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Saturday, January 2, 2016

OPEN LETTER TO GIDEON FOUNDATION

I read that Gideon's Bible's wants to put the soaps' in with their Bibles in hotels.  This is what I wrote them about that idea?

Dear Gideons:


Please allow me to introduce myself.  I'm the founder of the modern day sex trafficking movement. While Wilber Wilberforce was the founder of the anti-slavery movement - I'm the person who stood up in modern day America and said that not only was sex trafficking still happening, but that our legal system had to do something in order to help these victims.  

I did this because no one was believing this was real.  In 1965 Elvis Presley himself had tried to get the word out to America the only way he knew how - in "Harem Holiday".  This was a film about rescuing a woman from a harem.  It was written off as a bad movie.  

In 1973, Bruce Lee tried to enlighten us in "Enter the Dragon".  In the underground scene he showed both human trafficking victims with the men who were on one side being trafficked for organs and labor.  On the other side of the underground cells, he showed a white woman with blond hair, not an Asian woman, being drugged and begging for his help to be released.  Of course it was just written off as being "a movie".

In 1980, Linda Lovelace tried to tell America that she had been forced to film "Deep Throat" while her pimp pointed a gun to her head on this mob financed film while no one saved her.  The audiences laughed at her and even "boo'd".  Mostly she was written off as being "jealous.  She took her story to the Meese Commission to try and get porn banned - not to start the revolution up again.

I say "again" because the Mann Act had been written to do something about Asian women who were brought over here to be worked as prostitutes.  Only the country refused to learn how the sex industry worked - so instead the only two men who were arrested under the Mann Act were two black men for marrying white women.  As a result, it was laughed at and considered to be a "myth". America didn't believe sex trafficking was real in the 60's, 70',s or early 80's when I came on the scene.   So there was NO sex trafficking movement at all when I came along.  It had failed.

But sex trafficking was still a reality itself.  I was witnessing things like Chuck Barris who was the producer of the "Dating Game" by day, who was using his position to get the papers for these pretty girls to leave the country on these "dates" - only to never be heard from again.  He showed this in his film "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind".  But I ask you - do you know how crazy one sounded in 1980's trying to tell the police Chuck Barris from the Gong Show was a CIA agent, involved in Iran Contra, and that our own government was selling women off overseas as sex slaves?  

I assure you bars of soap in hotel rooms like Theresa Flores sells would have changed nothing back then,  or if I hadn't stepped up to lay my groundwork I did, because the police, mental health, and courts, didn't believe us when we would try and explain these sorts of things - and also why sometimes we were being arrested for things we were forced to do against our will.   Even if they did this didn't mean it was wise to come forward as we saw in the Margo Compton case. http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/When-Jailbirds-Sing-It-was-the-pure-savagery-of-3018647.php  She was being trafficked by the Hell's Angel's and when she came forward - she was murdered along with her children.   Meaning sometimes it's not the smartest thing to call the police - even now.  But keep in mind that when you call the Trafficking Hotline - you're essentially trying to report someone for trafficking you.  But for some of us again that's not such a good idea.  I know in my case - I already had men in our government trying to kill me as it was, as well as police officers.  I say that because when they raided my warehouse the cops realized I had tapes of cops having sex with prostitutes and next thing I know I have cops trying to kill me back in the day.  So I couldn't have turned to the police either for help with my case.

Because the police, mental health, social services, even domestic violence and homeless shelters refused to even help us back in the 1980's - I put together the first safe house for adults in 1984.   You can read the clip about the arrest at www.hightechmadam.com   However, it got me arrested when the pimp got angry and called the police saying I was running a brothel with the women who he had broken her arm, her nose and blacked both her eyes.  Now she testified against him - but now before the police confiscated everything I owned because I had obtained it through criminal money.

This was when I went to Edwin Meese and told him we needed something different - but that I didn't think it was right we be arrested as the criminals those of us who like this woman or Linda were forced to do what they were doing.   He told me he doubted we'd ever stop arresting prostitutes, but we could at least set up an "alternative to sentencing" program for them.  

