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Showing posts with label lara powers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lara powers. Show all posts

Saturday, February 3, 2018

OPEN LETTER TO LARA POWERS

Jody Williams, Founder & Director
Sex Workers Anonymous www.sexworkersanonymous.com
SWAN – www.swan-fellowship.us
Trafficking & Prostitution Services
3395 S. Jones Blvd., #333
Las Vegas, NV 89146
(702) 488-1127


February 2, 2018

Lara Powers c/o
Polaris
Via Email

Re:       Your Recent Statement about the IKEA Article

Dear Lara:

I don’t know if you’ve seen any of Rose McGowan’s recent appearances on TV, but I have to say I’ve found them very enlightening.  One of the great things about the 12-Step process I’ve found to be very healing is that we often don’t understand what we’re going through until we see ourselves mirrored in a stranger across the room.  Seeing this “mirror” helps us to differentiate between what is “part of the process” of the experience we’re going through from what is “us” personally. 

But this “nirrror” is also our “healing empathy” that Jimmy Kinnon talked about in the Narcotics Anonymous Basic Text of what he found to work for addicts as to why they had to break away from AA to find healing for them.  Because not everyone has the “same” pain, even though we share pain as humans.

For those of us who have been through certain types of trauma, especially sexual trauma, and even more so especially when that trauma has been exploited for money, there is a common “anger” with us I see in Rose.  An anger people who have been through what we’ve been through don’t understand.  But then again if you haven’t walked in our shoes – you wouldn’t understand. 

So you may not understand our collective anger within Sex Workers Anonymous when some of our members came across your article about the woman who was in the IKEA store where you claimed she was “spreading disinformation” about what sex trafficking “really is”.  Like many of the women Rose is speaking for, actresses who don’t want to ruin their career by speaking out directly, but instead through her, I’m also in that position.  One where the members come to me and ask me to be that point of contact between their feelings and the outside world.  One that I think gets me a reputation of being “angry” when in reality I’m carrying the voices of many many people who are yes very very “angry”.  

Voices that want to be heard.  So please understand this letter is not “personal” from me, but representative of the voices of our members who contacted me asking me to speak to you about taking such a position as an “expert” on what “sex trafficking really is”.  Now I don’t know when you became an “expert” on this subject, but you’re way off base here by making the statements you did about such a type of thing “not being real” for one thing as we found in this article  http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-powers-ikea-mom-sex-trafficking-20170331-story.html

From what homework I was able to do on you, it seems you’ve been the hotline manager for the National Trafficking Hotline for about five years.  I’m sorry but that does not make you an expert on the various forms of sex trafficking in America.  ESPECIALLY when your perspective is coming from running the National Trafficking Hotline.

I say this because my biggest complaint against your hotline since the day you started it is the fact that by the very way it’s been set up – it literally EXCLUDES any REAL victims of sex trafficking from even calling you.  Therefore, I have to ask you what on earth would you know about the subject to take a position on someone else’s experience as being “inauthentic”? 

First, you probably have no idea who I am, so let me tell you where I can get off getting in your face about making such a reckless statement as you did and the dangers I see also in what you did as well by publishing such a statement. 

I was an odd kid growing up for sure.  I was in the Mentally Gifted Minors program they had in Los Angeles in the 1960’s, so I had a lot of problems in school.  To try and deal with these problems, I took a special test to get out of high school and into college when I was only 16 years of age.  I had the money to pay for it, but then my father ripped me off so suddenly I had to find a way to keep paying for school or lose my place and become just a high school drop-out. 

The only kind of job I could see that would let me continue school, but yet make enough money to pay for it, was to go to work at a local nightclub to where I lived.  That of course meant lying about my age because they served alcohol, so that’s what I did.  I got myself a job at this club which I didn’t know at the time was a front for money laundering for Richard Pryor’s family “business”.  Richard’s been open about his mother working at his grandmother’s brothel.  The men in the family were dealers, while the women engaged in prostitution. 

With Richard’s connections, they opened up this nightclub to be a sort of “one stop shop” where Hollywood celebrities could stop in and pick up whatever vice they felt like at the moment.   Remember, this was a time before cell phones and the internet – so the club was a local “connection” point between Hollywood and their drugs and prostitution needs. 

This became not only my first introduction into what “pimps” were, and how that whole world operated, but it also put me in a position where I saw just about every form of sex work as well as sex trafficking was at a time when we didn’t even have a word for it.  What was worse was that I was coming from “straight society” who didn’t believe any of these things were even real.  Believe it or not Lara – there was a time when our society didn’t believe the mafia existed either.  People used to laugh and joke and say the “cosa nostra” was just an “urban myth”. 

