Search This Blog

Monday, February 1, 2016

NY TIMES OP-ED SUBMISSION

Enclosed please find a submission for an op-ed, an editorial, letter to the editor, or any other way I might be able to get this published!  I can also edit these if needed - your call.  I submitted two different forms, and gave myself room to edit whatever you think I should edit.  



Yes I am the founder of the sex trafficking movement.  I can validate this with news clips at www.hightechmadam.com.  While Wilber Wilberforce founded the anti-slavery movement in the 1700's - I can assure you the sex trafficking movement was dead when I was a victim myself in the 1970's and 80's.  

Not only did nothing exist in the 70's and early 80's to help me anywhere in this country, the world didn't even believe what I was going through was even real - let alone did they have any programs for us to run to for safety then.  This was before Gary Webb validated that Iran Contra was real, before Chuck Barris had confirmed he was a CIA operative who used the "Dating Game" as a cover for sex trafficking internationally, and even before it came out that Alex Adams (the Beverly Hills Madam") was an FBI informant.  This was also about the same time Lyndon LaRouche was trying to get a bill passed to put us, gays, and junkies on an island somewhere to "quarantine" us from the "public" in fear of us being HIV/AIDS carriers.  So trust me - the world viewed us as "subhuman" back then - not at all like "victims" of anything.  

Meaning I assure you the things I was saying and seeing back in the 70's and 80's were considered science fiction.  This was proven to be true when Linda Lovelace stepped up in 1980 to reveal she had been sex trafficked during "Deep Throat" only to have the American public laugh and throw her memoirs right back at her.  The public said they didn't believe her because the crew on the film weren't standing up to validate her claims.  However, they hadn't released to the general public yet the knowledge the film had been financed with mob money, and that Chuck Traynor, her pimp/husband was now doing the same thing with Marilyn Chambers.  Meaning to validate Linda's claims - would have blacklisted them right out of the industry, and possibly put their life at risk.   Marilyn Chamber's own confessions about her being put on by Chuck didn't come until years later.  Probably because 

The police didn't even believe my warehouse was a "safe house" and arrested me for pimping the woman I was hiding there.  Yes she testified against the pimp and the charges were dropped against me - but the clip proves I had this safe house in 1984.  There are also clips showing the launch of our hotline and 12 step program in 1987 - calling out for change by telling our courts our program needed to be used as an "alternative to sentencing" just as how AA was doing so for the addict not to be treated as a criminal for things beyond his control also.

Showing this to be 13 years before the passing of the Trafficking Act of 2000.  There was no other program for American sex trafficking set up and calling out for recognition and change prior to ours.    Our first formal alternative sentencing program was launched in Los Angeles in 1988 thanks to then mayor Tom Bradley, Chief Gates, and Sheriff Block cutting through red tape.  Thanks to their help - we were able to set up the first HIV/AIDS testing site that doubled as a trafficking rescue site.  If one was being forced to work as a prostitute by their pimp and found to be positive - because this posed a health risk - so we were able to extract them from the pimp physically and get her to safety.  This work later became AIM and the Office of Aids Policy.

If I can provide you with anything - just let me know because another committee with the same people on it that's getting us nowhere is not going to help anything.  I can assure you that right now in this country I have cases where I've tried to reach out to every single task force with black and white evidence i have about trafficking going on in their region that I can't even get a return phone call about it.  Whenever I push and insist - I get threatened with being locked up on a psychiatric charge, and either my kid put into foster care (when she was under 18) or my RV being impounded while I"m in custody now she's an adult.  Meaning I'd be lucky to get it back in pieces once I was released.  No thanks.

Bob Herbert validated once in 2007 in your paper that everything I told him was true about sex trafficking existing in legal businesses in Nevada.  For that article, mayor Goodman threatened him with a "baseball bat to the head" if he ever came back to Vegas.  However, news of this hit Obama's ears who then made a comment that also angered Oscar who then demanded an apology from the President.  But the damage was done and because of this scuffle - there is now a Mob Museum where Dennis Hof had been trying to years to open a legal brothel in downtown Las Vegas.  

So thanks to you - the brothels were pushed back and now the Mob Museum is there, which spawned an arts district, which spawned a farmers market and changed the whole face of downtown Las Vegas.  

Help us now by allowing us to publish something, anything, that another task force, policy committee, board, etc., is not what this issue needs right now.  Not when the only ones making any headway in this movement now are "human" trafficking groups - leaving us behind like Helen Keller's quieter sister.  

