Thursday, November 3, 2016
WHY ARE WE BEING SHUT OUT OF THE HIV/AIDS OUTREACH TO SEX WORKERS?
We sent this letter below to Janet after reading http://www.nj.com/opinion/index.ssf/2016/10/im_a_nj_sex_worker_decriminalizing_prostitution_wo.html
Janet - our program created the first ever outreach projects, educational projects, and everything that was the historically first time the sex industry was treated as an "industry", instead of that of being "criminal", in the 1980's.
When everything out was addressed only to the gay male, yes ACT UP pushed to get attention onto straight females but it was our group, Prostitutes Anonymous" (our original name changed in 1995 to Sex Workers Anonymous) that not only created the first outreach projects to sex workers (strippers, porn performers and prostitutes as well as madams and pimp both legal & illegal), but it was why we created ourselves as a 12 step program.
By being a 12 step program first of all, this made all calls and communication "priviledged" and thus could not be used as "evidence" in violation of their 5th amendment rights the same as if we were doctors, priests or lawyers. Important when asking people to talk about illegal behavior when trying to get research done, testing, training, etc.
Before, no one would speak about their behavior as it could be used against them in a criminal prosecution. Also, the jails didn't want HIV/AIDS positive prostitutes incarcerated. By being a 12 step program, we were able to IMMEDIATELY (without the time to change the law or trying to find non-existent money to set up programs for sex workers back when no on wanted to even touch us let alone would any "credible" person set up a program to help us - go in and have the court send those found guilty of prostitution and sent to our program instead of jail through laws grandfathered in by Alcoholics Anonymous (unlike programs such as Project Rose or Div.17 where they instead coerce and threaten sex workers into "help" instead of going to jail in their attempt to create "victims"). By being a 12 step program, the court would take those found guilty and send to us instead of jail especially if they were pregnant or HIV/AIDS positive (including men, women and transgenders).
Is this important? Yes because otherwise when health workers, advocates, nurses, outreach workers, and even counselors and those doing testing and training ask a sex worker questions - they are technically violating their 5th amendment rights.
Yes workers were getting subpena's and warrants to turn over information, evidence, etc., about sex workers they couldn't refuse so many were refusing to get tested, get educated, or participate in research. By our members being protected under laws grandfathered in by AA for confidentiality during calls, conversations, meetings, etc., we were able to open all of this up when before everyone was having to duck and cover from the cops.
We got researchers in to be able to do ground breaking research into sex workers that in one year dropped the HIV infection rate from over 80 % to less than 6 %. Also, no one in jail could get proper HIV/AIDS treatment and they'd die quickly in jail in the 1980's because of the lack of hygienic conditions, and also lack of their medications.
So by the court sending those found guilty to our program instead of jail - we were able to get them all kinds of help and save lives. In one month for example we got 400 transgenders out of the mens' jail and into the first transition house for sex workers. We created a board which for the first time coordinated county services to do outreach for the public health and safety instead of viewing us like criminals. Looking at condoms as "evidence" was wiped out entirely.
We got the first test site set up for trans sex workers who were too embarrassed to go get tested with the general public because they'd stare. Our outreach models were duplicated from Los Angeles, up to San Francisco, Vegas, Phoenix, and clear to Florida, New York, PA, NJ, etc. So our work really saved lives back in the 1980's. Granted, we then "relaxed" and focused on our recovery work until the AIM clinic was shut down.
When federal money became available to work with sex workers once the Trafficking Act of 2000 was passed - suddenly the church came after us with a vengeance. We always take new members in for testing, and most of our outreach is done through harm reduction where we do HIV/AIDS education, and testing. Well the church wasn't happy about us taking many sex workers to places such as Planned Parenthood so anyone that worked with prostitutes was told they would not get funding if they even spoke to us. It was the same as telling alcohol treatment providers not to use AA or speak to Bill Wilson.
Unable to find an attorney willing to sue the church - we finally found help with the aclu when they won ACLU vs. Catholic Bishops. However, they were still telling their money recipients if they so much as spoke to us they'd get cut off. So we helped with the free speech lawsuit that was Open Society vs. International Agency.
But kind of pointless when by this time "counter union organizers" who are investing a great deal of money into "legalization" (not decriminalization as we advocate for), started sending in "influencers". As well as Charlie Sheen spending a fortune to make sure sex workers he had exposed were intimidated.