I can point you to things like the 1968 film, “Thoroughly Modern Millie” with Julie Andrews where they not only joked about Asian sex trafficking, but they even made a musical satire out of it.   So not only were there not any words for many of the things I say, but if you talked to anyone outside of the tiny circle of people who were involved in these things – they would not even believe you that what you were talking about was “real”. 

So the concept of “getting help” didn’t even exist because our society didn’t even believe “it” was a problem.  Which is why we didn’t even have laws on the books for “it” because “it” didn’t even exist. 

I’d like to invite you sometime to check out this clip I have from the unedited version of Bruce Lee’s “Enter the Dragon”.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PGjCWpbt4U&t=17s  In what was a fictional movie, this was actually a very real attempt I believe at explaining that domestic sex trafficking in 1973 (when this filmed premiered) was actually very real and happening today – not extinct years ago like the popular culture tried to make us believe back then.

If you look carefully at the film, you’ll see the “victims” of this were very blond American women while the traffickers were the ones who were Asian.  My point here is that the CIA inspired character in this film who was explaining what was happening  - American women were being tricked onto planes to go to this island, then hooked on drugs, and sold to the highest bidder, was literally NOT illegal back in the 1970’s.  Had Bruce not died three weeks before the film opened, I think a lot of discussion about the subject would have been sparked back then.

So the people who were engaging in this right under our noses in broad daylight were enjoying 100 % immunity.  To illustrate how horrifying this was, I would like you to think about Linda Lovelace’s story and what she went through. 

This woman got up on national TV and poured her heart out about being forced at gunpoint, with the threat of her parents being murdered, and with daily beatings so severe you can see the bruises on her legs in the film even (bruises they didn’t even bother to cover up with make-up), to film “Deep Throat”.  A film that was financed by mob money and made them millions of dollars virtually overnight mind you.  The public couldn’t wrap their head around what she was saying.  Most tried to think of it like a typical domestic violence situation for that reason.  But a few brave law makers “got it” about what she was saying. 

The problem was however that there were literally no laws on the books against what was done to her.  It didn’t help that most of the porn industry, like you did in that article, were responding by saying “these things don’t happen”. 

California’s Attorney General at the time, Edwin Meese, however took what she said seriously.  This is one reason why the Meese Commission was put together to investigate the porn industry, and why everyone on the film was charged with “obscenity”.  Lacking anything else to even attempt to charge people on the film with, it left them with that. 

Of course the public again couldn’t even understand and because it wasn’t “obscenity” all the charges were thrown out of court.  But Linda was trying to explain to the public about how many women were being forced into porn also at gunpoint, forced into prostitution, and like with her case, they weren’t being allowed to be alone even to urinate because of the way the traffickers operated.  But what she was saying at the time was so “alien” of a concept to the public, the best that the public were getting out of it was “porn was bad”. 

I watched as the public received what she was saying as virtually on the same level as if someone stepped up and said “I was abducted by aliens and we need to do something about it”.  The public wasn’t going to “do anything about it” because in their minds “aliens” didn’t exist.  In other words, she was getting a lot of people to agree with her porn was bad, but she wasn’t getting anywhere in convincing the public that sex trafficking was real, and we needed to do something about it to help the victims. 

Why?  Because I saw the plight of the victims.  If they reached out for help to law enforcement THEY were the ones arrested and treated like the criminal.  Even the police didn’t understand what they were seeing.  I knew of one place where the women were all trafficked for example.  The owner would bring in women who didn’t speak English and ran basically a brothel.  One day the cops came in and did an undercover sting and then arrested all the WOMEN as “prostitutes”.  I watched as these women tried to explain they were there against their will and the cops were like “oh yeah yeah you’re innocent – I get it “ and just ignored them completely.  Again, it was about the same as if they’d said that “aliens were making me do this”.  

I myself experienced various forms of being “trafficked” myself.  The people who introduced me into the sex industry were so polished at their “game”, I didn’t even realize I had been simultaneously brainwashed as well as coerced at the same time into this whole lifestyle with them.  It was kind of like that story of the frog in the hot water – where the water temperature is increased so slowly you don’t even realized you’re “cooked” until it’s too late.  The only reason I ever made it out of that situation once I’d gotten sucked into it was because of how the cocaine the men in charge were doing broke up the family system.  This allowed me an opportunity to “break free” if you call it that.

Because I soon found out that once I’d crossed that line, it’s not so easy to cross back.  Like many victims, once I tried going back to a “normal” life, “normal” life wasn’t so easy to go back to.  I had to leave with nothing but the clothes on my back and rent still has to be paid.  So I remained in the industry as an “independent” for some time after that.  Which is when it really became dangerous.  I say that because once I was away from the “family’s” control, I was also away from the family’s “protection” as well.  And the streets look at “outlaws” as “fair game”.

