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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

ELAINE MCCARTHY - POLARIS

Yesterday we saw a post on the Polaris page about a meeting being held about the issue of "fighting trafficking".  One of our members said to me who was over visiting "nice of them to include us".  Now how do we deal with resentments?  We address them by not holding onto them and nursing them but by direct confrontation.  So I told her " well say something then if you're unhappy".  Which she did.  I then got an email back from Elaine about why she deleted it and how uncool she thought the comment was basically.  Our response was below:


Elaine - you think this is about me.  It's not.  


I run a program that's been around not only longer than yours, but made Polaris possible.  I assure you back in the 1980's when we started our work no one believed trafficking was real any longer in the USA, nor did they care to.  We spent 13 years of our lives, sacrificed jobs, homes, stability, relationships, in order to lay the groundwork that became the Trafficking Act of 2000.  Of which the author himself, Michael Horowitz, has told the media he feels the movement has been hijacked.  Out from under us Elaine.

Our hotline takes more calls than yours.  We're older than yours and we've been in more countries longer than yours also.  No we don't put up billboards - because that's not where the people who need us will see our number.  From what I've read you aren't getting many calls from real victims off those billboards either.  We get our number out in more covert manners because that's how to reach our target members.  But that doesn't mean we don't exist - it just means we operate differently than you are.

Which is because we don't just take calls from trafficking victims.  We take calls from anyone who wants to leave sex work for any reason - of which trafficking is one.  I was organizing rescue missions back in 1984 which got me and my mother arrested and splashed all over the press as "madams".  I had the government confiscate everything I owned and I spent $250,000 on a legal defense.  All because the pimp of a woman I'd helped retaliated by calling the police and claiming our safe house was a brothel.

But when that happened - word spread and more victims reached out to us for help.  Back in the 1980's before you even had a shingle on the door.  We have chapters all over the USA, in Canada, and in five other countries now.  We have three chapters in Australia and six meetings a week in Russia going that grew up over just six months.  We've already had to send them over a Russian translation of our book.  My database of current members shows 190,000.  Our subscribers to our blog reads at 60,000, I've had 100,000 hits to our google hangout, and I've had over 20,000 listens on our radio program.  Brenda Myers-Powell just had a documentary come out on Showtime - who attributes her early recovery to our program.  As does Kathleen Mitchell who has just been involved in an art show in New York about sex trafficking.  She ran meetings of our program for over 20 years in Arizona.  With women coming to those meetings who now call me about their daughters.

This is NOT about me.  For our members to maintain their anonymity, they speak through me using my name like alcoholics do Bill Wilson.  They do this when they say "hey I'm a friend of Bill W's".  It doesn't mean they know Bill personally.  Many of our members have to hide who they are because not only of the stigma, not only because they may have a pimp looking for them, but also because starting in 2013 we started having our members identified, targeted, stalked, and outright threatened.  

So much so I had to taken down all online groups, chat rooms, members areas, and defriend everyone off our social media that's a member because people were going in and talking them based off our social media.  Making it "private" didn't help because we then had Beth Jacobs go into a private members only area, copy photos of members with their children who were hiding out from their pimps, and post these photos along with their location on  the open internet.  Thus it gave us no choice but to shut down any avenue something like this could be done.  But just because we don't trot our members out on social media now doesn't mean they aren't there.  

Many of our members have been slapped and told to "shut up" because "no one cares what you think".  Some of them were told "your name is chair now" to dehumanize them.  I have spent decades of my life telling our members their voice matters, they count, and that what they've gone through is important and valuable.  But these members also have children, families, jobs, etc.  So to protect those new lives, they ask me to make contacts for them to speak through.  We work on joint projects where we sign simply as "Sex Workers Anonymous".  In other words, they use me to make arrangements to be places where they can then show up.

To get them empowered, and to get them speaking out, and to show them they have a voice and they matter, I listen to them.  I then have to encourage them to tell others how they feel.  Only for them this is a scary process sometimes as they have been horribly attacked often when doing so.  Some have seen people murdered for speaking up about how they feel.  So sometimes to encourage them and get them used to speaking at all - I assure them they can through our social media using my name.  So I have an account where 20 different members may be speaking separately or together in order for me to get them used to expressing themselves.   It has my name on it - but it's their voices on it combined.  It's why many of the posts are so long - 10 people are all contributing to the string.

