|Posted by sexworkrecovery on February 13, 2013 at 1:35 PM||comments (0)|
|Posted by sexworkrecovery on February 13, 2013 at 1:35 PM||comments (0)|
|Posted by sexworkrecovery on February 13, 2013 at 1:30 PM||comments (0)|
|Posted by sexworkrecovery on February 13, 2013 at 1:25 PM||comments (0)|
This member who was a victim of trafficking in Nevada, and in the legal brothels here, went to the legislature floor on Monday with a letter from TAPS outlining how we've been treated here the last few years, and suggestions on how to help victims. In this letter we charged that people are fraudulently claiming that "no services exist" for Nevada victims in an attempt to "raise money" for their groups which are not going to provide direct services to trafficking victims as intended. If you'd like to see this letter - please email us at [email protected] - It's quite long! She let herself be known to everyone there and said she heard our letter read through by all there. However, when she approached them about what she experienced, and our suggestions being done to help future victims - she said no one would give her a direct answer.
|Posted by sexworkrecovery on January 23, 2013 at 6:10 PM||comments (0)|
People have been asking us why we do what we do - especially when there's all these new "task forces" and "programs" to help trafficking victims. There's a lot of reasons.
Let's take one of those reasons. Below is a link to a story about three people who have been arrested for pimping a 15 year old girl into street prostitution. One of the pimps was the young girl's counselor. Check this out http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/San-Bernardino-County-Family-Counselor-Arrested-on-Suspicion-of-Child-Prostitution-179582421.html
The movie “The Departed” is about a real life Irish mobster played by Jack Nicholson. One of the things he used to do that was shown in this movie was how he would befriend a young kid in the neighborhood in need of a father figure. He'd give them gifts, girls, booze, and put a few of them through college.
In return, Whitney Bulgar (the real life mobster the character was based upon) would get his foothold into all sorts of places that allowed him to carry out his criminal activities like it was a 9-5 job. He had snitches in the police department, the FBI, down at the docks – and wherever else he needed someone to help him carry out his criminal activities.
This is nothing new. One of the reasons we experienced the economic crisis that our country is barely just now recovering from is because many of the “old school” Italian mobsters only “appeared” to go legit when the Feds started cracking down hard on them. They were putting their kids through colleges – sure. But it was to get their boys into Wall Street, the mortgage industry, hedge funds, insurance and the banking industry. I myself witnessed one old school mobster who put his son through college and then put up all the financing to help his son open his own bank. During the day this bank was a “real” bank. But when it was closed – this bank used to crank out phony cashier's checks, launder drug money, and sell their customers' credit information to ID thieves.
When I was in the sex business – I saw the way the pimps operated. I don't mean in the way you saw them in “Taxi Driver” with Jodie Foster where you're just seeing a pimp hustle out a few young girls to some wealthy businessmen. I mean the way they're get college degrees so they could go out and get jobs working as counselors or social workers with young girls like this poor 15 year old in this news story. What a perfect “cover” to if anyone were to accuse them of being a pimp? They're not a pimp – because they're employed as a social worker or a counselor. Pimps don't have college degrees, and work as counselors, therapists and social workers during the day right?
Wrong. They do. If they don't – they might pay someone to help them gain access to these male or female victims. One of the members who used to come to our West Hollywood meetings regularly told us of how he ran away from home because his father was letting the neighbor pimp him out. When he was found by the police – they turned him over to the social worker. The pimp then paid the social worker $1500 to “return” him – and tell the authorities that he'd just “run off”. So that he could continue to pimp him, but not have anyone come to the house to rescue him – the story about “running off” from the social worker was also to cover his tracks as he forced the kid to go with him to New York to pimp him there where he didn't know anyone or have anywhere to run.
Who do you turn to for help when your pimp is the “system”? You might think the child could simply call a police officer and report they're being pimped that way. Not if the pimp has convinced the child the police are “in his back pocket” - or as is true sadly in some cases the police might actually be involved with helping the traffickers.
One of the reasons I moved here to Vegas was because of a trafficking ring that was started by an ex-corrections officer. This woman had been a corrections officer at the juvenile detention center for 12 years when she had a work related accident. Evidently one of the inmates jumped her from behind. She sustained severe work related injuries. When she tried to file a workmans comp claim – they denied her.
She had to eat – and she was now unemployed and had been denied her workers comp claim. With no money and not being able to get a “regular” job – she did know a local madam who ran a bondage and discipline parlor who had been telling her if she “ever wanted to make some money” she could really “use some fresh young meat” to come work for her.
Still being friends with other corrections officers, social workers, marshals, and police officers – she was able to have regular reports made to her whenever a “prime candidate” came into the local detention center. She was also able to get their picture, name, home address, phone, and find out her release date. Through her connections – she was able to visit the young girl being targeted and make her an offer that included sometimes even getting her an early release by having strings pulled. She'd further make the offer more juicy by showing the girl that she could make the probation term shorter – or even go away entirely through her connections. Also through her connections – she could make sure that she would either never be arrested while she was working under her, or if she did get arrested – she'd have her released with the charges dropped faster than a bondsman could get her out.