This was when I learned about what they called “gorilla pimps”.  So I’m sorry Lara, but there are pimps and traffickers who will absolutely kidnap someone right off the streets in broad daylight.  I say that because I stopped to make a phone call at a pay phone one night, and a van stopped and three men threw me into the back of a van. 

The next thing I knew, I was being held in a crackhouse – which was a house with literally iron bars on all the windows and doors.  There was no way out of that house unless someone let you out.  And trust me – what happened to me for a few weeks in that house was the stuff of nightmares as I was forced to “service” gang members who liked pretty young white girls from the valley.  I am only alive probably because they left me alone one day in the house and I was able to convince one of the neighbors, who didn’t speak English mind you, that maybe they should call the cops to come help the naked white girl stuck behind those doors crying and begging for them to “call 911” to let me out.  The head of this house collected $10 from every guy who came to have his way with the “snow bunny” – so that is a form of sex trafficking.

This was not unique either.  If you have seen my Donahue tape, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HeG_CO06O2o&t=1389s you’ll see we came on with a pimp who used to operate out on Sunset Boulevard.  He had been a pimp since he was 13 years old and learned the “game” from other pimps who taught him how to kidnap a woman, rape her, brainwash her, and “turn her out” was the street term for this back then. 

This technique is something a lot of street pimps use.  They call it you “look you choose” and to them if you just make eye contact with them, that makes you fair game to be kidnapped, raped, and then turned out into street prostitution.   Many of these types of victims never leave prostitution once they’ve been “broken in” – they just get passed from pimp to pimp until they’re worthless or dead. 

Which is what the “Pimp N Ho” ball used to be about in fact.  Again before the internet or cell phones, the street pimps would gather for their version of a trade convention and swap women like football players.  This annual meeting was how they stayed connected and also how they could put out an alert when a woman went “rogue” and tried to escape. 

To show you how organized they were – I had a woman call me from Los Angeles on a Monday for help.  I told her how to disguise herself so when she came off the plane she wouldn’t be recognized.  She of course didn’t believe they could have someone in Omaha within four hours looking for her, but I insisted she disguise herself anyway because I knew better.  That year I had been setting up safe houses outside of Omaha – so that’s where I had them coming. 

I was married to my second husband then who also could not believe the stories I was telling him, but I assured him to trust me.  Sure enough, by the time we got to the Omaha airport to pick her up, he saw the two very obvious pimps roaming the airport holding a polaroid photo of the girl looking for her.  He went into culture shock thinking that these pimps were that organized as to literally have pimps at all the major airports looking for an escaped woman like that.  So she was lucky I’d advised her to dress like a boy, buy some crutches (to disguise her walk), and to have a bandage on her nose like she’d just had surgery.  The disguise allowed us to whisk her out of the airport and right past the guys who were looking for her as a female.

We had to do this Lara because back then if you tried to explain to airport security that you were trying to get a woman past organized pimps in a national ring of traffickers – you would be the one they’d call out the psychiatric team to have locked up for a mental examination as “crazy” because there was a time when the American general public didn’t even believe this stuff was real, let alone did they have words for this, or laws. 

And when one of us was famous enough to actually get onto a national forum and talk about these kinds of things, she was brushed off as a “hysterical jealous female” and basically it did nothing to change the situation.  Because after Linda escaped Chuck, and the industry, Chuck grabbed ahold of Marilyn Chambers.  Then the industry started countering back that Linda’s accusations were just that she was “jealous of Marilyn being more popular than her” and minimized. 

What that did Lara was tell other victims not to even bother trying to explain what was going on with them because no one would believe them.  When victims tried talking about what was going on – they were the ones shamed, ignored, called crazy, or arrested.  There’s a reason why things really started coming to a head in the 1980’s and it was because of two men that were called the “Hillside Strangler”. 

These cousins didn’t just run an auto body shop, they started out their murder career as pimps.  They were also “gorilla pimps” and they would kidnap women right off the streets just walking home from school or going to the store.  Then after raping and torturing them for a while, they’d then take them to a motel room.  For about two weeks they’d send johns to the rooms and force them to act as prostitutes for these guys.  They’d collect the money of course.  But the real point was to spread the word on the streets that they were prostitutes. 

Why?  Because it worked.  When the women would finally break free, they’d go to the police and tell them what had just happened to them.  The police then ignored them.  Poof!  That’s it.  They were told to get out of the station or threatened with arrest.  Some of these women even went to the news and the news aired their stories.  The police said they “didn’t want to get involved in disputes between pimps and prostitutes”. 

It was not until they started murdering girls, and then escalated into taking women who really were not in any way someone who could be portrayed as a “prostitute” that the police started taking the complaints seriously.  What changed things was that they learned that it was safer to call escort services and have the women delivered like pizza.  The services all went to the police and the police did nothing.  No missing persons report.  Didn’t care.  Literally a team of mothers even took to the streets protesting how LAPD was doing NOTHING while all these women were just disappeared and they did nothing – and they STILL did nothing!  I mean look at the Grim Reaper case where 100’s of women were disappearing and the LAPD wouldn’t even investigate back then into these womens’ disappearances! 

