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Showing posts with label Seattle Against Slavery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Seattle Against Slavery. Show all posts

Saturday, January 30, 2016

LETTER TO ROBERT BEISER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF SEATTLE AGAINST SLAVERY

I posted a link to our letter to the Office of Public Safety on the Seattle Against Slavery facebook page.  I then had a woman on their page come at me saying I had written a "hate op".  I posted her comment and mine on the previous blog.  Then I received a letter from Robert Beiser, the Executive Director of Seattle Against Slavery.  Below is my response to him:

Dear Robert:

Yes we have a chapter in Seattle. We have had a chapter in Seattle actually since 1988 - a year after we launched our hotline and program. 

I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but when you first formed your program I reached out to you to make contact.  I did so because I know some of the challenges survivors face obviously - such as trying to find work with a prostitution record.  

That's why we have developed quite a list of employers we know are versed in this type of thing and gladly hire survivors even with a record.  The same for landlords.  We also have some SWA members who even make a point of hiring other survivors because they know it can be a challenge not only because of a criminal record, but also to explain the lack of work history.  

As well as a list of employers, and landlords, we have a list of attorney's who donate their time to help survivors.  They don't broadcast the fact publicly because many attorney's who help survivors are then targeted by the traffickers for harassment - especially if the survivor was a minor when trafficked and was dealing with pedophiles who have quite an organized ring going on in this country who try and attack any lawyer who can assist these survivors not only with things like record expungment, but also coming after them for prosecution.  

Survivors are also arrested for prostitution many times before being rescued. Since we're a 12 step program, there's no point in going to jail when the court has the discretion to allow them to attend our program under laws grandfathered in by AA and NA.  Also, when the judge allows this, we routinely then follow up with the court at the end of their term to show the court their progress.  It's at this time we then ask for a record expungment.  To date, each person who has asked the court for this "alternative to sentencing" and then we've in turn asked for expungment  - we've been granted it.  

Now in a few cases we've seen the person decide to go back into sex work, which also usually leads them back to drugs.  In cases where we've had someone court ordered into our meetings as an alternative to jail - we report this to the court who in turn then un-suspends their sentence.   Then they will put them into a residential drug treatment program where they can be more 24/7 care.  In a few cases, the judge has insisted on some type of residential treatment as an alternative to incarceration.  In those cases, we have residential programs we work with where we make arrangements to pick them up from jail (where they're usually being held because they can't make bail), drive them to the residential program, and there they also have weekly meetings of our program.  Then at the time of their graduation - we return back to court with them to report on their progress.  

Many survivors have severe PTSD, DID, bipolar disorder, Stockholm Syndrome, and some are even brainwashed.  Some have contracted serious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Hep C, TB, HPV, fibrmyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome are some we see most commonly.  For them, we have therapists, and doctors, we know of who are not only specifically trained in how to effectively work with our issues, who may be willing to donate their services if the survivor doesn't have insurance, and some are even survivors themselves.  

Not thinking you would have these resources when you first opened up your program - that's why I reached out to your group when I first heard you opened.  I have Google keyword alerts that alert me when programs open like when yours did.  I have no idea who I sent an introduction email out to back then - but I honestly don't remember getting any response.  

So I had no idea you were working on this Bill.  No one put me on your email or newsletter list either when I wrote it.  You probably wouldn't know of who our local members are because a great majority of our members are members because they value their "anonymity".   Meaning while we have a Seattle chapter - I am the one who sends out the introduction letters in order to protect the anonymity of our local members from outsiders.  

Our members want to remain anonymous most of the time with good reason.  One of our members had worked as a counselor for the inmates at the jail up there in Seattle for over 12 years without one blemish on her record.  The minute however one of her associates leaked she was a survivor of sex trafficking, specifically porn in her case, she was fired.  Her boss said it was "unacceptable" that she be a counselor working with inmates being that her photos had appeared in Hustler.  It seems that we have a long way to go before many people realize that one can be just as forced to do porn as prostitution.  