One might say such a young girl might be enticed into going to work for this madam by being offered not only the money – but also the protection and connections she'd be afforded by working under her. On the other hand – how could you say “no” to such an offer? The same people that are showing you they can open all these doors to let you out early, get your probation dropped, and even make sure you don't get arrested for prostitution while you work “under' them – are the very same people who can make up a case against you that's so airtight they'd lock you up for life and throw away the key. Worse – these cops could shoot you and claim you were “resisting arrest” and who's going to question them if you're the young girl with a record for drugs and prostitution?
How do you run from someone like this? They can make one phone call by saying they're your “therapist” or your “social worker” or your “probation officer” and find out where you've run off to. I've witnessed that too. I've seen young girls run off to domestic violence shelters for example (you have to realize up until only a few short years ago there was only one residential program in existence for adult and teen prostitutes that specified they were designed for prostitutes) – and I've seen therapists, social workers, and even police be able to make a few phone calls and within five minutes find out exactly where this victim was. That goes for adults as well as minors. I've seen cops be able to get a list of all of the shelters in the area when a victim has gone awol from the pimp – and within a few phone calls be able to locate that victim by saying they're trying to find the victim in order to help because “they have new information about the case”. Then a short time after that – the pimp drives up in front of the shelter. Shelters that have not been set up specifically designed to help trafficking victims – are not equipped to handle a situation when a pimp has shown up at their door with a gun demanding their “bitch be given to them in two minutes or else”. Because they were not equipped, or armed, nor prepared for such a confrontation – they've had no choice but to “return” the victim.
Again I know this because I've seen it – not just heard some rumor or story. I got a call one time from a very well known teen runaway shelter in NY asking me for help. They had teen prostitutes that had run away from this very violent pimp to this shelter for help. A few hours later – the pimp shows up with a few friends and a few assault weapons demanding “his property be returned to him”. Not being equipped to deal with this – and also because to say no would have meant more people would have been harmed – the shelters had no choice but to let him have the kids back.
Why not call the police? In this situation they told me they didn't want to call the police because they were afraid if word got out to the public, and especially their donors, that they could wind up losing their funding if people discovered that instead of protecting these kids – they had instead returned the kids to the pimp out of fear he'd kill one of the staff, or the other teens there.
Because they called me for help – I was able to help them design a system where the prostitutes who were coming to them for help were put into a separate location with a completely different type of security set up.
Now since pimps are notorious (among people who know their ways and methods) – I warned them that this local pimp would send in a “ringer” to try and find out where the new shelter for the prostitutes who were coming to them was so that if a real kid ran again in the future – that he'd know where they'd run to in order to show up armed to retrieve them again like he had done with the previous location.
They didn't listen to my warning about the “ringer” and wound up disclosing the location to the ringer the pimp did send in. So when the real prostitutes did run again – sure enough the pimp showed up armed at the new location. It was horrible – but at least after this the shelter listened to my suggestion about how to set up the system so that a “ringer” would not be able to come in and find the new location in the future.
Because that's another way pimps will find out information about where their “property” has run off to. I normally try and travel with victims as they're being transported from where they left the pimp – to a new safe location. In this one case where I was in Nebraska at the time – and the young girl was in Los Angeles – a local shelter had rejected her once they found out a pimp was after her. Rather than holding her until I could come and pick her up – they simply put her on a bus. When they put her on the bus – they didn't check her for drugs. She had them.
She was also taking these illegal drugs to medicate herself from the anxiety of having just witnessed her pimp murder another one of the prostitutes that he seemed to do once a month to “keep order”. She was so upset so didn't realize she kept taking pill after pill – until she passed out on the bus somewhere around Wyoming. So they take her to the local hospital to get her stomach pumped. Thinking she'd deliberately tried suicide – the hospital insisted on putting her on a 72 hour hold for observation.
I had warned the hospital to not let anyone, and I meant anyone, near her in the hospital. They assured me that “only other suicides” could be in the suicide ward. I insisted that “no one” be allowed near her anyway. They thought I was being crazy telling them that some pimp was going to send someone into the suicide ward in Wyoming to try and drag her out of there to go back to a pimp in Los Angeles – until just six hours later that's exactly what happened.
The LA pimp had contacted another pimp in the area through the “network”. Word had spread pretty fast about the pretty young girl who'd overdosed on the greyhound in Wyoming. This local pimp had gotten one of his girls to actually slash her wrists up with some broken beer bottles bad enough to where they admitted her into this “suicides only” ward to a bed right next to the victim we were trying to help. This girl with fresh bandages on her wrists – then lets the victim know that her pimp is right outside the hospital as they're speaking – and that her “man” will arrive before her 72 hour hold is up so he'll be waiting right outside the hospital for her to come out. That she had better not think about going anywhere but into his car when she's released – or she'll not only be found sooner or later – but that this poor girl with the slashed wrists will also “pay” if she doesn't “deliver” this woman back to the pimp upon her release.
We might never have even known about the threats had not the hospital at the time been advanced enough to have cameras on all of the wards and beds at the time. The staff overheard the threats – and realized my warnings hadn't been “paranoid ramblings”. They had contacted the local police who then told them that as long as the pimp was parked on the public grounds side of the hospital, and wasn't breaking any crimes, that there was nothing they could do to make him not be right in front of the hospital when she was scheduled for release for either of these women.