Lara, if you go onto Google you’ll find that every single high level madam in the country was arrested that year.  Not 1983.  Not spread out over a few years.  But all within about the same time frame.  Coincidence?  Not to us madams it wasn’t.  You’ll also find along with that research that Alex Adams was a known FBI “informant”. 

You may have also heard about Iran Contra by now.  That’s where it’s not finally come out to the public that it was our government who was organizing the importation of cocaine to the street gangs, who then processed and distributed the drugs in crack houses like burger places.  Only anywhere you have drugs – you’re also going to have horny drug dealers wanting prostitutes.  Pablo Escobar used to have them brought to him weekly when he was in jail in Mexico. 

So we were used to the CIA and FBI asking us to bring prostitutes to some of their parties and business meetings.  We were fine with making money that way.  But not when they started asking us to help them find women who would be getting on a plane and not coming home again who had no family to ask questions about their disappearance.  If you look up now at Chuck Barris’ confession he was once a CIA operative, then you’ll also understand that Chuck was also producer of the “Dating Game” back then.  A show where women would win a prize of going to another country no one ever heard of.  And many of those women didn’t come home again. 

Well at that request all of us madams balked.  Because we refused, we were all arrested, stripped of all our money and property, our faces spread all over the media so we couldn’t escape or get a job anywhere.  Then we were asked that question again if we’d cooperate.  If you look at my clipping at www.hightechmadam.com you’ll see the headline I was arrested for supposedly running a brothel. 

Only why would I have a “brothel” in a warehouse with high tech security and surveillance equipment next to the police station?  Well the reason is because it wasn’t a “brothel”, but what I later learned was the first safe house for sex trafficking victims in the USA.  Once some very high level traffickers who were connected up to the LAPD, realized I was hiding out victims there for safety, and they couldn’t get in – I was framed.  They set me up with a “fake victim” asking me for help to stash her somewhere safe, and when I did, I got arrested and charged with pimping.  The whole thing was to get me to be compliant, as it was with the other madams as well. 

If you cross-check you’ll also see all the other madams arrested that year made a movie that was like an inphomercial to try and recruit women to come to them completely glamourizing the industry.  You won’t find my movie.  Instead, you’ll see I waited until 1987 once I completely shook loose any possible statutes against me and I came out and announced our hotline.

My hotline was the first one in the country telling victims there was some place for them to call for help.  Sure I also offered anyone who for any reason wanted to get out of any situation involving the sex industry could call us for help – because we didn’t make “distinctions” between someone wanting out for this reason or another wanting out for another.  We couldn’t.  We were the ONLY hotline at the time for EVERYONE who wanted out for ANY reason.  Which is why we’ve probably clocked about five times more calls to our hotline than yours over the years.

My point being that your hotline is set up to where ONLY THE VICTIM can call you for help.  Sure you get “tips”.  But the problem is that by the very definition in my book anyway of what a true sex trafficking victim is – they CAN’T CALL YOU FOR HELP DIRECTLY.  When I was locked up in that crackhouse behind those iron doors do you think I could have gotten to a phone and called someone for help? 

Frankly, if I could get to a phone and call for help – the first person I’m calling is 911.  Only I didn’t in my day because they would hang up on us when we’d try to call for help.  Again, I know because I used to try and call 911 when I came across situations where I knew someone was being trafficked.  911 would tell me “call vice”.  I would try and explain that this person was not hooking for “choice” and they’d just laugh. 

Meaning the ONLY way we were going to get anything changed was to elevate the American consciousness that this was real.  Which is why starting in 1987 I embarked upon going on every talk show, news show, etc., that I could get myself booked on to talk about the subject and try and raise consciousness.  Only they didn’t have shows on “trafficking” back then – only “prostitution”.  So I’d have to use my notoriety as an ex-madam to get onto the show, and then I’d have to try and steer the conversation over to the subject of what’s now called “trafficking” to try and get the public to understand what we were saying. 

Geraldo believe it or not was actually very helpful.  He could see I was having trouble getting the public to really grasp and understand what we were trying to get them to understand, so his producer (who was his wife) sat down with me after my first show with them.  They suggested that people were just having such a hard time believing me that what I needed to do was bring on some survivors.  That was no easy talk to ask someone to go on national TV believe me – but the producers assured us they would really work with us.  Thanks to CC, (his producer), we did three more shows where we brought on survivor after survivor who was someone we’d rescued out of a different type of trafficking situation who would tell their stories.  It was actually because of those Geraldo shows I started getting calls from some Attorney General’s interested in talking to me about what became the people who wrote and passed the Trafficking Act of 2000. 