Which we did in 1987.  The first hotline for adults who wanted help to leave the sex industry for any reason and the 12 step program, as well the alternative sentencing program was launched in 1987.  More important - when I stepped up in the national media then to announce it I stated our country had to change.  Especially since it was refusing assistance to us under the victims fund calling us "criminals".

I was told we had to get federal recognition of this being "real" to change that.  So we pushed for this and the Trafficking Act of 2000 was passed.  A movement was born and then hijacked - a view shared by the author of the act, Michael Horowitz.  http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/las-vegas/nevada-movement-draws-line-human-trafficking   He and I agree this movement has been "hijacked" by people who are looking at it as a way to make money - with the goals of the work being lost here.  

One of the things I liked in the story of Moses where he is talking to the Pharaoh about "letting my people go" and showing that God's power is behind him - is that the court magicians are mimicking a lot of the same things.  Like how they were able to turn a rod into a snake.  

Might I point out a few facts please because I heard you have a lunch coming up where you're thinking about putting in some soaps in with your Bibles?  We launched our hotline which is still operating in 1987 - 30 years ago.  It's answered by another member of our program and does more than direct people to us.  

It also provides referrals to services to anyone who needs help to find services of any kind to EXIT any part of the sex industry whether trafficked or not.  Trafficking victims comprise about 10 percent of the sex industry.  The rest, which are prostitutes, madams, strippers, porn performers, phone sex operators,  dominatrix's, sugar babies, escorts, even pimps, may or may not, be trafficking victims.  They may, or may not, have a drug problem.  They might want to quit because they're old, pregnant, sick, wanting to get off drugs, getting married, or have 100 other reasons why they want to quit.  

Both the National Trafficking Hotline, and S.O.A.P. wouldn't exist had not we sacrificed a great deal in order to convince America trafficking was real, and that we were not just as bunch of "junkie criminals" that no one should care about.  Because trust me before we started our movement - no one cared about us.  Mothers of the GRIM Reaper murder victims protested in the streets about their daughters' being murdered - and the LAPD did NOTHING for 25 years because to them it was "one less criminal to worry about".  

How did we do this?  If you look at the media - when madams were arrested like I was they all made a movie.  The Mayflower Madam, Hollywood Madam, Beverly Hills Madam, etc.  So when everyone was waiting for the "High Tech  Madam" to come out with her movie glamorizing the sex industry - instead I came out and said I wasn't going to come out with the "fairy tale" because it wasn't the "whole truth".  I then started telling the audience the "whole truth".

Which meant I had to refuse all those book and movie offers or we wouldn't be here today talking about this.  In fact, I saved up all those book and movie offers until I hit a million dollars.  Then I went on the Joan Rivers' show - and showed them to the camera and Joan.  I then showed that I had this money offered me to tell a lie about the industry - and I tore the contracts up.  I told the audience that "if I wanted money I could go back into the industry" but that it was "more important to me that people believe me". 

Now to be believed meant I had to go on national shows like 60 Minutes, 20/20, Good Morning America, etc., with no wigs, no sunglasses, no heavy make-up, no fake names, and I had to show my news clippings, open up my life so people could snoop around to see the truth, look the camera in the eye - and let people see and hear the sincerity in my face, eyes and voice when I would talk about these crazy stories about how Chuck would audition pretty girls for the "Dating Game" to get his videotapes, then look for women with no family, ship those tapes overseas (before internet), and then get the papers to take these women out of the country.  I was clearly believed because the Trafficking Act was passed.

But I also came home from these shows to find myself evicted and fired every time.  Sometimes my car was spray painted "whore".  Sometimes I'd have things thrown at me from moving cars.  Sometimes I had death threats to shut up.   One year I was fired and evicted every single month!

There was no grant money for our hotline to go in.  We had no internet and no VOIP either.  Meaning to get an 800 number I had to rent an office, install a business line, and pay $1.00 a minute which gave us $1000 a month phone bills.  What grants?  There was no trafficking grants because there was not trafficking offices back then because we had not trafficking act yet.  Literally back then what we were saying was like saying that "aliens were selling our women" so we had to install and pay for that first hotline and I had to get a second job to do so.