Being confronted with the fact I was telling the truth that these pimps will even slash up another victim to send them into a suicide ward of a hospital in order to get at another victim they're trying to retrieve who has just tried to run - they did realize they were not equipped to deal with this situation at all and asked me for what to do next. I'm not going to go into what we did to get her out of there safely here, and the other woman too (I do talk about it in my book though “Diary of a Sex Trafficking Crusader” - but we did get both women out of the situation safely. Both are now happily recovered from the sex industry as well.
Pedophiles love to molest children. In order to get at children – they often take jobs or volunteer positions where they can get access to children. More than just getting access to them – they also create a disguise that appears “harmless” so parents, teachers and other adults won't suspect them of doing anything wrong. Besides being “harmless” in appearance – they also try and create a protective wall of “respectability” so that even if a child were to accuse them of a crime – then no one would believe this person would “ever do such a thing”. In combination with all of these factors – they also try to find ways they can be alone with the child they're after.
A classic way such a pedophile would go after his “drug of choice” is to be a youth pastor. First of all, this job puts him in direct contact with a lot of youth in such a way that no one would question why this grown man is surrounded by children. By being a pastor – he now is in a position of “respect” so no one would believe this “man of God” would harm an innocent child. As part of his job as a youth pastor – he'll organize weekend retreats in the mountains. This way he gets the kids away from everyone and all to himself for days at a time. If anyone were to mention they saw him taking Johnny off into the mountains by himself for a few hours – he can always say it was because the child wanted to confide in him about problems at home and he was just letting the child “vent” and “lean on his shoulder” as a “good pastor would do”.
We as a society have become aware of the pedophiles tactics. This is why we do background screenings now routinely when we're hiring anyone to work or volunteer to work around children. It's why whenever now “youth pastors” want to take away a bunch of young boys to the mountains for a few days – we ask they take another adult with them and equip the children with cell phones they can use to call for help if anything were to happen that made them feel uncomfortable.
As a society – we've only recently even begun to accept that sex trafficking exists in the first place. Even now, there's some areas of the US where the politicians still don't believe that prostitutes are a victim – and are calling for them to still continue to be treated as criminals instead of being offered any rehabilitation services.
Out of the cities that are progressive enough to have started task forces, special courts, and open special shelters for trafficking victims – do you know that the vast majority of these are less than five years old? The people who staff these programs are not survivors themselves. The training they've received consists of a few hours of training prepared by the Dept. of Justice that was put together based on what investigators know about sex trafficking based on some arrests. Even some of the training classes don't even include specialized training in how to effectively understand and help trafficking victims.
We contacted the first alternative sentencing program in one state and asked them about their founder. Granted, their founder did used to run a brothel. She only had two years out of sex work and clean from drugs however. When we asked her how much experience she had with helping others to get out of sex work, find recovery, to get clean from drugs if they were using, and also to treat the many mental health disorders most victims tend to struggle with – she reported that she had not worked with anyone other than herself but she had taken a “few classes” offered her by the local university.
Since we know of no university at the moment who is offering any programs, degrees, certificates, or even courses of study into prostitution, sex work, sex trafficking, nor recovery programs for sex trafficking victims specifically – we asked her what classes she had taken before opening this program.
Her training had consisted of two hours of addiction counseling for drug and alcohol abuse, one hour about mental health issues, and two hours of “health” issues such as HIV/AIDS, STD's, and other health issues common to prostitutes coming into treatment. That was it before this city turned over all of the prostitutes coming into the system who were supposed to be coming to her program to be given all of the treatment and tools they would need in order to recover from sex work, and any trafficking they might have experienced.
The rationale is that this was the same training that had been given to the people who had opened up the first drug court in that town. There's one big problem with this rationale right off the top. Any addict coming into that town and court for help – is going to be referred to the local Narcotics Anonymous meetings. They will also be given the contact information for local addictions counselors they can consult with – some free and some that insurance will pay for. The people staffing the drug court program were also in recovery themselves – with sponsors helping them who were in recovery longer than them. Everyone in this drug program had probably also read a Narcotics Anonymous Basic Text, as well as worked at least a few of the NA Steps. While going to the local NA meetings that were part of the drug court's program – they would also be meeting other recovering addicts that would be helping them to form a new social network. That's important because in early recovery you're often having to leave your whole social network as you stay away from “people, places and things” that could lead you back to a relapse.
We also run Sex Workers Anonymous. Besides the program – we have the SWA Recovery Guide, Step Working Guide (to guide one through the steps), and “Carrying the Message” which is our workbook we put together on how to work with helping others to get through early recovery that was developed after working with this community for 15 years before writing it. As well as having the Recovery Guide – we also have a network of recovering members we put in contact with each other through meetings that are either done locally, or via webcam or telephone. This provides one seeking recovery with a social network of others who are in recovery – and therefore not likely to lead one back into a relapse, or a trap that will drag them kicking and screaming back into sex work.
