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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Someone showed me this today - http://www.nctsn.org/resources/public-awareness/human-trafficking  The below is an email that I sent to them:

My name is Jody Williams.  I'm the first person in the whole USA that started providing training for mental health professionals, counselors, therapists, etc.  In fact, the first course of study was created with Dr. James Crossen at Mission College through his Addiction Studies program.  We were training drug and alcohol counselors there.

We were not invited to be part of putting together this training despite having over 30 years experience in this area of working effectively with adults, nor are we listed as a resource anywhere despite the fact our hotline and program are still operational.

In fact, our program is used as an "alternative to sentencing" in cases where the judge feels the defendant doesn't get help from being incarcerated, but instead is ordered to our program.  We've been providing alternative solutions for sex trafficking victims through the criminal court system since the year we launched also - 1987.

We were the group who saw nothing in the textbooks to train mental health professionals, social workers, psychologists, etc., on this issue even being real, and have been working with professors to change that since our first lecture at a UCLA psychology class in 1987.  Professor Sharon Oselin's 10 year study "Leaving Prostitution" showed not only was the top program in the country for working with this one that incorporated our program into it, but we're the only program still operating in her study.  We don't come and go in other words when the grants run out.

I'm curious as to why we were not included therefore in the writing of this program, nor are we listed in the resources either?  We are the reason why this class even exists and I can document that fact as it didn't exist before we not only pushed to get this issue federal recognition, but we were also the first people asking to have  a program like this developed.

What you've done here is on the same level as creating a program in alcoholism - without one word about Bill Wilson or Alcoholics Anonymous, nor incorporating any of what he taught us about it being a disease with the need for a spiritual solution that the world didn't recognize before he founded AA either.  I'd therefore like to talk to whoever I need to talk to about this as I remember distinctly we were even the first people speaking into the mental health field about the trauma issues of these survivors.

We were doing that because I myself received the help I did for my PTSD from a group of Vietnam Veterans and some holocaust survivors.  I however was also the only survivor I saw who was not returning to sex work because of my PTSD and debilitation.  In wanting to make that available to others - this went into the program of Sex Workers Anonymous who has published the only Recovery Guide I'm aware of written by survivors for survivors that I've now just updated to include information on "Stage II" recovery issues.

I did this after watching our members' recovery from 1987 until the present time and learning that we shared almost universally common symptoms important for clinicians to be aware of.  For example, many of us are being diagnosed as being "bipolar" without having our thyroids checked.  I found that almost all of our members were suffering from low thyroid - including myself.  The symptoms mimic bipolar disorder almost to the letter.  When it's not treated, it goes into other issues such as weight gain which in turn can trigger inflammatory disease issues such as depression, cancer, arthritis, etc.

We were seeing almost all over our members across the USA all suffering from this - and found out it was being they were being treated with things like lithium without one of them having their thyroid tested.  PTSD also has been shown to shrink the hypothalamus - causing health issues related to this.  Because of early trauma, almost all of our members/survivors have ADD as children that doesn't go away as an adult.

We found universally that the PTSD combined with this adult ADD was causing even more issues connected to the thyroid and anti-inflammatory issues that was compounded by things like white flour, white sugar, and other foods that increase the inflammatory response.  In other words, we were learning that by changing their diet, getting their thyroids checked out and treated, adding in "exposure therapy" which is what happens in our program when we do outreach - we were able to get survivors who were on disability and barely able to walk - back on their feet again and off all those psychiatric medications.

A few things I think your students need to know about if they're going to be working with this community don't you?  Which also wouldn't be a big deal if they were referred to us - but we're not listed on your resource listings.  So I'd like to know who I could speak to about this please?  Jody Williams www.sexworkersanonymous.com

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