Search This Blog

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

SURVIVORS FOR SOLUTIONS WALK

Dear Anne-Michelle:

I was wondering if you could put me in touch with who is organizing this walk?  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2016-human-trafficking-awareness-walk-tickets-19411615665

I say that as the founder of the movement itself this walk is about.  Let me explain - before Bill Wilson founded Alcoholics Anonymous people viewed alcoholism not as alcoholism.  People who drank too much were considered of weak moral character.  It was not until Bill started AA and then a woman named Marty Mann also got sober, that the National Council on Alcoholism was created.  The NCA then put together the research that discovered and validated that alcoholism was in fact a disease that one had no control over - not weak character.  So the whole recovery movement was founded by Bill Wilson.

The anti-slavery movement was founded by Wilber Wilberforce in the 1700's.  However, by the 70's and 80's in America I can assure you people did not believe sex trafficking was real.  Believe it or not, Elvis Presley and Bruce Lee tried to "raise awareness" about sex trafficking and it fell on deaf ears.  The Mann Act resulted in two black men being arrested for marrying white women.   Because of the total lack of belief in this concept - I put together the first "safe house" for adults in 1984.  It got me arrested.  You can read about it at www.hightechmadam.com  When the pimp got angry he couldn't get the woman back whose arm and nose he'd broken - he reported me to the police as a brothel.  

That's when I realized I couldn't just focus on getting victims to safety.  In 1987 I founded the first hotline for adults and also our 12 step program.   I then started appearing on national TV to demand change within our legal system.  Our 12 step program was the first one recognized as alternative sentencing for victims in this country.  At that time, victim services wasn't paying for prostitutes when they were beaten, raped, murdered, etc. That's because they were considered "criminals" not victims.  It was my work that led to the Trafficking Act of 2000 passing giving this movement federal recognition which in turn allowed grant money to then become available for the first time.  

I also was the one who put together the press conference in 2007 that validated that sex trafficking is actually higher in places where sex work is legal such as strip clubs and legal brothels in Nevada.   That report was later republished by Shared Hope.  

When we do any type of projects - we always ask ourselves if we're "carrying the message".  To us, that doesn't just mean "raising awareness" it means showing the victims where the door out is.  I keep hearing "there's no resources" when in fact there are.  If you look for your car keys in the middle of the streets instead of in your house where you last put them - then you're never going to find your keys.  It's all in where you look.

Right now these men and women are experiencing an HIV epidemic.  One that Charlie Sheen has admitted to spending $10 million dollars to silence since 2011.  The largest number of trafficking victims in this country are in southern California.  A random survey we did of strippers and massage parlor workers is they not only aren't using protection, they aren't on the vaccine - but further they don't even know about proper HIV prevention.  

SB1193 has been approved - yet we've done random surveys of strip clubs and massage parlors in Los Angeles and there's no posters up despite it now being law to have the signs up and posted.    Even with the sign up for some reason our group's name was in the Polaris Directory a few months ago, and now it's not showing up,  Neither is Children of the Night that takes in boys and girls under 18 years of age.  I've found a sign maker willing to donate free signs that carry not only the legally required hotline on them, but also to place our hotline for adults, and the one for Children of the Night.

Since the passing of the Telecommunications Act of 1995 - our program can not longer run free public service announcements.  We can't buy commercials because the men who now run these corporate owned media empires are in support of the sex industry.  For example, Steve Sassa was exposed for sexting an escort in 2013.  He was the CEO of Hearst Empire.  Hearst also publishes Cosmo. Right now by the way Cosmo is running a series on sex workers but refuses to run anything on us despite the fact 20 years ago before the TA of 1995 they ran a lovely story on us and sex trafficking.  

Getting these women into just "any" program isn't the answer. Mercy Ministries was recently exposed as running an abusive cult.  Community Recovery's director was having the women be his personal prostitute.  We've got women being raped by guards and officers.  Our hotline has a list of which programs have shown to be effective with our community - but we can't help who doesn't know we exist.

Our program is effective.  Professor Sharon Oselin published a 10 year study about three programs she researched including ours in "Leaving Prostitution" which was released in 2013.  It showed not only was our program effective - but we're the one program in the study still operating.  We're based right here in Los Angeles.  

But we're so effective our members are working during the weekdays and usually in school at night.  So we have a problem with manpower to do outreach.  I see this kind of effort and manpower behind organized into this type of walk and I have to ask myself "what are you accomplishing here?"  Now I understand you're "raising awareness" and I hate to sound blunt - but I can ask how that matters?  Non-victims knowing about this issue isn't going to get anyone into the help they need.  It's not going to change anything.  

You know what my first sponsor used to say to me about just saying you're an "alcoholic"?  He said that every guy in the bar drinking knows he's an alcoholic.  Awareness changes nothing.  He told me nothing happens until the alcoholic reaches out for help.  But everyone knows AA exists and how to reach them.  Not everyone knows we exist.  

Southern California has the largest number of strip clubs, massage parlors, and produces 80 percent of the world's pornography.  We have the highest number of trafficking victims here because they come in through LAX from Russia, China, the Ukraine, etc.,   I'm getting most of my HIV calls from this area.  We have one of the highest homeless teen populations that are out prostituting.   I also have a whole generation of prostitutes who don't know that our program can be used as an "alternative to sentencing" so they can come to our meetings instead of jail.  To do that they have to know about our program to ask the judge to be able to have this option.  

Therefore, I feel this walk could be put to a very productive use at doing outreach.  To getting phone numbers into the hands of potential victims, or people who might really need help.  To arrange testing runs where they're taken in for HIV testing.  Where I can help arrange self defense classes and HIV educational workshops.  I'm willing to bet you're going to be walking by at least one massage parlor or strip club even.  

I don't want this to be where the people go home and talk about it over dinner and then nothing changes and no one has received help.  So maybe you could help put me in touch with the organizers of this event so I can see if there might be a way to have a deeper impact on the victims in this area and get some more direct assistance and information out there.  Thanks for your time and assistance.  

--
Jody Williams
(702) 468-4529 Cell Phone
www.sexworkeranonymous.com
www.leavingtheliferadio.com
www.hightechmadam.com
www.leavingprostitution.com

No comments:

Post a Comment

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