When I formed our program, I didn't want it to be about one segment of  the sex industry or type of person.  For example, Narcotics Anonymous is not just for a junkie.  NA is for the suburban housewife who is prescribed diet pills as well as the junkie who robs his grandmother so he can shoot up heroin in alley's.  As I'm sure you are aware, sex trafficking victims go through many different paths before they finally leave.  Very rarely do victims "just" prostitute.  Many have been involved in stripping, pornography, webcam work, phone sex, and even madaming.  I myself was recruited to work as a madam so the pimps that came after me could sit back and get high on cocaine which was popular back in the 1980's.  

Also, as you know, just getting them out isn't the whole thing.  First of all, over 98% of them relapse back to the sex industry if their issue's aren't properly addressed in recovery.  Some of which include brainwashing and  Stockholm Syndrome.  This is why statistically almost every sex trafficking victim will return to the sex industry on their own shortly after they've been rescued.  Then once they're back in the industry - they become prone to being trafficked again.  

As you may have seen in my letter to Washington, I went through different forms of trafficking myself.  The warehouse I'd set up as a safe house didn't work on it's own because I found that every single woman I'd rescue from her pimp would return to the sex industry, and maybe even another pimp, anywhere from one day to six months after I'd helped free them.  Then there's the issue of drug and alcohol abuse.  Many victims can be rescued from sex trafficking - but their addiction isn't addressed.   If they continue drinking and/or using to cope with their emotions - then connecting to the drug world will often suck them right back up into sex work, which can then find them trafficked again.  

This is part of the reason why I chose a 12 step format for our program - and why I also realized we needed a program and not just the "rescue".  I was getting these women out long before I started our 12 step program and letting them stay in the warehouse until they could get on their feet, only they kept going back either to the same pimp, or a different one.  I couldn't figure that out until I started taking some psychology classes that helped me to understand that "getting them out" wasn't a program.  

But what "program"?  I had spent five years myself looking for some type of "program" or system to help me get out of the sex industry to no avail.  I had scoured the country.  I had gone to the UCLA research library which was the best in the country and found that every single program that had existed before trying to help us get out of the sex industry had failed.  That included faith based programs.  

Now in researching them, I found that pre-existing programs weren't addressing the sex trafficking.  They were pretty much writing everything off as the drugs.  When a woman would be freed from a pimp but return the next day to him - it was written off as her chasing after the drugs.  But even Catharsis, which was a program to help women leave the sex industry, which didn't view this issue as a drug addiction had failed also.  

I didn't want us to repeat history and fail those coming to us for help.  So when we launched the first hotline in this country I needed to be a "one size fits all".  I didn't want to turn any one away because that could kill them.  

In order to do that, I had to get a broad view of what we all were dealing with so we could help whoever called.  It's one thing to be helping women in Los Angeles like I'd done with the safe house I'd set up - but it's another to launch a national hotline that's going to go out from coast to coast.  

So we went out and did a survey of 2000 male and female prostitutes who were incarcerated, and another 2,000 who were not.  Out of those who were not incarcerated, we made sure to survey those who worked in legal and illegal prostitution, as well as porn, stripping, madaming, and any form of sex work we could find.  It was important to us for example to interview those who did drugs as well as those who never touched a drug or a drop of booze.   We interviewed those with children, and those without.  We interviewed those who had graduate degrees as well as those who had not finished high school.  We interviewed those who had mental illness such as DID and/or bipolar disorder as well as those who were completely fine.  It was important to us to be able to create a program that would serve ALL needs.  I wanted us to be able to help that streetwalker who had a pimp on one arm and a needle in the order, just as much as I wanted to help the escort who was driving up to our meeting in a Lamborgini (true story), as well as the Playboy Bunny (which we have an interview up with one at www.leavingtheliferadio.com)

So I appreciate your work on HB2668 with respect to members of your group - but it's not going to only affect members of your group.  Especially since if it's adopted - it will probably be duplicated in other states.  Once a trafficking Bill passes in on state - it goes on to be duplicated pretty much word in another.  Then we have Canada, and other countries. 