Now while I'm doing this - Polaris has consistently ignored us since the day they opened their doors.  My phone calls and emails SINCE DAY ONE have been ignored.  I watched as when you first launched your resource directory you listed Hookers for Jesus, BUT NOT US.  Now I don't know if you saw going on in Las Vegas what we saw but if you did then you'd know what a slap in the face that was to us.  

Because at that time Annie was running around in stripper costumes on the strip saying "Jesus love hookers" and talking people into money for "Destiny House".  She was doing this by convincing hookers on the strip that if they came to her church and spoke she'd pay their bills.  So they did.  The church got donations and these women got five day notices.  When they got five day notices - Annie stopped answering their calls.  We then had to file the stays for these women, and then scramble around getting them work cards so we could get them legit jobs.  At our expense, while Annie was sitting back collecting press and praise.  We were too busy getting these women on their feet. 

But when we tried to speak to you about what was going on with her in Las Vegas - we couldn't get anyone on the phone.  Your hotline continued to give her work "credibility" by the listing on your site and refer people to her who were being exploited and abused - who weren't in turn being told to contact us for help.  Do you have ANY idea how many YEARS it took us just to get one listing in your resource directory?  

Which we pursued doing because people otherwise in states like Nevada were being told there was "no" resources when Pastor Perez filed bankruptcy finally and Annie ran off to Africa for a while to let the heat cool down.  No we can't compete with your media exposure so you are going to get calls we don't.  Then if the caller doesn't see our resource in some states - they will falsely think there's nothing.  Very few think to go beyond being told by you there is "nothing else" to go onto Google to find us which is how people got through to us before you finally did list us in the directory.  They told us they got told by you "nothing else exists" and then went onto Google to find us.  But again since not everyone was that resourceful - we pursued you until we finally got that listing for their sake.  Because in Nevada there is no other resource who will go and pick up those women out of those brothels other than us since 1996 when we first moved there for that purpose.  With no bus line and no cabs - WE are their ONLY way out of there.  

Polaris has not invited us to one event they've held or organized  - ever.  You have sent people into towns where we have chapters, and where I live, and not one of you have picked up the phone and asked if we could go to coffee.  We have been at the same meetings as your representatives - who won't look us in the eye, won't speak to us, and won't acknowledge our presence.  We have ASKED your people to coffee with us in those towns - and the minute they hear this person is a SWA member - they are blown off.  We have never been invited to a TV show you've been on, a panel you're appeared on, not one single thing have you ever included us or even acknowledged us.  

I want you to know something.  At the February 2013 hearings on AB67 there was a back room meeting going on to discuss expanding the legal brothels into Las Vegas that was being held "off calendar".   We had tried to reach someone at Polaris to go with us into that hearing because of discussing AB67, and the sign laws, and also because of that hearing with George Flynt.  I was supposed to go to that meeting but I had someone call in a report my car rental was stolen.  I had just had six police officers pull me over and almost arrest me.  They discovered it was a computer glitch but then had to take the car in as evidence.  So I had no car.  Meaning Aubrey had to go into that hearing by herself with two months clean, and two months away from a pimp who had trafficked her since she was 12 years old.  

Aubrey appeared at the AB67 hearing and spoke.  She also read a letter to the legislature that had been written by over 50 women who had been trafficked specifically in Nevada.  Women who were part of the press conference and the report we'd held in 2007 with Melissa Farley on sex trafficking within the legal sex industry of which you also did not involve yourself in that press conference.  But we sat up for two weeks compiling a letter from all of us on what WE wanted to see done in Nevada for US she read for us.  The person she said was there from Polaris wouldn't even look her in the eye she told us - while she then walked into that hearing and testified on behalf of all of us alone.   This is what she'd endured before going into that hearing by herself.  www.blogtalkradio.com/stopsextrafficktalk/2013/07/08/hear-from-a-nevada-brothel-prostitute

We won by the way.  Do you see her name?  http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/nevada-legislature/prostitution-bill-not-nevada-legislatures-agenda

Aubrey is a brave woman.  After she testified at this hearing and won, she came home to find her power, TV, cable, internet, etc., turned off for 3 days just as mine had been after I gave that press conference.  She persevered anyway and set up a SWA meeting in northern Nevada to replace the one Sharnel had to drop when she got framed on a false charge and was sent to prison for five years.  