But you see Lara, many real, very real, trafficking victims CAN’T call your hotline for one reason or another.  So you probably aren’t aware of how exactly they’re being trafficked for that reason.  For example, did you know Jeane Palfrey, the DC Madam, was a trafficking victim?  I don’t mean she had a pimp – I mean someone who was forced by a network of organized traffickers into doing what she was doing.

Remember those CIA men I was telling you about that asked us madams to do something we didn’t want to do one year?  We had no “proof”.  We had no way to record calls coming into our phones back then for one thing.  Even if we did – who would have believed us back then?  Iran Contra wasn’t even considered “validated” until Gary Webb broke the story years and years after the fact.  It was only even hinted at before then and even then ignored. 

If you watch “New Jack City” you see Ice T joking about how “cocaine didn’t come from America” because he knew.  I mean what do you think the LA Riots were all about really?  The riots were because a whole group of people KNEW that they were being blamed for those drugs by the media and the cops when in reality they were the scapegoat.  With no internet and no free press, the riots were the only way they could even attempt to express that kind of frustration this community was feeling.  Ice T, being an old pimp from the day, knew very good and well that those drugs weren’t smuggled into the country in that large of a quantity in someone’s suitcase.

This is one reason why Larry Flynt had offered $1,000,000 reward to anyone who could PROVE this sort of thing – because many people knew about these things but PROVING it was a whole other matter.  Only Jeane could.  You see the CIA had been coming to her every six months and debriefing her, also instructing her in what they wanted her to do for their own purposes, and using her to get what they wanted.  Only they came to her one day with the same request they’d come to me and the others with in 1984 – and she also refused.  She also decided she wanted to just quit the whole thing entirely and retire in Germany.  So she went to go get on a plane and leave the country and retire – and she was busted at the airport.  They took everything from her too hoping she wouldn’t be able to hire a  good attorney. 

But she decided she was going to reveal that it was the CIA who had been forcing her to be a madam and she had PROOF.  She had phone logs – something none of us “old school” madams didn’t have.  We all warned her to keep her mouth shut, but she was determined to get that million dollars prize money and to also reveal to the public that she too was being “forced” and that trafficking wasn’t just about street level prostitution.  That the focus on street pimps was very one sighted and short sighted actually – that true trafficking went very high up.  Just like bootlegging was back in the day with Al Capone also went to high places. 

Now let me ask you something – do you think Jeane would have called your hotline?  What would you have done for her?  The case against her as a madam was being manufactured to try and force her into silence.   They even told her repeatedly they’d basically drop the case if she’d “shut up” and “stop talking about the names in her book”.  Her face was plastered all over the media.  What would you have done for her?  Put her in a shelter?  Send a cop out to make a report?  I mean seriously – what would you have done for her?

NOTHING. 

Not in her mind anyway.  I tried to help her as best as I could.  I tried to urge her to shut up and back down.  She didn’t want to.  I offered to help her change her looks, get a new identity and escape to Canada.  She refused.  Finally all I could do was offer her empathic emotional support – something your hotline can’t offer. 

What about the type of victims we’ve been encountering since 2009?  Because after Jeane’s death, trafficking went high tech.  We started hearing reports of victims who are tracked with GPS everywhere they go.  Every phone call they make gets reported back to the pimp instantly.  I know because we had to start creating ways for victims to call us for help without alerting the pimp they were calling us for help.  You have your phone number broadcast on billboards.  I’m sure if it comes up on their phones it’s either blocked automatically, or it will alert the pimp they’re calling you. 

Then guess what?  Then they’ll lose the phone completely or worse.  I know because I’ve also been on the other end of calling for help and the pimp finding out about it.  They either take the phone from you entirely, or make sure you never try that move again.  That or they escalate their surveillance of you or make sure you’re never left alone again.

We started getting victims who were literally under surveillance on cameras broadcast back to the pimp 24/7.  So the pimp knows where they go in their car that has a GPS on it.  They know who they’re talking to on skype because all the calls are sent back to them on their computer.  Every key stroke they type is sent back to the pimp.  So tell me – how would they contact you for help at your hotline in this circumstance?  Knowing that their family who may be back in China would be murdered before you could even dispatch someone to them to help?

Again, I know about this because we’ve had to get creative about how to get help to that type of victim since 2009.  These are women who don’t have a gun to their heads.  They don’t need to have a gun to their heads.  But they exist Lara and they can’t call you directly for help by calling your hotline themselves as you’re set up to take.  So I don’t know if you know about these types of victims.  But they’re real and they exist. 