It's also going to affect members of our program which in turn is going to affect us with respect to how we can, or can not, help them.  Members of SWA who aren't going to go testify at Congress.  Members who may be a part of Seattle Against Slavery, but don't want to "rock the boat" and speak their objections for reasons I"m sure you saw on your page when I brought up the Bill.  I mean that is how the law is going to be written correct?  Not just for Seattle Against Slavery clients - but for ALL survivors which includes members of our program.  

I'm not sure why that woman attacked me, but I've gotten used to it. For some reason I don't understand, when we encounter survivors with other groups who are not also members of SWA at the same time, we seem to be attacked for some reason I don't understand like we're not on the same side here.  It goes beyond them attacking us when we speak to them like about this Bill - we have been having them attack us to the point where we've had to take down our online chat room, disable our members area on our website, and we've had to instruct members to remove all references to even belonging to SWA off their social media because of the attacks our members were encountering by other survivors who are not a part of SWA.  It's like everyone wants to go "testify at Congress" which is not something we generally do since we "have no opinion on outside issues".  

However, when some members came to me and showed me the Bill they pointed out that HB2668 is an "inside" issue and does affect us since we have been a part of the expungment process for many survivors in many states now, and the number of those we are is growing constantly.  

In fact, as it's written it creates a lot of potential problems for us, and survivors across the board, and that's why we wrote to the committee directly.  We also wrote to them directly because we do know we introduced ourselves to you when you first opened your doors and if you had wanted our input - you would have asked for it before now.  But you didn't. However, this letter does have a certain "tone" to it like you're the only group up there working with survivors and you are not.  We are also working with them in Seattle, and numerous states across the USA, with that number again growing constantly.  In fact, we just added two new meetings to our directory last week.  One in Florida, and the other in Culver City, California.  At the moment, we have chapters in at least 20 states, and six other countries.  Our database of active members shows 190,000 entries worldwide.

Now I did not attack your Bill.  I did not attack anyone in your program.  However, we sure did get our face ripped off by a woman connected to your program and I fail to see why.  That Bill is something that's going to affect ALL survivors, and it's also going to affect our work with survivors.  However we were not consulted and I'm pretty sure that you were made aware of our existence as I said when you first launched.   

No our members don't broadcast they are members because it's an ANONYMOUS program.  This also means they're not going to sign their names to letters, nor get up at town hall meetings, or other such public events and identify as a survivor.  Our members tend to do quite well in their recovery.  Realize we've been around since 1987 - meaning some of our members have put themselves through medical and law school, some have become professors, some have become journalists, therapists, social workers, etc. and risk a great deal of issues should their past come out.  I need to point out here the Trafficking Act of 2000 wasn't passed until the year 2000.  Some of our members again have been with us since day one in 1987 - meaning when we first started this whole thing we were viewed as either "criminals" or "deviants" NOT "survivors" nor "heroes".  

Things have swung a great deal the other way because when I first started doing TV appearances to speak out as a survivor, and to demand this country recognize this was real, and to push for recognition of it being real, and to have the things we have today like task forces - I used to come home and not find awards but instead find eviction notices, pink slips from work and the word "whore" spray painted over the hood of my car. So some of our members have built a life where no one knows about their past.  Some still have their pimp out there looking for them and choose to remain underground.  The sad truth is not everyone "gets" what sex trafficking even is yet.  Meaning we had not only our Seattle member fired who was working at the jail - but we've seen others also not treated so well when the truth came out about their past.

Last year, there was a school teacher whose pimp leaked porn photos of her from 10 years ago and there went her teaching job.  I'm sure you're well aware these pimps, if not incarcerated, and/or if others in their network aren't incarcerated, they'll do everything they can to find their victim, get them fired, evicted, and otherwise pushed into a corner where they can the re victimize them again.