Polaris has now answered about 100,000 calls.  Our hotline has answered over 500,000 calls.  If this field ever folded, we'd still continue answering because our program will continue.  It will continue after I die from our members running it.  Also, we serve a larger population.  There will be prostitutes needing help to leave prostitution long after we get rid of sex trafficking.

Which is what concerns me about the message sent by these soaps.  First of all, the trafficking victims we help can't pick up a phone and call for help.  If they can't call for help - we don't define that as a trafficking victim.  If they can't call for help - they don't need the same type of help as a trafficking victim either.  For the trafficking victims - we have to go in and find them, and then get them out.  I've had to pose as a madam, pose as a cleaning lady, I've had men pose as "johns", we've set up fake interviews for a new brothel opening in town to flush out victims - I mean you have to go out and FIND victims of trafficking and BRING help to them.

If someone is in a hotel where they need help - they need to call 911 if they're in that dire of a situation.  Now I don't know if you've ever called the hotline, but I have.  What they do when you call them is they give you the phone number of  a local group near you to call.  If you go through the list they have of trafficking groups however - I've yet to find one that will go out and get these women and none of them serve men.  Also, many of them are connected to law enforcement.  If you look at the case recently of the DEA owned strip club, http://nypost.com/2015/05/20/dea-agents-secretly-owned-strip-club-with-illegal-immigrant-dancers-feds/  Kemp Shiffer, http://goingconcern.com/2011/8/former-irs-investigator-cum-accounting-professor-claims-he-took-money-from-18-year-old-prostitute-to-protect-her-denies-pimp-status Chris Butler, http://patch.com/california/sanramon/private-investigator-christopher-butler-pleads-guilty0df4c86437 the victims we help that are connected to the cops - you can't call the cops when they are the traffickers.  

It just doesn't work that way.  Things have to be "organized" and then help has to bring transportation to the victim.  Every trafficking program in this country UNLESS you're arresting your pimp on the spot, will put you in a homeless or domestic violence shelter.  Not one of them in this country provides transportation.   So what you're left with is a woman in  hotel room with a useless phone number most of the time and very frustrated.

That's what they tell us when they call us.  They say "I called the hotline and yada yada yada" and then "the homeless shelter said they can take me but I have to get there and I don't have a ride" or "I can't call the police" or we usually just wind up right where we started.  What we do however is we find out what's going on and then we organize what they need with them on the line.  If they need to go somewhere - then we organize transportation for them, make sure they can get in, and we get things arranged.

Which frankly if they can call us is usually 99 percent of the time not what's needed.  If they can call us - then what they want is help to get out of the sex industry.   For that, we connect them to our local chapter.  Now we have been investigated by three reputable investigative reporters over the years.  Professor Sharon Oselin did a 10 year study on three programs with ones being one of them.  The study found ours to be the one still standing at the end of the study and the women were quoted as saying our program is what worked for them.  This woman, and these prostitutes, didn't even know me, so that was all unbias.  So we don't have a bunch of news stories written by friends, or reporters we charmed, or written to support fund raisers.  

The reporters who have written about us were major reputable investigative reporters, who came to check us out with their own eyes, and validate things with their own eyes.  So well that Bob Herbert even got threatened with a "baseball bat to the head" by then mayor Oscar Goodman for verifying our claim that you could "throw a rock and hit  a trafficking victim in a local strip club in Vegas" while he was trying to expand the brothels into downtown Vegas.  So Bob went into a club in downtown Vegas and reported he found one in 15 minutes.  That's when all hell broke loose - but that's the sign of a good reporter.

Professor Sharon Oselin studied our members over a 10 year period of time.  Our members have been with us over 30 years.  I have frankly yet to meet anyone who has gotten out of the sex industry, and found recovery, through finding a bar of soap in a hotel room.  I'm frankly concerned about the message it sends as a Christian.   The 12 step program is based on biblical concepts and it also teaches not only about "amends" and "redemption" but it also talks about how "anyone who wants it" can have it.  If you want to have recovery from alcoholism - you can have it.  With addiction - they don't make a distinction between whether you're a prescription drug addict or  street addict to offer you recovery.  They don't say "oh you used street drugs so you don't count - in fact you don't even exist".  