And for your information, there ARE traffickers who roam around and look for kids to kidnap right out of stores.  I don’t know if they’re “traffickers” in the classic sense – but I know they’re real.  I know because a gang of men were touring around LA when I was pregnant who would get into elevators with women, mace them when the doors closed, grab their babies, and then flee with the babies.  It was so real that the news had to put out alerts to women to be careful getting into elevators back then.  I know I also got into some elevators back then with some strange looking dudes – but I took the precaution of dying my baby to me with a rope so that if I were to be maced I’d still be able to hold onto her. 

But that didn’t stop a woman from trying to grab her right out of her stroller in the mall.  Cute blond babies are a premium Lara.  One day I was in the mall and a woman literally reached down and tried to take my baby right out of her stroller.  Again, being careful I would tie her into the stroller with rope so you couldn’t just unhook her like that.  The woman struggled with the rope, gave up and rang off.  So if I hadn’t of tired her into the stroller that day, she might have been stolen from me in a mall. 

Do they traffick the kids they steal?  Who knows.  But I do know that yes sometimes kids are targeted in public places and their kids are taken.  I can’t believe you’d say such a thing to that woman when kids are taken right out of stores and malls every day in this country.  I mean do you read the news?  But you in your whole five years of managing the hotline there suddenly you think you know about every type of sex trafficking there is? 

You’re wrong and like many people at Polaris you think you’re the “expert” in a subject you know only a small fraction of. 

But you clearly are in a position to have a much more focal platform about your opinions than we are because the people I work with aren’t acknowledged by anyone over there as even existing.  So it would just be nice if you would use that platform to raise more awareness about what is really going on out here rather than so much of your personal viewpoints.  If you did, we might be able to really save a lot more of those who really need the saving. 

Personally I think anyone who can call you can call 911 and therefore you aren’t even scratching the surface to get at those who need the help the most.  To me and my personal experience, the whole point is those who are truly trapped are those who can’t lift up a phone and call for help directly.  I mean I don’t see the point of selling wheelchairs to people who can walk.  But I guess you do but I would appreciate it if you in the process of that wouldn’t invalidate other people’s experiences.  We’re having a hard enough time getting the word out about what real sex trafficking is anymore without having to add your brick on the load.

Sincerely,

Jody Williams

PS – I personally would like to add that I found your advice in the article to be completely out of touch with reality.  You suggested people “get in touch with special interest groups” if they were interested in the subject of sex trafficking. 

Only that advice seems completely out of touch with the fact that very real pimps and even organized sex traffickers are part of some of these groups.  As well as some of these groups have been set up purely as informational gathering exercises for law enforcement, who then input the information they gather into a subscription based service.  Some are set up to “destroy the competition” by the legalized brothel industry, while others are there to recruit. 

Let’s not forget the YEARS that Joohon David Lee was simultaneously part of Homeland Security, ICE and the human trafficking task forces for California and Nevada ALL WHILE TRAFFICKING WOMEN PERSONALLY from China and then Korea before finally getting arrested for bribery.  Not sex trafficking mind you because he did his sex trafficking on company time and the company dime so he enjoys immunity for his actions.   A man who falsely accused a completely innocent family and destroyed their lives in the process.

Or how about we talk about the Celeste Guap case where the men heading up the local sex trafficking task force in her region were not only trafficking her, having forced sex with her while a juvenile, also while threatening her mother’s career as a 911 operator, and while telling her when to AVOID specific outreach campaigns of theirs.  Campaigns they were clearly designing NOT TO WORK because they didn’t want their actions to be uncovered. 

We can talk about Chris Baughman who was sleeping with the district attorney, AND the witnesses who were testifying against the men he was taking all the press in for supposedly “fighting sex trafficking’, all while hanging out socially with Molly Mall – one of the most notorious pimps in the country.  Meaning the men he was arresting was Molly’s COMPETITION. 

Or are you suggesting they frequent events like Samoly Mam used to hold where she was supposedly “educating” the public on sex trafficking while fleecing the public’s pockets?  Or William Hillar who was not only giving the public false information, but was also fleecing the public’s pockets?  For which he did go to jail because it’s against the law to pretend to be a veteran while raising money. 

Because I have to tell you Lara, what each one of these phony and frauds have in common is that we have been actively BLOCKED from doing our REAL outreach to REAL victims.  In fact, we made a list of every project, group, task force, safe house, program, etc., that’s openly blocked our group from being involved over the years – and so far we’re going 100/100 that each on of them has turned out to either be a complete fraud, or they were actively engaging in sex trafficking. 

Or maybe you don’t remember anything about the “largest sex trafficking hoax” that went down in Tennessee.  http://reason.com/blog/2016/03/04/the-somali-sex-slave-ring-that-wasnt  Only I do remember because on each one of these “phony” cases, we were aggressively shunned, blocked, banned, ostracized, excluded, and outright attacked when we tried to shine light on these situations AND redirect resources and attention to REAL CASES we were dealing with at the same time. 