Something again I'm quite familiar with.  When I had left the "family" as they liked to call themselves, I went out and got myself a waitress job.  I had no money, rent was due, and no food in the house.  So I got myself a job at a coffee shop where I could get tips and eat.  I was mysteriously fired three days later.  I got another waitress job and was fired shortly after I was hired again.  This went on for a few months until I had worked at literally every restaurant in Los Angeles.  I then yes got so broke and hungry that I called this "family" and I asked if I could come back - thinking that this was me making that call.  

Only once I got into recovery I got a strange phone call.  One of the men had gotten himself into AA where he reached the point where he had to "make amends".  So he called me to confess that they would find out where I was working through informants, and then they would go visit the restaurant owner.  They would then threaten to burn the place down if they didn't fire me knowing that when I got broke enough - I'd come running back to them.  

Which again is why I bring up the fact that some people may overlook - and that's that if their pimp, or someone in his network, is still out there looking for them then if they set a court date to expunge their records that can trigger software they have set up to scan for them online and voila!  The pimp then knows she's going to be in the Seattle courthouse on such and such date with judge so and so.  

When you "spoke with members of Seattle Against Slavery" for this Bill - you were not speaking to survivors who choose to remain anonymous, nor were you speaking to someone who has been working with record expungment of victims for over 30 years now.  Meaning we might just have a different view on things than you do.

Which is why for example I'd like to see discussed on this Bill the fact that putting their name on the court docket which appears online in today's world could trigger someone looking for them to know where they are going to be and this could harm, even possibly kill them.  So I wanted to suggest that something be added in there for that reason that maybe the survivor could apply under a Jane Doe as some domestic violence and stalking victims do.  
I also know how many of our members have rang up domestic violence charges defending themselves, and their children.  So when I saw on this Bill about the domestic violence exclusion - I think we should talk about modifying this obviously.  Especially if the domestic violence was related to the sex trafficking because in the 30 years I've been doing this all over this country, Canada, and other states, I've seen it tends to go hand in hand.  Especially for the adults who were protecting their children.  

Now forgive me if I'm wrong - but if I remember correctly your program is only a few years old.  It only operates in the Seattle area, it only works with females, and I don't know if you've ever actually been involved in an expungment  case for a survivor.  However, we have.  We've been doing this as I said before since we launched in 1987, and we've been doing it in many states within the USA, as well as Canada, and in some other countries as well.   Meaning that yes we might have a different viewpoint than you on a few points but that doesn't mean we think you're "wrong" or the bill is "bad".  

Most of the reason why we formed a 12 step program and started this movement was because we felt it was horrible that these men, women and children, who were being forced to work in the sex industry were being arrested and treated like criminals.  Then because of their record, it was making it virtually impossible for them to leave.  Again, these are issues we've been helping our members with since day one but would like to see the day when we don't have to deal with it at all.  

Yes we've like to see it easier to get record expungment.  But of course it would be ideal if it were decriminalized.  Then there wouldn't be a record to deal with at all.  But as Edwin Meese told us in 1986 - that day isn't coming in our lifetime.  So we have to work with what we've got with respect to our legal system for now.

Meaning we'd like to discuss NOT having to prove one was trafficked to get the records expunged.  First, if one could prove they were trafficked in the first place - there wouldn't be a conviction.  I've been a part of literally 1000's of men and women's stories who have been arrested, some trafficked, and some not, and I can assure you that if they could prove they were forced when they first got arrested they would have.  Again, I point you to my case.  The DA only charged me because he wanted me to "snitch" on someone else.  I was being threatened back then by men so powerful that I knew if I opened my mouth - both my mother and myself would be dead if not my grandmother and dog also.

So - what about those cases?  What about the cases where the victim was in a trafficking situation but only took a charge because they didn't want to prosecute their trafficker for fear of their lives?  How are they supposed to "prove" trafficking on a plea bargain they took which they took because they were in fear of their lives?  