Thank you. 
Jody Williams
(702) 468-4529 Cell Phone
____________________________________________________________________________

Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it.” Edmund Burke

We've lost the history of this modern day sex trafficking movement. In doing so, we're repeating the same mistakes as the January 28th article “US Placed Immigrant Children with Traffickers, Report says” illustrates is happening today. But first, let me tell you about Mike. He was sold by his drug addicted mother when he was 10 years old to a biker gang. They pimped him until he started to mature at about 13 years old. That's when he was sold to another pimp who would dress him up as a female, dosing him with hormones to complete the illusion for his “johns”. To maintain control over his brood, this pimp would force one of the kids to kill another monthly so they'd have a murder rap over their heads to scare them into not running to the police. When it came Mike's turn – he shot the pimp instead. At 13 years old, he's now in juvenile detention for murder. At night, the guards are locking him in his room so staff can rape him at night. To silence him, all of his teeth are knocked out so he can't speak.

The biker gang hears about where he's at now through the news and then buys him back from his social worker for $1500. It's made to appear as if he ran away to explain his absence from the jail. He escaped them once only to be arrested. The police returned him to the same social worker who then resold him back to the gang. Mike finally was able to escape and wanted to help other kids like himself as a therapist.

So he put himself through Cornell as an independent escort and porn performer. What else do you do when you have a past like his to get into Cornell and you don't have rich parents? Then he got a job working with other juveniles like himself and was doing quite well. Until his pimp from the biker gang showed up at his job with his porn photos. It didn't matter to his boss those pictures were taken while he had no choice – only they existed. He was fired on the spot. Especially after the pimp showed his boss a copy of Mike's murder records.

Juveniles were not able to find the help they needed as trafficking victims within our current system back prior to the Trafficking Act of 2000 because the world didn't believe “white slavery” existed anymore. The only two cases prosecuted under the Mann Act of 1910 until the 1960's was against two African American men for marrying white women. The social worker who sold Mike back to the biker gang was able to clear the background checks to get into that job. Meaning traffickers know how to either infiltrate, or how to bribe people within the system to get what they want. There was no one for someone like him to report his social worker to back in the 1970's because he wouldn't be believed. It was because of stories like Mike's that Lois Lee formed Children of the Night in 1979. However, her program cut off help at 18 years of age.

So what about the adults? Adult prostitutes back in the 70's and 80's were being hung up on by the police, not allowed into drug treatment centers because they had no insurance or cash, and refused a bed at homeless or domestic violence shelters because they weren't equipped to deal with the pimps who would show up at midnight with guns demanding the “return of their property”. Mothers of African American prostitutes were protesting in the streets about nothing being done to investigate the disappearance and murders of their daughters while LAPD yawned. When I sought help for my anxiety attacks because of what I was witnessing in connection with Iran Contra – I had doctors wanting to lock me up for observation because I was clearly “hallucinating” as “things like that just aren't real”.

Imagine if I was to say to you little green men from mars were coming down to force our men, women and children into sex trafficking. There is no hotline, no program, and no system set up for “victims of martians” because we don't believe in aliens, let alone them trafficking anyone. This was exactly the way our country viewed the subject of sex trafficking back in the 1970's and early 1980's. The first safe house for adults wasn't set up until 1984 by myself. An angry pimp retaliated by calling the police saying it was a brothel I was running however and I was arrested. The charges were dropped when the victim testified against her pimp. But clearly I needed to do something different.

So in 1987, I launched the first hotline and 12 step program originally called “Prostitutes Anonymous”. We chose a 12 step format for one main reason – until this country could stop arresting us as criminals, it provided us with an “alternative to sentencing” under laws grandfathered in by Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous.

But things still needed to change in the system itself. Addict/alcoholics now have their own courts that treat them differently than just “criminals”. Courts that take into consideration the disease makes you act against your better judgment. So to have other things. Tracy Thurman v. City of Torrington changed the way police handle domestic violence calls. Bringing in rape kits along with a rape advocate specially trained in taking rape reports wasn't even done routinely until the late 1970's. Members of our program who had been forced into sex work appeared on national TV shows for 13 years before we finally got federal recognition with the passing of the Trafficking Act of 2000 that sex trafficking was real, and therefore our system needed to change the way it responded to us also.

However, all that hard work was hijacked when the TVRA of 2003 was passed. This act, written by Randall Tobias, basically stated no one could receive federal funding unless they signed a position statement that was against all forms of prostitution. As a 12 step program however, we can't have any “opinion on an outside issue”. Meaning suddenly anyone who received any type of federal grant or paycheck didn't even want to so much as associate with us, let alone involve us in the process we had a major hand in creating, simply because we can't sign a formal policy for or against anything.

Now imagine a system to help the alcoholic that not only excludes Bill Wilson and Alcoholics Anonymous, but further is stating unless you're in full support of bringing back prohibition you can't be involved. Now I ask you – how well would such a program do at helping the alcoholic achieve sobriety? Even better, put non-alcoholics who have never even been to an AA meeting in charge of designing all training to do with alcoholism awareness and the training of substance abuse counselors. I would imagine this would work as well as programs for the alcoholic worked before AA – which means they didn't. Anymore than prohibition had any impact on alcoholism either.