When we asked her if she was going to provide their clients with a Recovery Guide, the Step Working Guide, and give them information on how to contact us so we could get them a sponsor and into a meeting as well as give the staff of her program our “Carrying the Message” book about how to help others find recovery in this community – we were rebuffed as it being “unnecessary”. She insisted she “had everything under control”. When we offered to come up to where she was and donate a “inservice” to provide the staff of this program the training they would need in order to not only be effective at this work – but also so they wouldn't “burn out” from this work as we have seen is extremely common within the first two years of people selecting this type of community to work with on either a paid or volunteer basis – she refused the offer. When we asked that she take a poll of her staff, and the clients – to see if they wanted the materials and trainings we were offering to donate – she again refused.
Within 18 months of this refusal – she was sentenced to two years in prison. Because she had refused to give her staff, or the clients, any “back-up” support by giving them our contact information so we could continue to offer them support for their recovery – when word spread about her prison sentence – the whole program folded. Since she was the only one who kept the clients' contact information – and she's in prison now – we can't contact her clients to offer them any ongoing support now that her program has folded.
Evidently her resistance to our offering to help her work on her issues more, so she could also be able to offer “more” to her clients, and maintain the strength it takes to run such a program for this challenging of a community – is not uncommon for one thing. We've seen more than one program that was staffed, founded, or ran by a survivor that had less than five years of recovery – who hadn't developed enough strength of their own, nor a support system to help them through, the strain that working with this community can bring. By refusing to get the training and support she should have gotten from someone like us that was being offered to her – she was not only short-changing her own recovery – but she was also robbing the people she was trying to serve of receiving the highest quality of care they could have received.
Also by not accepting any help from more experienced survivors in such a huge endeavor – she not only cut herself off from growth that could have helped her own recovery be stronger to have not fell into what she fell into that led her into that prison sentence – but she could have had enough outside support from other survivors that had she gone to prison anyway – the help would not have been interrupted. We would have had other survivors that just would have stepped into her position – and then everything would have been going on business as usual.
There are a lot of reasons why someone would think that after only two years of their own personal recovery and survival – that they would have the skills necessary to be able to build a program that would be successful for countless others who would be coming to her through an alternative sentencing program. One of those reasons is the belief that this is a very simple problem with very simple solutions.
Many programs I've spoken to over the years think that all you have to do is to get the victim away from the pimp first of all. Then you get them shelter. Drug treatment for 90 days if they're using. Job training if they're in need of a job. Maybe counseling once a week. Maybe in some cases – a psychiatrist to give them some pills monthly. Voila! They think that's all it takes – and you have someone who is “cured” never to return again to sex work. They believe it's all that simple – and because it's that simple – why should they bother with any specialized training, education, materials, meetings, etc.?
That's all the drug addicts and alcoholics need – so why should this be any different right? First of all – this is the same type of thinking that went on when people were really uneducated about domestic violence. Mostly because most victims weren't coming forward to tell the truth about their experiences. So not that long ago – people used to think if you were a domestic violence victim all you had to do was call 911, and the police would come and rescue you, and the problem was solved.
So it's basic lack of education really about what sex trafficking is, how it works, as well as who the victims are, who the traffickers are, as well as what goes into the whole recovery process for these victims to become survivors and empowered – that goes into a lot of professionals and programs being like my friend here who thought she had everything she needed to fight this issue with two years of recovery under her belt and a few hours of training from the local college.
Sadly, this isn't the only reason why many programs are resistant to learning about some of the things we'd like to educate them about – as well as working with a survivor based program like our own. Another reason for the resistance is because the system is full of people like this monster of a “counselor” in the link who was pimping a 15 year old female client.
There are predators who are targeting prostitutes, and sex workers (which means they could be in porn, stripping, phone sex, webcam, peep shows – there's lots of things in sex work besides sexual intercourse for money) – just as there are pedophiles out there targeting children.
Just as we have developed ways to screen out pedophiles – and look for “red flags” - I've heard so many cases after listening to story after story after story from the 350,000 people it's been estimated I've worked with since 1987 – that I know what the “red flags” are to look out for traffickers like this counselor. I'm not going to say “men” either as some of them are even harder to detect – because they can be women. I've got a radio interview up on our site where the male victim talks about his pimp who not only molested him as a child – but sold him to men – was a woman and his babysitter.
These predators “prey” upon the ignorance of those who work with trafficking victims. The last thing they want is for people around them to be educated about their ways which could blow their cover – and also they don't want anyone around them who could spot there's a “problem” for the same reason. Imagine if you were an alcoholic for example. The last thing you'd want is for another recovering alcoholic to come around and wise everyone up to the games you've been playing on them in the effort to get yourself a drink and hide it from your family, co-workers, friends, etc.
One of the things I'd like to point out is that this victim was put on the streets to prostitute. If a woman is pimped out of an internet website – she can average anywhere from $600 to $2000 an hour depending on the site and her looks. On the streets – the going price is more like $100 a shot. Why would he do this when he's losing money?
Back when the internet first started to come about and be used for customers to locate prostitutes – the general public used to think they were still on street corners and in massage parlors. The traffickers felt like it was the wild, wild west. They used to put photographs of their victims right on the internet – and they were making money hand over fist.
I used to locate victims a couple of different ways. One was to simply open up Craigstlist. I'd easily spot a girl that looked underage. Since I used to be a well known madam – I would simply call up the number on the ad. I'd tell them who I was – and they'd be impressed. I'd tell them I was thinking of opening a new escort service and with my “know how” and that girl's “looks” - we'd both make piles of money. But of course I'd have to interview the girl.