Also, how would you prove trafficking on an old case?  The only way I know of would be to hire a private investigator to start and those aren't cheap.  The last time I heard a quote it was $1500 to start.  Then after you get the proof, if you can, then you have to hire an attorney.  There goes another $1500 plus for a retainer.  Now I can assure you that a survivor who can't find work because of their record is going to have a really hard time with this law coming up with that kind of money on a "maybe".  It's a "maybe" because there's no guarantee they can come up with the proof years down the road.

Listen, I once took a trafficking case to the Las Vegas Chief Doug Gillispie with a bow on it.  I had the names, addresses, phone numbers, license plates, phone records, receipts, photos, witness statements, and absolutely everything needed to prove there was the trafficking ring operating in this country connected to Chris Butler.  This was before he was arrested.  I even had a map of where the stops where in this trafficking network where they were picking up the drugs, and dropping off the victims, and other things like stolen car parts they'd steal off the "johns" cars while they were inside with the prostitutes.  http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/sentencing-chris-butler-dirty-private-eye.html

Within 24 hours after I dropped this file off with the Chief - everything was shut down, cleared out, and buttoned up.  I was told by one of the victims that someone showed up and everyone and everything was cleared out.  They not only moved all of the furniture and cars out of the homes and businesses - but they had cleaned the inside and out of the buildings with bleach even to remove any DNA.  We weren't able to do anything about Chris until we got a male agent of his to agree to go to the press because clearly going to the police wasn't working.  

The same with "Operation Dollhouse".  http://talkaboutwidget.hmbreview.com/topic.php?t=460  That was part of the Chris Butler operation - only everything - the victims, the drugs, the stolen car parts, the guns, everything had been cleaned out and wiped out in less than 24 hours after we went to the police with information on this trafficking operation.  So clearly we couldn't go to the police - so we tried again with the media.  We knew there'd be a drop in Vegas on a certain date, so a reporter friend of ours arranged a "ride along".  Then he pushed for a raid - and voila!  There were 24 victims, baggies full of drugs, and two cops sitting right there. 

What happened?  NOTHING. The police let the women go home with the pimps 20 minutes later and the case against the cops was dismissed.  Now Chris Butler, and one other officer has been arrested.  But I can assure you Robert that the women who were trafficked in that operation were trafficked by more than just Chris and that other cop.  Remember, they were stealing drugs out of the evidence rooms and reselling them through the massage parlors.  

Now I know for a fact some of those women were arrested for prostitution.  Some of the women arrested for prostitution were arrested because they were "competition" to Chris.  So I ask you - how are they going to "prove" they were trafficked when to do so would open up a case against other cops?  It's not going to happen.  They would be embarking on a futile path and they'd be very likely to get themselves harmed, if not killed, for digging up these sleeping dogs.

What about this case that has been in Seattle news recently about the "League"?  http://www.kiro7.com/news/law-enforcement-discuss-local-human-trafficking-in/40004451  I know for a fact that ring is connected to a case I've been working on for almost three years now which has convictions also in Wichita, Kansas.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/24/gary-kidgell-yan-zhang-sex-trafficking-kansas_n_3647993.html    I got involved when a victim came to me asking for help with her criminal record.  She had just gotten a realtor's license and wanted to quit working in prostitution and become a realtor.  She was sold into this ring when she was 8 years old by her mother and she is now in her 50's.  

Only when she told them she wanted to quit - two Pasadena police officers drug her out of her home and she was slapped with two fake prostitution charges.  She was then told if she didn't get back to work, she'd be deported back to China where their connection there would see to it she'd get the death penalty.  Now this was two years before Liang Yaohui was arrested showing they had such a connection.  

Before I could expunge her records, I had to see if this claim of false arrest was true.  So we got one of our volunteer attorney's to pull her records.  He then requested her booking video.  This would show whether she was in fact arrested or not  The minute he ordered this booking video - he received a threat from the Pasadena station and an attorney.  

The victim was then told by this same attorney he had been hired by her traffickers and he had cleared her record - so she "had nothing to worry about".  I then pulled her records and they had not been cleaned.  When I sent her a copy to show her this - I was then threatened by a Pasadena officer and the attorney to "back off" or I'd be charged with stalking her.  