She came home from the first meeting to find everything in her apartment stolen, and then the phone rang.  She was receiving a death threat to her and her children because of not only her testimony, but also because she was preparing a ground breaking case to file against her pimp for forcing her to work at a legal brothel against her will.  It would have been the first ever case against a trafficker in a legal brothel.  

So Aubrey has had to move and go underground.  To protect her and her two children she's not going to pick up a phone and call someone and say "hey it's Aubrey" because it could be traced back to where she is and get her killed.  But clearly she's passionate about this issue and she'd like to be involved in helping others.

Only everywhere we turn - we're not invited.  When we ask to be invited - we're declined.  When we show up anyway - we're threatened by security to leave the building.  Not just me mind you Elaine BUT US.  Anyone who says they're a member of SWA is shunned, threatened, attacked, ignored, or otherwise shut out.   So when I hear you're doing something in Florida and our Florida members would like to be involved - I reach out to your office to see about arranging that.  Only to get no response at all.  

Now mind you most of our members are working.  Meaning they don't get home until after 5 pm or later.  So no they aren't going to call your office either.  They're going to ask me to arrange for them to come not only because of time - but also to protect their anonymity.  Some of them don't want a call from Polaris coming into their house they have to explain to their husbands.  But that doesn't mean they don't want to be involved.

We've sent your newsletter/blog items which are never published.  We've sent your office urgent alerts that are never responded to.  We have tried to open up dialogues with people who say they work with you that are never responded to.  We've come to you with cases we've working on - only to get no response back.  

Now remember we have no paid staff.  I don't have someone I have paid who can sit on the phone during the hours of 9 to 5 and call into your office demanding to speak to someone.  With no paid staff, and everyone around here a volunteer, I can leave messages, send emails and shoot off faxes.  Then I wait for a response.  Which doesn't come.  As for you to us - you know how to reach us and we've received nothing.

So when you're putting together things like a council of survivors to advise on the issues - we don't receive an invitation to see if any of our members would like to be included.  When you're doing reports on the issues - we don't see any inquiries from us to input on anything you're researching.  We have seen you mention other groups who are less than a year old - but I have YET to see one mention of our work or our name anywhere.  I have scanned your site, your social media, your blogs, things you hand out at meetings - and I don't see our name anywhere.  

Does it affect what you're doing?  Absolutely.  When we see your council of survivors talking about "needing more jobs" - we not only don't see that as our biggest problem - but we have jobs.  We have lists we can't publish of companies who hire survivors who aren't going to be public about it because it just doesn't look good for their image.  I mean do you think Disney for example is going to run around shouting they will take in people leaving prostitution and give them housing, jobs, and help them get a degree?  I don't think so.  But I can't exactly relay to your people the resources we have either if NO ONE IS TALKING TO US.

When trainings are put together for the field - we're not included.  When training materials are put together for the field - we're not included.  When booklets and other written materials or resource guides are put together - we're not included.  As a result, we also hear the complaints.  I don't think you do but we do.  Because we're the ones people who want to complain about you come to when they're asking us for something you don't have.  Since we don't have a paid staff it would be a lot easier for us to just be included in the materials in the first place - but no.  All of our offers to be involved are unresponded to.

To top it off, anywhere we turn we're told by people who receive money from Katherine Chon, Bradley's wife, that if they even so much as SPEAK to us - they're worried they will lose their funding or be fired.  What's worse is everyone who has - has been in fact fired.  To name but one, we had a social worker in Las Vegas who was the head of her department for 12 years organize a workshop for us to train the workers in how to speak to these young girls, many of who are third generation victims, pregnant with their mom's pimp's, baby, and the minute she put out the flyer for the workshop - she was fired.  Believe me the message was sent NOT to call Sex Workers Anonymous.

Now you know who suffers from that?  The girls.  Because again your hotline is set up for TRAFFICKING victims while ours is set up to help someone exit the sex industry.  So we are going to get calls you don't like from women who don't have pimps - but want to quit just the same.  Who now are being told by Las Vegas social workers and probation officers the only thing they have is an ankle bracelet to monitor them.  They're not being told we can offer them sponsors, meetings, a Recovery Guide, or someone to drive them to NA meetings either to keep them out of trouble after school.  