Not suspecting I was anything other than a madam looking for a new girl to staff a new service – they'd bring the girl over to meet with me. I'd tell them to go have a cup of coffee and let me speak to the girl alone for a few minutes. Then I'd assure the girl that I knew what was going on, that I knew she was probably being threatened, and then I'd ask her if she wanted to get away, get out, leave right then and there. If she did – I'd leave with her. Then the pimp would just come back to find an empty room and we'd be long gone.
Another way would be when mothers would call me up. They'd tell me their daughter was missing and they thought she might be in “such and such” city. I'd ask for a photo. Then I'd go over the ads on sites like Craigslist. Usually I'd get lucky and find them in 15 minutes or so. In cases where the missing girl or boy was a minor – I'd then contact someone I trusted from the local law enforcement. I'd want them there in case this was the actual missing child. I'd just tell the pimp the man was my security – and they'd never question it.
Then came the people who started the whole “let's ban Craigslist ad” movement. I used to tell them that all this was going to do was drive the prostitution out of the open, back underground, and also onto the streets – where it would be 1,000 times harder to then locate them – especially the young victims.
Before Craigslist, before the internet – prostitution existed. Craigslist didn't invent prostitution. It was there long before there even was the internet. But as soon as people started raising a ruckus, and as soon as the traffickers learned that Craigslist was now working with the police, and they started “verifying” phone numbers so they could turn over records to law enforcement – nothing happened to prostitution.
If anything – I'm seeing more young men and women being forced into prostitution then I ever saw back in my day. By driving them off the internet – the traffickers now put the girls onto the streets where the only way you can find a suspected victim now is to get in your car and drive out to the trek and go and look for the girls. The problem with this is that if I wanted to look for a victim in Los Angeles – and I'm in Vegas – I either have to fly out to Los Angeles and look for her where I think she might be – or I have to convince someone to go out and look for them in Los Angeles.
Which trust me – is next to impossible to do. If you ask just about any normal sane person – to get into their car at 2:00 in the morning and drive up and down the trek over and over again looking at every girl until you find the one you're seeking – which is usually in a very bad neighborhood – and is where the pimps are usually standing not far away watching them from their cars or behind a tree or a bush – so that if you pull up to the girl and start asking her questions that aren't “how much” or “do you do blah blah blah” because the pimp is listening most of the time – the answer is usually going to be “hell no”. If you reach them because most people are in bed before midnight – they'll tell you they “have to work”, or they “don't have that much gas” or they don't know anyone that would come with them and they “don't want to go alone”. So while I'm crazy enough to have gone out on foot myself looking for victims back before the internet was used by traffickers – the only thing that has come out of people trying to ban the escort ads on the internet has been that any experienced, or organized, trafficker will not advertise an underage, or trafficked, victim on the internet any more.
They also use the internet to find out where they are patrolling for victims – and move their operations to other areas. Most traffickers who have either/or underage or the “forced” victims that they're trying to keep under the radar these days move their victims every week literally from one end of the USA to the other. They are also keeping their victims working as far away from the task forces and other outreach people that might actually go out in the streets looking for the victims.
It's as easy as a phone call these days to join up with just about every task force you can find on the internet these days. One visit to these task force meetings – and the trafficker knows where the task force is looking for victims. Then they just operate somewhere else. Sometimes they don't even have to bother going to one of their meetings – some task forces advertise on their sites what their plans are and where.
No screening is done to attend these meetings. Once you attend these meetings – you'll also know what the people on the task force look like. In some cities you don't even have to attend their meetings to know what everyone on the task force looks like. I've been able to locate some task forces for some cities online. Then I've been able to find out the names of the people and the groups that are part of the task force online. What's even more interesting is that often you'll find photos of the people on these task forces online also.
Which means if you're a trafficker – and you've done some homework – the next time someone from the task force were to go out in their car looking for a suspected trafficking victim they could easily be spotted by the trafficker who would then just remove the victim from the streets and move on. The same would go for any attempted “under cover” operation.
There's a woman who has become quite famous for going out in Las Vegas to attempt to do outreach to prostitutes, trafficking victims, strippers, etc. She's been on A&E with her own reality show. Her face is all over her website, blog, Facebook, twitter, etc. Her name is Annie Lambert and you can catch videos of her dressing up like a showgirl and going out into the streets and casinos where she approaches suspected prostitutes to tell them she “loves them” and then tries to rescue them from prostitution and trafficking.
I could no more invite her to do one of our “undercover” operations than I could fly because her face is extremely recognizable. Anyone coming out of prostitution, porn, sex work, and especially someone who has escaped a pimp they're hiding out from – doesn't want anyone to know what they used to do and especially doesn't want their pimps to be able to find them.
I got a call one time from a woman who wanted to get away from a local pimp up here in Vegas. She said the reason why she called me is because she couldn't find a photo of my face anywhere. You won't find it on my site, my Facebook, my blog, not even my Linkedin page. On top of not finding a photo of me anywhere – you also won't be able to find out what church I go to. Nor will you be able to find out what events I'm going to be attending on certain days either. When I look up Annie Lambert – I also know that she regularly attends a specific church. On top of that – I got an announcement that she's going to be at the AVN this week.