This was when our members started being stalked, threatened, harassed, etc. As well as anyone who supported us or even knew we existed. About 2013, groups such as SWOP, Desiree Alliance and the Red Umbrella started having members of their groups who were also members of our program, being threatened, shunned, and otherwise told "don't speak to Jody or anyone at SWA". If you doubt me - try standing up in these groups and say you support what SWA does and see if you don't first get a call asking you to "please stop" Those who don't like being told what to do told us they went from being asked not to talk to or about us, to then being threatened and shunned. Including members from your NY chapter tell us to our face she had to stop speaking to us when we'd call to get someone help or they were having their finances, support and even person threatened.
Between us being shut out of the loop/field we had created and the AIM Clinic being shut down - we are now getting calls in more numbers about HIV/AIDS then we did in the 1980's. We started organizing outreach teams again - only things have changed.
We started being threatened by cops to "back off" because of men like Chris Butler, Kemp Shiffer and Joohon David Lee. In NJ, we were threatened to "back off" the now infamous DEA owned strip club. Our outreach workers were being threatened by police - you can see how deep it goes when reading up on the Oakland sex scandal.
While Michael Weinsten was using Shelley Lubben to target porn performers who are tested frequently and rarely trafficked - we were getting no help doing outreach to Asian massage parlors, unlicensed strip clubs, sex clubs, brothels, etc., where the men and women were having 10 contacts a day unprotected because of the "Girlfriend Experience".
When you have cops threatening your members trying to do outreach to test and educate with 5150 charges, arrest, assault, and union busters and trafficking recruiters into "backing off" then we need to have a serious talk about these issues. We're not only fighting traffickers, but now the church trying to "rescue victims" and babies to adopt out to wealthy donors who won't let a sex worker near us because they don't want them touching condoms or going in to see an ob-gyn who might just mention the word "abortion".
We once enjoyed a great partnership with Adult Performers Advocacy Committee - then suddenly once James Deen became director we're being blocked from even speaking at a panel given on "How to Quit the Sex Industry" who we later learned was raping female performers. Now we know why he didn't want his victims to come speak to us and compare notes and unify. We only just heard about your 11th conference in San Diego coming up.
Now we have all of the people, resources, and methods to do outreach to the sex industry - but again we were finding ourselves threatened by bad cops who some were traffickers, raping sex workers, etc. Again look at how they're victimizing Celeste Guap. When we stepped up to help her - the cops whisked her off to Florida where she's then arrested and held on a $300,000 bail where no one could talk to her? We've got reporters threatened to not speak to us about this while being forced to write about "phony" outreach organizations such as the one supposedly led by Kevin Brown with the show "8 Minutes". We started filming this only to have our film makers threatened.
This has to be addressed if you're going to get at those most likely to be infected while unable to get protection, training and medication. We started reorganizing to do another outreach campaign for HIV/AIDS only to then start being threatened by legal brothel owners who are now sending their employees on "outdates". These men will never let word of an HIV/AIDS infection in their staff go public.
We have learned, and witnessed, they literally have access to alter records at Quest Diagnosis in Nevada. There is NO competitor site. We witnessed them altering records of prostitutes who were HIV/AIDS positive to read negative. We believe the "No Such Thing" campaign calling to not arrest juveniles is in reality being done so juveniles aren't tested for HIV/AIDS with records accessible by the county to cover up the epidemic HIV/AIDS infection rates.
Ask yourself with no records now of juveniles in LA county's HIV/AIDS infection for 2015 and 16 how are you to get funding without rates of infection? It's questions and points like this we raise, alert, and expose - why these brothel owners started paying "influencers" who will start ringing your phone off the hook with "warnings" and then "threats" if you were to ask anyone in our group to speak, or even attend, this event coming up on the 5th.
Now we have created another outreach project we're about to launch into the sex industry we would obviously like to be able to partner with your people to provide these sex workers with the latest data and resources- but this means an opening of dialogue.
If you'd like to talk - we can be reached at (702) 488-1127. "Not without us" includes the oldest, and largest, group of those going in and out of the sex industry. We've answered 500,000 calls on our hotline, have chapters worldwide, and our database shows over 190,000 current contacts. Your researchers also need to be alerted all tests done by Quest Diagnostics in CA, NV, AZ, etc. need to be sent to a second independent lab for accurate results.
I assure you Vivid and Dennis Hof will do everything in their power to make sure no sex worker will be able to point to them definitively as to the source of their infection and will cover this up identical to how the NFL was covering up Traumatic Brain Injury as seen in the film "Concussion". I believe it was for those reasons the AIM Clinic was sabatogued and shut down (they were too accurate and could trace the source and trail of an outbreak), and why you're not going to be able to address this issue without looking at what we're saying.