And when your resource guides don't include our name - people take that to mean we're "not approved" and then they don't call us either.

We have seen interview after interview from Polaris on cases we're actively involved in where we're not included in this article by Polaris in any way.  I mean let's face it - YOU'RE IGNORING US.  

NOT ME - US.

Our group is comprised of the survivors who want to remain "anonymous" yes - but not voiceless.  They do not want to trot around the USA spouting off from stages and podiums who they are for various reasons.  But that again doesn't mean they don't want to be heard.  Now again if this was just you - your loss.  However, it has reached the point where we're now being blocked at every single point of contact by people who are telling us they are dependent upon Polaris for funding and for position who can't speak to us in fear of losing their funding or position who are either being told to do this explicitly, or simply by following the lead established by Polaris who ignores us.

Please don't lecture me on what's "helpful".  We have been trying since 2002 to open up a dialogue with your office.  So this isn't because one of our members popped off about how they felt on your page in frustration about yet again not being included in a meeting that is about us and affects us but for some reason doesn't want us around for that discussion.  Again, not me - US.  Do you have any idea how many members I have in Los Angeles alone who would love to show up at some of these meetings?  

Now before you tell me how these people, or myself, should act, let me ask you something - do you KNOW one single thing about what it takes to get through the day for these women?  To get through the day without using drugs, without drinking, without being able to talk to anyone you knew or even family because they're connected to your being in the sex industry and now you're in recovery you can't speak to any of those people now?

And then to see yet one more meeting being organized ABOUT US that doesn't include US.   Then when we let you know we're not happy about being ignored to get some lecture from you like we're children about "appropriate" behavior?  You know what Elaine - any day my members can get through without drinking, using, acting out, or shooting themselves in the head is a day when I don't criticize how they express their feelings when someone is ignoring them.  Especially when we're tried to tell you about problems long before they hit the news.

The case of Joohoon David Lee in Las Vegas?  We tried getting ahold of someone in your office about that case back in 2013.  http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/las-vegas/las-vegas-restaurateur-says-former-fed-manufactured-criminal-case-against-him  He might have been caught sooner had you responded. 

We are STILL trying to open up a dialogue with you about a woman who was drug out of her home by two Pasadena police officers, and slapped with two fake prostitution charges.  I am still trying to open up a dialogue with you about cases where I've got victims reaching out to us for help only to then have cop threatening me not to speak to that victim "or else".

All things, and more, that should be things being discussed at a meeting about this subject being held that we posted a comment about it under the page.  

Do you know why we did that?  For one thing, if you didn't like it take a look at your own behavior first.  Because we have been trying POLITELY since 2002 to open up a dialogue with Polaris.  So frankly we should have lost our temper sooner.

So if you don't like what was done - take a look at your own behavior before lecturing us.  Because we did it because we're tired of being ignored and then what do we do?  We got home and commiserate with each other.  Then nothing changes.  

We're not going to do that anymore.  We've asked nicely to be included for 10 years now.  Enough is enough.  Now we're going to be nasty about it.  Because we want people to SEE you're ignoring us.  Another example of why we're frustrated - we've got members in Ireland.  

We've been taking calls from Ireland for 30 years Elaine.  Members who say what's being said in the press about the situation there isn't true.  Only we see a huge announcement about a group in Ireland you've partnered with to take calls from victims out there also.  Great.  It would be nice to coordinate with someone else out there about calls we get.  Only when we write this company and try to open up a dialogue with them also - we get nothing.  

Fine.

Only we're going to make sure then that people know we're being ignored.  Then you can explain it to them because you're sure not explaining it to us.   You want to blame it all on  a comment put on your page a short time ago?  Fine.  But then explain everything else that led up to the frustration that went into that comment then Elaine.  

We tried speaking to the press directly about including us in articles they include you in.  Only we've now been told by over 10 reporters they will be fired if they print our name.  We've been told by a Review Journal reporter that Sheldon Adelson has put out a blacklist on our name in the media.  True to his word, we haven't seen one word in any press you're included in since.  When we had two reporters threaten to walk if our name wasn't printed and included - they were fired.  Leaving us back with you.  The reporters can't be fired about an article you're in if you're including us.  

