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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

OPEN LETTER TO ASTON KUTCHER FROM FOUNDER OF SEX WORKERS ANONYMOUS

Jody Williams, Founder & Director
Sex Workers Anonymous (formerly “Prostitutes Anonymous”)
(702) 488-1127 Cell/Text
February 21, 2017

Aston Kutcher
Via Twitter/Facebook

Re:                         Your Sex Trafficking Testimony

Dear Mr. Kutcher:

Thank you for the words you expressed about who we are in this fight.  Now maybe a white male with money has stepped up to defend our cause – now maybe someone will listen to our voices.  I agreed with you when seeing the same things – we are not “whores”, nor “prostitutes” but in fact the product of those around us in power.  I learned from Noam Chomsky the power of not only words, but the power of who is saying them.  You Mr. Kutcher are not “one of us” and in fact are part of the problem.

You expressed how the child had her experience defined for her as "playtime" by her abuser.  The system of abuse itself involves those in power over us defining for us our experience.  Choosing even the very words we call our experience such as when that child was taught to call it "playtime".  Which is what you're doing Mr. Kutcher when you're the one speaking at the Senate for us about what our experience is also - you're still someone in a position of power defining for us what our experience is by YOUR choice of words FOR us.  

The fact the press will cover your testimony and not my letter as not only a survivor myself, but the founder of the world's oldest, and largest group of survivors is proof of how far we've left to go here also.  

When Linda “Lovelace” Boreman stepped up to tell us sex trafficking was real – she was written off as a “jilted ex-lover”.  Known for the rest of her life by one film she was forced to be in “Deep Throat”.  When a Chinese man, Bruce Lee, tried to tell us sex trafficking was real in his way with “Enter the Dragon”, it was written off as “just a martial arts film”.  When I stepped up to provide the courts with a legal way to stop treating us like criminals – I’ve been written completely out of history entirely.  In fact you’re the one asked to speak for us like we can’t speak for ourselves.  Like our word isn’t “good enough”. 

You see Mr. Kutcher – I was the first one who not only provided our legal system with a way to legally stop treating us as criminals by starting the first hotline for adults to call when needing help to leave any part of the sex industry after having escaped myself, but also a way to stop incarcerating us as criminals.  It was our group who started bringing the first survivors onto national live TV to tell our stories by tricking producers into thinking we’d go along with their agenda to glamourize our plight in order to get on camera and heard.   It was our group who convinced the public this was not a “victimless crime” when the legal brothels were attempting to expand into California, Las Vegas, and beyond.   Legal brothels who behind their doors it becomes virtually impossible to get help to those who are forced. 

Please allow me to introduce myself.  In many ways, I’m sort of the “Bill Wilson” of the modern domestic sex trafficking movement.  Let me try to explain – you had told the story of a young girl who had been trained from such a young age on as to think sex was “playtime”.  This was her framework of the world.  Now imagine all the other young boys and girls who are also taught to call certain behaviors as “playtime” also.  As they get older they start making friends with other kids who also call these things “playtime”.  They then develop a whole social network of friends who all refer to this as “playtime” as do the adults surrounding them.  The magazines, music, sculpture, even posters on the wall all also support the use of the term “playtime” for these behaviors YOU know to not be “playtime” at all.

Now imagine putting up billboards in these areas where this is happening calling out not to offer help to those who want to stop having “playtime” but instead let’s call it “sleeping”.  All of those other children, even those who have now reached their teen years, maybe even their 20’s who all call this “playtime” are seeing billboards going up all around them, public service announcements coming onto TV, and posters going up at their doctors’ offices asking for people who want help with “sleeping” to contact this hotline number given.  What’s going to happen is all of these people who have been raised calling this “playtime” are going to see the term “sleeping” and think – that’s not me.

But you have all these “do gooders” who insist “it’s not playtime – it’s sleeping”.  They insist to call it anything but “sleeping” will “legitimize” it and so they refuse.  The problem is however Mr. Kutcher is that to reach the victims ears you have to use the language THEY understand.  Otherwise, the right choice of words becomes a barrier to that help.  You only are reaching those who will call it “sleeping” and not “playtime”.  Which just causes help to be even harder to reach.  That’s what happens when our hotline and program, Sex Workers Anonymous, chooses to use the language that makes contact with those we’re trying to reach help out to.  www.sexworkersanonymous.com

Many years ago this country tried to deal with the disease of alcoholism by outlawing it.  By turning those suffering from the disease into criminals, it condemned almost all suffering from it to “jails, institutions and death”.  It was only when Bill Wilson stepped outside the church, outside the criminal justice system, and created a way for them to help themselves through the creation of Alcoholics Anonymous, one helping another, was hope for a life made available for the first time to them. 

When one of those saved stepped out to create the National Council on Alcoholism, this was when research started happening which changed the very way this country addressed those suffering from this disease.  A disease that can affect anyone from any walk of life as we saw when Betty Ford, one of our First Ladies, bravely stepped forward to proclaim she too suffered from this disease.  This allowed other “respectable” people to step forward and be open about their disease as well.

We’re not there yet.  Not when you are the one allowed to speak at the Senate and the world about this but I wasn’t even invited to listen to this from the back wings.  The fact you don’t even know who I am shows how far we really have to go with how deeply this problem is being hidden from view.  Including the insistence on only offering help to those who call their situation “sleeping” and not “playtime”.

I’d like to invite you and I to open up a dialogue Mr. Kutcher.  I run the only hotline in the USA that is reaching out to adults in a way they will respond to the offer of help which is manned by survivors.  We do that by empowering our members to know they are “good enough” to be providing help to others – not cast aside while white people of privilege who haven’t been in our shoes try to “save” us further victimizing us in other ways.  The very fact YOU’RE trying to save us like we can’t – is more of the problem.  I thank you for trying to get our voices heard by acknowledging they’re listening to you. 

But that in itself is part of the problem.  You’re still allowing them not to realize they need to be listening to US.  If this were a civil rights movement would you understand then how insulting to us what you did is then because your skin is a different color?  But the issue here of sex trafficking is something affecting people of every color so the ones to speak for us are those who have survived the experience.  Which sad to say you’re excluding our voices just as much as they are.  

Let’s talk – please.  We have so much more we’d like you to hear other than what you’re being allowed to hear by the police, our government, and those who are part of the problem as Celeste Guap has shown usSo much so they even write laws providing them with immunity from all prosecution like Joohoon David Lee was afforded when he used the badge of Homeland Security and Immigration to traffick women.  

Please contact me.



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