I appreciate Rob Portman listened to the complaints of various advocates who were knocking on doors for YEARS about the system not working and stepped in to pull those kids out of that situation. But I'd like to point out here that those kids were “human trafficking” victims, not “sex trafficking” victims. Yes victims are victims, but the rings who operate in one vs. the other are set up differently. So too is the fact that a politician is more willing to listen to the plight of a human trafficking victim than that of sex trafficking victim and respond. Because what Mr. Portman showed us is the system works. The complaints were heard and something was done – for human trafficking victims. The press also reported on the situation.

However, right now in this country sex trafficking is going on where our complaints are not being heard, and the press is not willing to write about it. Rob Portman suggests another “oversight committee” be set up to hear these complaints, but I assure you if they're not listening now, adding in another committee who isn't going to listen either isn't going to change anything.

We have everything we need in place RIGHT NOW in this country to stop trafficking. I know that's not what the politicians, and the fund raisers, want to hear, but it's true. What we don't have however is people who are listening or some way or making them listen. I've been making the same complaints about sex trafficking activities going on in other regions besides Rob Portman's that have been falling on deaf ears.

In the past, when we couldn't get anyone in law enforcement, or politics, to listen we'd go to the press. That would produce a result such as we saw in the Chris Butler and Kemp Shiffer case. Press on those stories brought about them being brought to justice when we couldn't get anyone else to listen. However, I have a long list of complaints I've been making about other cases in other cities right now where I've gone to the law, the politicians, and the press and no one is listening like they used to prior to the Telecommunications Act of 1995. Meaning since a handful of corporations own most of the media today. Corporations that support prostitution and if a few victims get hurt along the way – oh well. No different than the tobacco industry who also has a product to sell – and if a few people get cancer along the way – oh well.

We run the oldest, and largest, group of survivors of sex trafficking in this country. We opened the first safe house for adults, and launched the first hotline and 12 step program for survivors in the 1980's. However, the only groups I'm seeing being heard at Congress on the issue of trafficking are groups who speak about “human” trafficking” for labor jobs such as maids, fisherman, farming jobs, restaurant jobs, etc. Rob Portman responded to a complaint about “human” trafficking of juveniles – not sex trafficking. Even Jason Chaffetz made a complaint about the DEA owned strip club because the owners were partying with Columbian cartel while active DEA agents, i.e., a drug issue. Not that the women in that club were being sex trafficked.

Our members aren't being asked to testify at Congress, nor do I see any other program that is non-faith based and comprised of only sex trafficking victims that are both male and female, as well as LGBT, being asked to testify either. We weren't included in the “No Such Thing” campaign, nor are we being asked to be a part of the “survivor board”. Our letters to senators and congressmen about sex trafficking we're seeing going on across the country is being ignored. So too are our letters to the HHS, the Rescue and Restore office, and each task force that we've gone to. Which can be a problem when the victims are telling us about traffickers who are also local law enforcement and Internal Affairs at the same time as has been the case with both Reno and Las Vegas. Another committee not listening to us isn't going to solve anything.

In other words, we got here because people weren't listening to us about what was happening to us, nor about what needed to be done to help us. That's why Lois Lee struck out to create something that would work for the kids by inviting them into her program directly through her hotline, and I invited adults into our program through our hotline. We had to bypass the system entirely because they weren't listening. After 13 years of us telling our stories on TV – people listened. The TVRA of 2000 was passed. Then the TVRA of 2003 came in and took the movement away from us and handed it right back to the people who weren't listening to us in the first place. So once again we've created a system where victims were supposed to be going to get “rescued” who just got taken to a new set of traffickers.

Now they want you to think creating another committee of the same people is going to solve this problem? Isn't that a bit like asking the guy who just robbed my house to install a new alarm system for me for protection?

__________________________________________________

Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it.” Edmund Burke

Dear Editor:

This is in response to the January 28th article about Rob Portman stepping in to rescue some kids who wound up being trafficked by the very system that was supposed to be protecting them. His response was to write HHS suggesting they need to create an “oversight committee” so this type of thing doesn't happen again. These are the people who created the problem in the first place. Hello!

For those who aren't aware of this, I'm the founder of the modern day sex trafficking movement. I have news clips up at www.hightechmadam.com showing I opened the first safe house for adults in 1984, and launched the first hotline and 12 step program in 1987. A program that brought onto national TV men and women who were forced into the sex industry who were treated like criminals because of the way our system addresses this issue and calling out for change.