Anyone who wants to find Annie “in person” can do so any Sunday by going to her church. They can find her at the AVN this week. They also have great photos of her they can take with them – and basically find her in a crowd in five minutes. I hope this works for the work she's doing.
But for me it would get me killed. Worse even than that – it might get the victims I'm helping killed. Even worse than that – I could have victims who might be wanting to call me for help that wouldn't call me if they thought my “public face” could be led back to them and get their location leaked back to the pimp or 100 other ways that it could cause the victim's location to be discovered by a pimp.
Back when I first started doing this work I was actually still a madam. I was also learning all of the “in's and outs”. I remember I had helped this one woman get away from her pimp by taking her to a safe house I'd rented across town where no one knew her. In order to avoid being seen by him, or anyone who knew him or her, and thus her location being leaked out to him – she stayed inside day and night at first and I would bring her food. We had made arrangements for her to get into a treatment program for her drug use that he'd forced upon her – but we had to wait a week to get her admitted. So in the mornings - I'd get off work and go and bring her some food – and sit with her and keep her company for a while before going home.
The pimp knew my face. He knew my car. He also knew where the brothel was because he used to take this woman there to work. That's how I learned what he was doing to her. He knew he couldn't follow my from the brothel anywhere because I'd have my eye out for him. So instead he hired a friend to tail me from the brothel to my house. Then he followed me from my house to where I'd stashed this woman.
As I came out of the apartment after having dropped off her food – he came out from behind some bushes and pointed a gun under my ribs. He let me know he was going to kill me if I didn't turn around and let him back into that security building where he could then get at her. In those days – I used to carry a small handgun in my jacket pocket. I also used to always walk with my hand on that gun. I responded to his putting a gun in my ribs by pulling my gun on him. I managed to get him to back off long enough to go and get this woman out of there and into another safer location.
He taught me a valuable lesson. These pimps will follow the people they think will lead them to the women that have been rescued. It's still a common practice today. I bring up Annie Lambert because I've been approached by more than one victim who has told me they would never call Annie for help. They wouldn't because they know their pimp would just know right where to go to put her in a position to force her to tell them. Whether she'd tell them if a gun was pointed at her or not isn't the point. In the victims' minds – she can be found in two minutes. She can then be threatened – or even her records could be accessed – in an attempt to find where they've gone if she knew. That's what they believe.
I've had it done. I've had hackers try and hack into my computer to get at my files in an attempt to find out where we've helped to relocate victims. I've had phony repairmen show up at my house in attempts to get into my files to try and locate victims. I've had phony volunteers try and get into my house to try and get at my records to find where victims have relocated to. I've had people pretend to be victims – in order to find out where the other victims are or where the files are for the “real” victims. I've had people pretending to be other trafficking groups contact me in attempts to find out where we've taken a recent victim we've relocated to safety.
I even had this novel approach used about a month ago. I have things set up so that if you try and find me – you will not wind up anywhere near me. In fact, it looks like I live 200 miles from where I really live. So if someone is trying to find me – they'll wind up in a small town outside of Vegas. In this small town – there's only about two apartment buildings. A few phone calls and you could probably find this guy who does know me in the town. I helped relocate a victim to safety in early December. Starting in mid-December – he starts getting calls from a man with a Boston area code claiming to be a creditor of mine that I owe money to and that he had “better tell him where I lived or else” and threatening him with all sorts of things. Thankfully this guy doesn't know where I live – and even if he did he probably wouldn't have told this voice on the phone. But I don't owe any money to creditors and I certainly never used this man as a creditor. Based on the timing – it's probably the trafficker having a friend trying to find out where I live in an attempt to locate the victim we relocated in early December.
I haven't had time to check, but I bet if I make a few phone calls – I'd be willing to bet cash money the counselor in this article probably either denounced trafficking as either “non-existent” or he might have been such a vocal advocate that he probably was a member of a local trafficking group.
Because that's my experience with people like this who are either a trafficker themselves, or they're on the payroll of a trafficker, or they're actually “johns” receiving sexual services – they'll either totally denounce trafficking, denounce the groups, and totally try and discredit the work entirely by trying to convince people it doesn't exist here in the US – and they especially try and discredit the advocates and survivors like myself who could see through them by saying we're “crazy” or “paranoid” or whatever else they can use to get people to not listen to us or take us seriously – or they'll get as up close as they can with the trafficking groups to keep informed so that they're ahead of any busts, “round-ups”, or undercover operations, etc. They also try and get as close to the other trafficking workers as possible – even gaining access to their confidential files if they can in an effort to either see what they know or they'll feel the deliberate “ms-information” to mislead and distract them from what's really going on.
I was approached by the Salvation Army in 2006 to be the director of them opening a branch here in Vegas to help trafficking victims. I was told the budget would be $500,000 and they showed me the program they wanted to set up. There was only two problems I saw with their idea – the first being that I needed a translator. In Vegas, many of the victims here don't speak English. So in order to go out and speak to them – I'd need a translator. The second was that I needed a contact within the FBI outside of the Vegas area that would not be opposed to the idea of arresting someone from the Vegas area.