The officer who got the convictions in Wichita didn't have an easy time of it.  He had been trying to get an arrest since 2005 but kept getting other cops interfering who were on the payroll of the traffickers.  He got some arrests in 2009 but they didn't hold.  So he waited until he retired, then got a job with the zoning department.  From the zoning department, he was able to get enough evidence to arrest them again.  This time it held but they threatened his life and the life of the judge.  Yes a few women in Wichita went free.  

But the head was on them now so the ring started trafficking women from Korea.  One of their stops is Seattle. There was a few arrests a few week ago and they dubbed this ring the "League".  But I know the ring itself is still operating by moving the women from city to city, and that they reside in Pasadena.  

Now this is a real case I'm describing to you here.  So let me ask you - how is SHE supposed to get a record expungment based on PROVING she was trafficked?  Especially since I'm still trying to find someone to even take a report about the cop who threatened me - let alone her having her record being two cases that were faked by a department which by the way has BRAGGED they can "frame anyone for homicide they want"?  http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/general-news/20140702/tape-pasadena-homicide-detective-bragged-about-framing-suspects-lying-to-get-conviction

Which again is why we've tried to stick in our expungment work to showing the court that this person has "changed".  We show them rent receipts for a year showing they've been paying their rent on time.  We show them they've been employed for a year, and get a letter from their employer.  We show them community service, they've been staying clean, and going to some type of church, temple, or other spiritual center for growth, as well as counseling and volunteer records.  

I will have a better chance at expunging this woman in Pasadena's records this way than I would by "proving" trafficking. Especially since I can assure you any "proof" she would come up with this other attorney I'm sure would move to have it silenced under some right to privacy or some other legal tactic.   

Now again I know you're talking about Seattle - but these things again have a tendency to be duplicated in other states which is why I'd like to register what our members have to say on this issue now.  I appreciate you reaching out to me very much and I'm here any time you'd like to talk more about this, or anything else with respect to sex trafficking.  

I'd like to see us not receive such an antagnostic response from the other survivors in your program in the future.  It is this type of thing as to why our members don't exactly announce their membership in our program for one thing, nor are they likely to voice any "countering" opinions to anything in groups like yours.  I say that because as a 12 step program - we encourage our members to voice their opinions and feelings no matter how diverse they might be.  In fact, we encourage it.  

Each 12 step program has it's own "issues".  For example, alcoholics have to learn how to go to social events where alcohol is served without relapsing like weddings, bar mitzvahs, bachelor parties, even many fund raisers these days serve alcohol.   With our members, we've been met with a backhand whenever we disagree with the people in charge of us.  With our "johns" we had to play along like we agreed with them also or we didn't get tipped well.  So we make a point in our program of encouraging our members' to therefore identify their feelings and opinions and express them, even when they differ with the others and we value and respect them sharing with us.  

Other groups however tend to have a certain goal they're working for, and in your program those with a dissenting view tend to be shut out, if not outright attacked.  Want to see a fight break out?  Have someone in one of your meetings identify themselves as a SWA member and see what happens next.   Why?  I don't know.  
Especially since when the press release came out you were launching Seattle Against Slavery I sent out an introduction and offered to be involved in what you were doing which frankly would have avoided this discussion we're having altogether.  We could have been having this discussion between us before it reached this point.  So you'd have to tell me why we were cut out of the loop here because I don't know why.

Now if you can show me how this Bill doesn't have these issues within it I've pointed out - great.  Please explain to me.  Because I've been a paralegal for the 30 years I've been out of the sex industry, and I've been involved in a lot of legislature writing, and that's what it appears like to me.  

I mean if you can show me how this Pasadena woman can expunge her records until your Bill - I"m all for it.  Until then, I've got the issues with it I expressed earlier I'd like to see addressed.  

Thank you for your time. 

-- 
Jody Williams
(702) 468-4529 Cell Phone
PS - Office of Public Safety