To advise real sex trafficking victims to go out and make contact with groups that might send information on them right back to their traffickers as to their current location is also completely reckless.  Because in many of the cases we’ve worked on, many of the victims don’t know even the tip of the iceberg about just how far the operation as a whole reaches.  It’s one of the reasons why we had to go to the lengths of relocating some of the victims we worked with clear to tiny rural communities in the Midwest.  Because unlike what you’re doing, we make maps of where specific rings are operating, and then relocate the victims we help rescue to areas where they don’t have any reach, informants, or ways to find out where they’ve gone.  But then again maybe that’s why to date we’re the only group I’m aware of anyway who has relocated victims away from the legalized brothels who haven’t been found to date. 

Something I don’t think Polaris has done.  You know why?  Because you ask the victims to “call you directly for help”.  Only the SECOND  they were to call you from the brothels, or their cell phones for that matter, the owners would know about that call immediately.  That’s why I doubt you’ve ever received a call from one of them inside the legal brothels asking for help – yet we have through outreach projects we’ve set up so that if they need help they can SAFELY  ask for that help without fear of retaliation or discovery. 

Victims who according to your way of thinking don’t exist because they “don’t call you” Lara.  But just because they can’t call you doesn’t mean they don’t exist.  I can assure you that after having spoken to probably well over 1,000,000 men and women in the sex industry over about 40 years now of my life – I can assure you there are many many many different forms and versions of sex trafficking, as well as pimping. 

As technology grows, so too does the various ways of sex trafficking also.  So there’s even new forms being invented as we speak.  I know because over the years we’ve heard of new types of cases coming in, and we’ve had to develop new ways of addressing help to those new victims.  But you’re not going to be able to help any victims if you invalidate their experiences by claiming that “that doesn’t exist” as you did in your article. 

Is this letter long?  Yes it is.  But it’s because I’m taking the voices of many of our members who contacted me about your letter and I’m trying to pass onto you’re their sentiments.  Unlike you, I don’t believe my experience is the “end all be all” of knowledge and/or experience within this realm.  Yes I’ve personally experienced, and witnessed, many different types of coercion, sex trafficking, pimping, slavery, etc.  But I’ve also heard stories from our members of experiences I haven’t personally experienced.  That doesn’t mean I tell them their experience “isn’t real”. 

Nor would I recklessly encourage them to reach out to some of these groups after what I’ve seen they really are.  Telling me I think you’re in a bit of an ivory tower Lara. 

Anyway, just letting you know how some of us feel about your article. 



Monday, February 27, 2017

POLARIS FORUM AND GIVING UP YOUR 5TH AMENDMENT RIGHTS

Has everyone forgot a little detail called the 5th amendment in this country?  

First of all, prostitution in the USA everywhere but a few tiny counties in Nevada is ILLEGAL.  Forced or not, many of the things sex trafficking victims are forced to do are ILLEGAL.  Even if it's a matter of unreported earnings to the IRS - we're still talking a possible criminal charge here could be over one's head.

Now unless that survivor has gone completely through the legal system and it's been determined by their lawyers there aren't any possible ways they can have a case come up on them in the future, or that they may be called upon to become an "informant" in an ongoing case, there are good sound solid reasons why a survivor would want to remain "anonymous" about who they are and what they've experienced.

Do I have to remind people what happened to Celeste Guap?  She wasn't supposedly a "criminal" but a "victim".  She spoke up in the media about being a survivor and next thing she knows she's being shuttled off to a treatment center in Florida SUPPOSEDLY to "help" her.  Only next thing she knows there's a guard there claiming she was assaulted and sexually approached by Celeste and she's carted off on a $300,000 bail.  During the time she was being held, because who has $300,000 bail, the authorities say she was "offered a deal".  Anyone who has been in her shoes knows what that means - it means drop your case against the 30 plus cops who sexually raped you while a minor, and who sexually trafficked you while cops and even Chief of Police, or we'll throw you in jail!  

Celeste Guap illustrates the dangers of coming forward about being a survivor without having FIRST had proper legal council.  Hence one of the very reasons why we formed our program as www.sexworkersanonymous.com

It's why we don't ask you your name when you call our hotline, and we'll even tell you NOT to tell us your name.  Unlike Polaris, we don't collect your IP address either which is way more revealing than a name by the way.

Coming forward openly as a survivor REQUIRES you understand your 5th amendment rights before doing so.  Even if you haven't committed one crime unanswered for in the past - if you even know people the police want to build a case upon you're in danger of issues as Celeste Guap's case illustrates beautifully.  She steps up to reveal she's a victim without having had proper legal council first and look at what happened to her!  This doesn't even TOUCH upon if you might have something to say someone is worried you MIGHT say.  I say this because I spent the first year after I was first arrested dodging bullets from people who were worried about what I MIGHT  say to the cops despite my assurances I wasn't going to say anything.  Look at Jeane Palfrey for example who I believe was murdered by people who didn't want their names revealed during the ethics hearing she was going to testify at.

