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