourey's character being the one who reached out to help a young woman who found herself pregnant chained to a toilet?  Then she finds herself being fired for speaking up to stop what was happening?  She could even file a "wrongful termination" lawsuit or something like that.  

When asked why she'd jeapordize her job for "some whore" - she could tell the story of how she'd once been a trafficking victim as a teen.  That she identified and knew no one was going to help that girl - especially if the police were refusing to get involved because they didn't want to publicity or to put themselves in a position to be sued for defamation by Snoop.  

You could even show how the pimp/rapper character started a "youth football league" once he went off tour and how today he's auditioning teenage cheerleaders, teaching young men how to treat women, and launched his own medical marijuana service as the "real life" character has done!  You can't write this shit!  

I think that's a hell of a story line for her character don't you think?  It could be used to explain why she's overweight still while holding such a powerful job - that she's holding onto it because she (1) doesn't want to be recognized from her past, and (2) because she is protecting herself emotionally from her past as a victim of trafficking.  

You could even tie this into the National Trafficking Hotline if you didn't want to give out ours and/or www.childrenofthenight.org who is for teens.  

If you'd like to talk more about the story idea - call me anytime.  I've relocated back to Los Angeles to take my "true life adventures" and turn them into scripts to sell.  So I'm here locally and would love to even maybe meet some real live writers on such a well-written show!   Thanks again for Empire.  

Thank you - Jody Williams (702) 468-4529
www.sexworkersanonymous.com
www.hightechmadam.com
www.leavingtheliferadio.com
www.traffickingand prostitutionservices.com










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