That change happened with the passing of the Trafficking Act of 2000 which gave this federal recognition in a world that had believed “white slavery” didn't exist anymore. A world where the Mann Act was passed in 1910 – but by the 1960's only two African American men had been arrested under that Act who had married white women.

Our victory was short-lived however. When the TVRA of 2003 passed, it turned over all grant money to “faith based groups” who “opposed prostitution”. Money to be disbursed only by the “Rescue and Restore” office of the HHS. In 2002, Katherine Chon and Bradley Myles launched Polaris, who runs the National Trafficking Hotline. Katherine Chon is not a survivor herself, and is the Director of the Office on Trafficking in Persons (OTIP) within the ACF at HHS. Her husband, Bradley, still runs Polaris officially. So even though every study out there verifies victims themselves don't identify as “trafficking victims” but instead as “prostitutes” or even “sex workers”, they continue to advertise their hotline as for “trafficking victims” (despite the fact that by their own admission their hotline had not received one call from a sex trafficking victim until 2014). In other words, correct language based on the TVRA of 2003 was more important than reaching the victims using their language or calling the “Sex Workers Anonymous” hotline.

This explains why our hotline gets five times more calls from sex trafficking victims from what I can estimate than theirs does despite quite significantly less promotion. While I appreciate that Rob Portman stepped up to help some juveniles who were forced to work on egg farms, and Jason Chaffetz stepped in when he heard some DEA agents were partying with the cartel in Columbia, the fact remains I'm unable to get anyone to return a call about the information we receive to our hotline about sex trafficking operations going on all over the country. Even from Polaris or Katherine Chon.

I've called the police, the task forces, the politicians, the press, as well as Polaris, and the Office on Trafficking in Persons, the HHS, as well as the people who are issuing the grants to these various offices and task forces, about information we're getting that won't show up on a “background check”, and we can't get so much again as a return call.

The only groups we see getting any response, testifying at Congress, getting articles written, or getting a reaction out of politicians - involve either human trafficking of labor, or drugs, but never ever when it's just solely about sex trafficking. Nor are any of the groups who are in front of these committee's sex trafficking survivors, whose groups focus only on sex trafficking survivors also. It all seems to be those focusing on human trafficking with sex trafficking as some kind of after thought. I dare say if instead of being forced to work on egg farms if those kids were being forced to work in the strip club – I don't think we'd be having this discussion.

It doesn't help at all when I get some of the people I'm trying to complain to are the people I'm complaining about. Which is why another committee isn't going to help if these people are again some of the people I'm at issue with. This is why the system needs to be changed. I mean how am I to complain to the HHS about how the grant they gave to Polaris has resulted in none of our calls being returned when it's Katherine who is the one we're complaining to? Or someone whose checks she's signing? Better yet, someone who wants to get a grant check from them in the future.

Nor when I have a woman reporting to me that she's working in a legal brothel in Nevada because her pimp is forcing her to, and that during her shifts she's having the police officer who is in charge of picking up the HIV/AIDS test kits is getting a bribe from the owner each week to not turn in those tests in exchange for being able to drug and rape her (because that's his fantasy), and when the only person to report this officer for this conduct to is the Chief of Police, who he just happens to be – Houston we have a problem there.

As to when I'm getting calls from Vegas members reporting an officer is raping juveniles on the “trade” that if they try and stop or report him he will arrest them for prostitution and put them in juvenile detention, and when I go to file a report against this officer I then get a threatening call from the Chief to “back off” or I'm going to find myself carted off to the nut ward on the accusation I'm “imagining things”, which will have my kid wind up in Child Haven, there's also a problem here another committee isn't going to solve.

Just as when I go to file a complaint against a N. Las Vegas officer for refusing to take my call about a juvenile sex trafficking ring, and I go to find out she's not just head of Vice, but also head of the whole department AND head of Internal Affairs – I mean where am I to go with such complaints?

Here's what happens when there's a recommendation to “form another committee”. They put us off saying the “committee is being formed”. Then we get told the “members need to be selected”. After the members are selected, then we hear we have to wait until “the members form their policies”. By then a few years go by and we get told our issue “doesn't fit into their program guidelines” or some other nonsense. So trust me – their “committees” aren't getting squat done from our perspective. Not when I'm having to drive juveniles from Nevada into California to get help because no one will return my calls do I call that a functioning system.

It's a red tape maze now that even I can't navigate, let alone a victim who is lucky to be able to get to an unsupervised phone once in a blue moon can hope to navigate. No “oversight committee” of more people not listening to us speaking for survivors who can't speak for themselves isn't going to help. Which is what happened in this Portman case by the way. The victims themselves didn't call his office – it was other people who brought this to his attention. Other non-survivors. Now I can't change into a non-survivor in order to be heard. Nor should I have to.   


No comments:

Post a Comment

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