Our members are tired of being ignored.  They're frankly beginning to feel like they're back in the presence of their old pimps who would ignore them also.  Especially when we're being "chastised" for expressing how we feel to you which is how we felt when that comment was posted.   Instead of respecting our feelings and maybe taking a look at what prompted it on your end - we then get judged, shut down, and basically ignored because I don't see an invite to the event included in your chastisement of our actions.  

Now I'm sorry but I've been teaching them to allow themselves to be ignored and just "take it" isn't recovery.  Our program teaches them to speak up, have a voice, express themselves, and they're just as important and as valuable as any other human being.

Now I'm sorry Polaris doesn't feel that way about us.  But if I"m wrong Elaine - then you show me one single invitation to any event, meeting, training, committee, etc. we've been invited to or offered to be included in?  Since 2002 - show me.  

Then you can talk to me about how "out of line" our feelings are about this issue.  Especially since the grants you receive wouldn't have been possible without the hard work and sacrifice we put into this field.  You want the money?  Fine.  But you don't want to include us in a field that's about us in any way, shape or form, and then you want to contribute to us being excluded from the table on issues that affect us by ignoring us  =  well then I"m sorry but we're done being polite about it.  

You want to go around talking about how much you care about survivors?  Well I'm one too and frankly I don't think I'm being treated very well either - let alone the respect you're showing our members.  

Which is none.  

We are the oldest, and largest group of survivors in this country.  We are not only survivors, but human beings.  Things have escalated to the point where Polaris has now created a "natural monopoly" within the very field we created.  A field I assure you didn't even exist in the 1970's and 1980's that WE created and made possible.  

We have asked "nicely" for 10 years now to be included and recognized - not ignored like we're not in the room.  Again, I don't mean "me" either - but "us".  Even "me" however counts as I am a survivor myself.  I also don't know ANYONE who has been in this field longer than myself other than Lois Lee who works with juveniles.  So as far as adults - there is no one with more experience in this work than myself.  

Now we're getting snarky about it.  Now we have your attention.  Sending us emails chastising us is not responding to the issue.  We need to know what you plan on doing about it or we've done the homework that establishes we have the basis of a lawsuit for Polaris being a monopoly on the field not only we created, but we used to dominate. You are engaging in "unfair" competition and trade practices when Katherine Chon holds the purse strings through the grants at the Trafficking in Persons office, and also jobs within the system for social workers, counselors, etc.  

Something has to give here when members of our program tell their counselors they are in fact members of SWA and they are then DISCHARGED because the counselor doesn't want them "infecting" the other prostitutes in their case load with information that the one woman who is doing well in the batch is attending our meetings.  

Then when we confront the counselor about why she did that to this survivor, we get told "because our clinic survives off grant money from the federal government that's why".  Pointing to grant money the clinic receives from the Trafficking in Persons' Office.  

When social workers who post flyers for us on the wall are then fired for doing this, and her boss then points us to training manuals that mention nothing about us and for which we're not included in the creation of nor listings within as to why she was fired for using "unauthorized resources" - then we have a problem in that we're not only having our program being shut out from helping our members, but our members are being PENALIZED by this system.  

This country, the public, and our legislature has been subjected to one fraud after the other after the other Elaine.  Frauds that would not have happened most likely if we weren't being ignored by Polaris.   Samoly Mam for one . William Hillar and Chong Kim are two others.  When we knew these people to be fake, and further ripping people off for money, we would have been able to shut them down IMMEDIATELY with the reach your organization has.  If you didn't want to get behind that whistle blowing - fine.  But when people are afraid to even listen to us for fear of you - then we have a problem in that your ignoring of us is contributing to people being harmed, ripped off, and misled.  Especially when these fakes are testifying in Congressional hearings.  

Especially when the fraud has reached the level it has within Tennessee as but one example with the case involving Heather Weyker.  We knew there was something wrong with that case from the gate when we were shut out for the first time in a case.  A case that would have not cost over $10 million dollars, and innocent people jailed, had the people surrounding it been forced to listen to us when we said there was something wrong with that case.  

But when people like them are ignoring us, well then turning to you to see you also are ignoring us - then this has reached a point where it's no longer just harming us survivors Elaine - but everyone.  

So before taking the formal action of filing a monopoly case with the court to get your attention - we're trying another tactic.  Funny how THAT got a response out of you when nothing else "nice" had.  

You have my number.  I'd like to know if instead of insulting me you have a constructive suggestion to the problem?

Jody Williams

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