When he asked me why – I explained about why I needed the translator. I also explained that if they wanted to break up the trafficking in Nevada we'd have to arrest some local authorities, maybe even a DA as well as some police and possibly even a judge. I couldn't ask for and expect a local cop to arrest his buddies – so I needed someone from outside of the area willing to help me. He said he'd go and get it authorized – and he'd “be back” within a month.
Two months later I had not heard a call back. No one was returning my calls. Next thing you know – I'm hearing in the news that this program had hired a school teacher from outside of the Las Vegas area to run this program. Further, she had no experience working with prostitutes – let alone trafficking victims. So she not only had no idea how trafficking and prostitution operated – she also had no idea how they operated in Vegas.
I figured they probably wanted to hire a “non-survivor” to be the director. I have heard many times that many large foundations and nonprofits do not want to hire survivors to be directors of their programs. Despite wanting to help many victims become survivors – many groups don't want to hire survivors because they have their own prejudices and believes that they think they “aren't stable” and they “can't be trusted” or that their past may give a “taint” to the program they're running – and thus their program.
When I confronted the Salvation Army about this – I was told it was because she had a BA degree and I didn't. First of all, there is no degree in prostitution or trafficking at all. Second, I am only two classes away from my degree – I could have enrolled back in school if that was the real issue. Third, the requirement they had that the director have a BA degree could have been changed to fit the fact that by this time – I had almost 20 years of experience in this area – and had worked locally with the problem since 1996. Fourth, she could have been named Director, and I could have been named Case Manager or some other position to advise her on the cases. Fifth, I've been told by the professors at an accredited university in Ohio that if I were to have the time and money to spend two weeks in Ohio doing an oral examination of my work with them that they would be willing to give me a PhD in prostitution studies based on the experience I had in this field years before this job came open.
To me, it was pretty clear someone wanted whoever was in this position to not know anything about trafficking. I wanted to figure out how we went from them wanting to hire an expert who was already working with trafficking victims in Vegas to head up the program to help trafficking victims in Vegas – to hiring a complete and utter novice at this work. So I started doing my homework to figure out what had happened from the meeting where I was offered this job – to where this other woman was now named the Director instead of me.
I found out that when this man went to Washington to get the approval I said I'd wanted to be able to make this program one with “teeth” that would get traffickers in Vegas locked up behind bars – he was suddenly offered a $370,000 grant by the DOJ to change the structure of the program entirely. The program had been originally set up to (1) go out and locate suspected victims and then to ask them directly questions to see if they were being trafficked, and (2) they were going to be presented with every person arrested for prostitution, and then interview them to see if they were a trafficking victim in need of services, and (3) take calls from people calling in asking for help.
This $370,000 was being given to them on the provision that they would only screen for the person being a trafficking victim UPON REFERRAL by Metro itself. In other words – they would not speak to any potential victim to see if they needed any help unless they were given the referral to them after Metro had screened them first.
The victims I'm hearing from in Vegas are telling me that there are Metro officers involved with their traffickers. So the chances that Metro is going to turn over a real victim who could sell them out for criminal prosecution or to out them with the media are pretty slim. To make matters more complicated – I asked this new director who was going to be the person to make the determination as to whether or not she'd be brought in to speak to a suspected victim. She gave me a name.
The same name I'd heard from more than one victim as being involved with the traffickers and receiving sexual favors from not only prostitutes – but the underage prostitutes. This is like putting the fox in charge of the chicken coop. He's not only going to prey upon the chickens because he's got the key – but he will also keep away anyone that can stop him from preying upon those chickens.
When I tried to push for another system to be set in place so that Vegas victims could utilize the services that this program was going to afford them – with money in their budget I certainly didn't have access to – I received a threat from a local FBI agent to “back off” as well as from this officer. The officer in question also started spreading rumors about me from one end of Vegas to the other to discredit me in case any of the victims who had reported to me about his activities decided to come forward. This way people would already just think I'm being crazy and making these stories up.
In an effort to let the public know how bad the trafficking was here in Vegas in the hopes that the media pressure might result in some action being taken – I agreed to help Melissa Farley prepare a report on “Trafficking in Nevada” she had received a commission from the State Dept. for. I not only contributed a few chapters to the book based on what I'd seen here – but I also had three women who I'd helped escape, and recover, from trafficking come forward to tell their story. They all flew into Nevada at great risk to themselves – and talked openly about their trafficking experiences so people would know these things were real as well as going on in Nevada. Bob Herbert from the NY Times also ran an interview with me, and some local victims, about trafficking here in Nevada as well.
Directly after this press conference – I got approached by some people working with the juvenile justice system. They told me of the huge number of minor prostitutes being trafficked here – and that there was no budget to help these kids with anything. They asked me if I could help. I was still in the process of recovering from my stroke – so I wasn't working. They also told me they had a vacant office and a telephone down at their offices.
Because of this – I told them I could actually give them not only 20 hours a week of regular time from me where I'd donate my time working with the kids – but I could also have our survivors provide them further support and mentoring through the 12 Step group we also run, Sex Workers Anonymous. This way they'd be able to have access to other survivors, and a meeting on the “outside” where not only could they get some help, but also their parents could access some help too. The juvenile justice workers were excited about me coming down Monday through Friday to work with the kids in the office. Especially after I had told them about our successful work with other cities through similar programs over the years – but that I had been involved with – as well as in other cities where our other survivors had been involved as well.
