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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

CAGED NO MORE - LETTER WE SENT THE PRODUCERS

We are the program who founded the sex trafficking movement itself back in the 1980's.  We created the first safe house for adults, the first hotline for adults, the first program that went into the courts, the police, the universities, and demanded that these victims be recognized as existing and to stop treating them as criminals.   Meaning we put together the first alternative to incarceration program in this country for these victims.  We published the first "Recovery Guide" written by survivors for survivors after interviewing over 5,000 survivors across this country, and into five other countries over a period of five years.  We are the people who helped build the foundation for federal recognition of this issue meaning that instead of being treated as criminals - money was able to be used for the government to provide services for victims.  Our program is the oldest and largest program of survivors, and we have answered FIVE TIMES more calls on our hotline than the Polaris National Trafficking Hotline to date.  Your movie in no way has acknowledged our existence - meaning it's the same to us as a movie on alcoholism that in no way acknowledges Bill Wilson or Alcoholics Anonymous.

If someone cares about the treatment of an alcoholic - they at least know about Bill Wilson and Alcoholics Anonymous in order to make sure they are providing that person with the best treatment possible.  Your production company, and the people you have featured in this film, in no way have contacted our program, asked to see any of our written materials, nor asked for our technical advice or consult in any manner.  We have been told by survivors across the country that the film is "sensationalist" and in no way reflects their experiences.   I do know that not only have we been operating since 1987, but that our current database of survivors shows 190,000 members.  We have 50,000 subscribers to our blog, and chapters of our program meet across the USA, into Canada, Australia, England, Costa Rico, France, Russia, and we're about to launch into Mexico because of the HIV epidemic once we get our materials finished being translated into Spanish.  Our hotline has answered over 500,000 phone calls and that's not counting the letters and emails we've received, nor the number of inmates who are working their programs through our "step study mail order" program for healing.

Our program was studied over a 10 year period of time, and said study was published by Professor Sharon Oselin in "Leaving Prostitution" where survivors quoted us as "saving their lives".  We have also been independently researched by reputable reporters such as Bob Herbert and John Quinones, who wrote glowing reports about us.  In fact, John devoted a whole chapter to me in "Heroes Among Us" in 2009.  It was also a report I helped provide survivors for that verified to the State Dept. sex trafficking was real in 2000 and was real within the legal sex industries in 2007.

But your film says nothing about our past work, nor talks about our hotline, nor program, which currently is the only program where any victim of trafficking can ask any judge in any court in the USA to attend our program instead of being incarcerated without special courts having to be set up for them to avail themselves of this service. Then once they've attended our program for over a year - their criminal records can be expunged as we've done with many members over these now 29 years we've been operating.

We put together the first training program for counselors on how to work with this community effectively in 1991 after studies were done showing that our work was preventing the 98% relapse rate within two years that survivors were showing beforehand in recovery.  This program was offered at Mission College, and accredited for continuing education by CADCEP.

The fact we were not consulted with in any way, spoken about in any way in the film, combined with the many survivor complaints that have been pouring in about the movie's "inaccuracy" are why we are not going to be attending anything to do with this film thank you.  Nor will our members who are "anonymous" about their membership but who heavily dominate this field as professionals now working with helping other survivors.

Unlike Samoly Mam, I have a criminal record that substantiates the validity of my being a victim and survivor.   If not for the fact no one could disprove my claims - there wouldn't be a movement to be talking about because prior to my first stepping out in the national media to tell my story, and why I founded the program and hotline for others - the world didn't even believe sex trafficking was REAL in the first place.  Others had tried in the 60's, 70's and even in 1980 to convince the world this was real - only to be accused of talking about "urban myths".  The fact a victim can call the police today and not be locked up in a psychiatric hospital for "observation" because they're "hallucinating" as was done prior to 1987 in this country was because no one could disprove my story, along with the fact I turned down over one million dollars in book and movie contracts in order to be believed by the general public.

In fact, I went onto a Joan Rivers talk show in 1993 with that million dollars in contracts and tore them up in front of her camera - making the statement that "it was more important that people believe me than to make money off lies like past movies about woman like me have portrayed", bringing with me statements from women like Alex Adams and Sydney Biddle Barrows that the movies about them had been complete fabrications not showing the "darker side" of the sex industry which included sex trafficking.

Your film is inaccurate and misleading and we are not going to support it in any way.  

Jody Williams

PS - where are the male, lesbian, Jewish, Buddhist, and transgender victims in your film that are victims also?

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