But frankly that's what's happened since the TVRA of 2003.  Since they turned over the trafficking field I founded to the "faith based" community only, what the TVRA said was that you could ONLY offer services to those who condemned pornography and prostitution as wrong and not an industry.  But to me that's a value judgment.  One that places shame.   I'm frankly very disturbing by this new movement that shuts out anyone that doesn't say they were "forced" or a "victim" and tells anyone who simply was in the business that now says they want out that they're on the same level as a trafficker because someone didn't have a gun to their head.  

The even more disturbing part of that is it's encouraging a whole new trend now of people who are using this essentially in the same manner as one would who would be saying "I'm not responsible for what I did last night because I was drunk".   I'm not responsible for raping you last night because I was drunk.  Oh I'm not responsible for anything I did back then because I was a "victim".  I assure you I've seem a new level of person coming up in this movement that seems to take no accountability for any of their actions by casting under the label of "victim" - and they seem to be creating a distance between themselves and those who are like the other 90 percent of the community and are quitting because they're getting old, sick, pregnant, tired, finished school.

Even within Theresa's own story - yes the rape she endured was horrible.  But she made a choice to keep it a secret.  She made a choice to go along with "working it off".  Theresa had other choices and despite the threats was not forced at gunpoint.  She could have gone to the authorities, and what was done to her was illegal.  I look at the sex industry as a whole.  I have interviews with some of our members up at www.leavingtheliferadio.com and I invite you to listen to some.  We have a woman who was a Playboy Bunny and stripper and then got old and wanted to retire.  We have a woman who was in Hustler and wanted to retire.  We have an ex-pimp who is now a minister because he realized what he was doing was wrong.  We also have a woman whose mother was putting her out there to help pay for her own baby and the bills when she was a teen mom.  These people don't fit the mold of someone who would call the police or the National Trafficking Hotline - but they did call our hotline and they did get help as well provide assistance to anyone who calls for any reason.  

Bibles in a hotel room will be timeless.  But you don't put churches contact information in them because frankly they come and go.  If the person seeing the Bible wants to find one - they'll pick up the local yellow pages.  If they have  a trafficking problem - they can call 911 for help no matter where they are also.  But frankly the money that would be spent on putting in soap with a phone number in rooms just isn't sustainable and I don't see any proof anywhere that it works.  

IF ANYTHING - I have Sharon Oselin's study showing our program works.  I have yet to see one study showing me that the S.O.A.P. soap in a hotel is saving lives, both male and female, of all ages, across the board, because there's another problem with the National Trafficking Hotline.  Go on their site and look at their map of services.  Let's take Nevada for example.  Our hotline covers al of the USA, into Canada, Mexico, and five other countries.  We cover all of Nevada.  SWA has three chapters in Nevada also - one in Vegas, Pahrump and Carson City.  We have the hotline and phone meetings covering the whole state.    However, if you look at the Polaris resource directory  - you'll only see the Hookers for Jesus program which runs a tiny house.  They don't have a hotline and they don't have an outpatient program.  Nor do they help other parts of the state.  

Alcoholics Anonymous is still here - longer than any treatment program.  We aren't dependent upoin funding or who is in office.  We also cover anyone in the whole sex industry who needs help to exit the industry - rather than the 10 percent who are trafficked.  Also, we're non-denominational and we help someone who is Jewish, Buddhist, atheist, etc.   But frankly, I got reporters and researchers backing up our program as effective so please consider this before investing money into something that could be so better well spent.

You could have plaques installed in motel rooms by the phones with the National Trafficking Hotline, the local police AND our hotline, as well as the Children of the Night hotline for those under 18 years of age put into the rooms permanently.  Soaps are expensive and that money just needs to be better spent on funding services.  Besides, the victim is only likely to see that soap is washing - and that isn't always the case.  A plaque by the phone is something any working girl, or boy, will see, when they make their "check in" call to their service upon arriving in the room.  

Anyway, my two cents on the whole idea.  Thank you for listening. 

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


Copy of page with a quote from a woman about our program in "Leaving Prostitution" below.


Below are scans from John Quinones Book on his interview with us. 










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