I for example did not appear on any media until I had consulted with an attorney licensed in the state I was in who advised me that any statutes on anything I was involved with had tolled, and that I could not be compelled by virtue of being on probation, or any thing else hanging over my head law enforcement used to try and get me to become an informant back in my day.

I had the LAPD arrest my mother and threaten me with charging her, and even possibly charging my grandmother, with felony pimping if I did not agree to "snitch" on other people as an informant to build their cases for them.  In my case, my mother said to the prosecutor "we're not snitches" and we took our lumps.  But that was our decision to make.  The point remains that I have experienced law enforcement manufacturing crazy accusations against me to try and force me to become an informant for them.

I say "crazy" because the case they laid on my mother was based on a photograph of me handing her a $20 bill for a bucket of KFC chicken.  Under the law it does state the "receipt of money from a prostitute" constitutes a felony pimping charge.  Yes it would have had to have been proved I was a prostitute.  But over the years I've seen this is a very common tactic of law enforcement - to charge, or threaten to charge, one's family members with a crime in order to compel you do become an informant for them, or plead guilty to something yourself.

Now with my mom, to plead not guilty would mean I'd still be looking at a very expensive case where I'd have to hire an attorney to defend her, my grandmother (who was 70 at the time) and myself.  As it was the government took everything I owned away from me and then said I had to "prove where I got the money from" to buy those items before they'd give anything back.  Since most of everything was gifts I had no way of proving anything without dragging other people into the equation which was further what the cops wanted - to know information on who was providing me with such expensive gifts.  All done to try and force me to become an "informant" for them.

NOW NOWHERE in this invitation do I see any caution about being careful to protect one's 5th amendment rights to "not incriminate themselves" in any fashion but I do see that it's asking for "only survivors" to step up to the plate here.  The lack of acknowledgement that one needs to be sure in doing so they are not incriminating themselves in some fashion not even being an issue in this invitation tells me there's either one or both of a serious problem here - either the fact this isn't being run by survivors who would understand this is an issue OR the fact they are partners with people actively seeking information such as Palantir Technologies, Google, and Merck who are "partners" now with Polaris is a deliberate move here.

So which is it Polaris?  Why is there no warning or caution here about anything anyone who might participate in this forum being advised to consult with an attorney before doing such a forum to ensure they aren't going to say something which could incriminate them for past actions?  Was this a deliberate omission or just you don't have a friggin clue what being a survivor in America truly means?

You're asking survivors to risk incarceration, legal prosecution, even possibly someone deciding they're a risk and ordering a contract out on them by asking them to identify as a survivor at this forum.  I see no cautions about anything in this invitation about the dangers of identifying with you as a survivor.  Not even just with you - but even over phone and internet lines which can be hacked by traffickers targeting your servers.

So why is that Polaris?


National Human Trafficking Hotline

Azurdee,
The National Human Trafficking Hotline is first and foremost a survivor hotline -- it belongs to survivors and the community-at-large that it seeks to serve. It is important, therefore, that survivor voices, needs, concerns, expertise, and values always be at the heart of our work. 
In 2017, our commitment to engage, include, and empower survivors in our work will include quarterly open forums for survivors to call in, ask questions, give suggestions, and share feedback about the Hotline.
Survivor input will drive the overall content and agenda of these calls moving forward, but the first call will focus on giving an overview of the National Human Trafficking Hotline, its operations and protocols, its current capacity and constraints, an introduction to our staff and the training they receive, and then we will open the floor to share questions and feedback on these topics. Questions can be submitted in advance by replying to this email or through the GoTo Meeting chat function during the call. Any question that we do not have time to answer will be answered in a follow up email.
The first of these conference calls will take place on March 7, 2017 at 3:30 p.m. EST. ALL survivors are welcome and encouraged to participate, so please spread the word throughout your networks. We ask that only survivors of human trafficking participate in the call.
Please RSVP to this invite no later than March 3, 2017 at 12:00 p.m. EST.
We greatly look forward to hearing from all of you.
Sincerely,
Lara Powers and the National Human Trafficking Hotline staff
This publication was made possible in part through Grant Number 90ZV0102 from the Office on Trafficking in Persons, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Office on Trafficking in Persons, Administration for Children and Families, or HHS.
  
National Human Trafficking Hotline
24 Hour National Hotline: 1-888-373-7888

To ensure future delivery of Hotline e-mails, please add
help@humantraffickinghotline.org to your Address Book or Safe Sender List.

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