A few days went by and suddenly the phone went from ringing off the hook – to no one returning my calls again. Trying to figure out what had happened so quickly – I started approaching some of these people and assuring them of “confidentiality” about who was giving me the information if they would just let me know what I had done to upset everyone obviously.
Soon a very scared probation officer came forward to tell me what had happened. First of all, all of the Metro officers had been told that not only if they “worked” with us in any way, but also if they even “read the report” prepared on trafficking in Nevada by the Mayor, Oscar Goodman – they would immediately be fired. This explained why when we had given a panel the day after the press conference at UNLV – the whole row we'd set aside for Metro officers had been left completely empty.
Second, that everyone at juvenile probation and parole had been told that if they worked with us in any way – they would be fired. The concern was that the abuse of these kids was so prevalent by everyone involved in the system – from the social workers, to the therapists, to other probation officers, judges, DA's, etc. - that they were worried if these victims got “together” to “compare notes” and also had access to an advocate not scared to speak out to the media about such issues as I'd proven to not be scared of such things already – and who also had friends who would back them up like Gloria Allred (a very famous high power attorney not afraid to defend prostitutes') who has talked to more than one of our group members before – that these kids would be able to not only get some of these people thrown in jail – but also word of it would leak to the media.
Here's the thing – imagine this 15 year old victim spoken about in this article. Now imagine that on top of what this pimp was doing to her while pretending to be a counselor – imagine that she's going to Sex Workers Anonymous meetings and I'm also working with the girl to help her overcome her issues about her abuse which include being empowered enough to not allow anyone to force you to do anything you don't want to do. In the process of me working with her – she were to tell me about this counselor pimping her.
If she were “alone” in the sense of not having any access to anyone she trusts to report this to – she continues to be abused and pimped. Depending on who she reported she was being pimped to – this counselor might have discredited her. He might have said she was crazy, she's coming off of drugs, she's making it up to get attention, yada yada yada. Now this girl was fortunate enough that when word came out about her abuse – the people of the task force was there to take her seriously.
This is not the case in cities where there is no task force. This is also not the case in cities where the task force has people on the task force that are “in bed” with the traffickers. Again, not only was this girl fortunate enough to have had this task force to go to for help – but she was also fortunate that no one on this task force was also involved with the traffickers in any way to where they did anything to put this case under a rug.
This task force even saw to it that not only were these men arrested – but that the media found out about it. The media finding out about it – is a powerful message to other traffickers that no matter who your connections are, and how vulnerable your victims are – you can be brought to justice. She was also fortunate enough that the DA was willing to prosecute this case. Sadly, too often, the DA will reject the prosecution of a case. For every case that can be brought to justice – it can be estimated that there's 1,000 more cases that haven't been brought to light. What's good on the flip side of that however is that for every case where not only is the trafficker brought to justice – but when the trafficker is part of the justice system and they're brought to justice anyway – this is a powerful message to any other traffickers who may also have their hooks into these kids and into the system itself that they can be rooted out and prosecuted no matter how “safe” they think they are by virtue of being a wolf in sheep's clothing.
We didn't always have “Internal Affairs”. If you've ever seen the movie “Serpico” you'd have seen that corruption in New York had reached such a blatant and comfortable level that it was being done openly and had become so much a part of the cop “culture” that he went against the grain just trying to be an “honest” cop. Out of his struggles, and bravery – the “Internal Affairs” office was born. So we know that there has to be a “check and balance” system for law enforcement.
We also know that we have to screen out pedophiles when it comes to jobs or volunteer functions where there's children involved. If you want to work with helping an addict or alcoholic to find sobriety – you have to become educated in how to do this, take a test and become a licensed drug and alcohol or addictions counselor.
This story highlights a lot about what's wrong with the “system” right now as well as what's “right” about where we're going in this society with respect to sex trafficking, and it's victims. It also shows us some of the things we need to continue to work on in order to produce even more change and offer even more help to these victims, and the one who are up and coming more and more every year.
For example, if there had been a system set in place designed by survivors to screen for, and also look for some of the “red flags” about people who work with potential, or actual, trafficking victims – this man might have been screened out of a position where he was allowed to have this kind of access to a young girl like this, for a long enough period of time, and unsupervised for a long enough period of time – to have been involved with pimping her. Even if this young woman were to come forward to the media and say “I did this all by my own choice” - our research and laws about statutory rape are there because a young person's brain and experiences hasn't developed to the point where they can make a “truly voluntary choice” about sex – let alone about prostitution.
If this young woman was in a ob-gyn's office having a pap smear – we would require there to be a nurse in that room present during the exam. I'd like to see situations where if a social worker, counselor, or other person in the “system” is alone with such a young male or female victim as this one was – either has those sessions recorded and reviewed by someone above them – or I'd like to see them have someone else present.
Just as we'd screen out anyone working with children for any prior arrests for bothering children in any way – I have my own set of “patterns” I've seen with traffickers I'd like to see developed into a screening system for those who are allowed to work with, or be alone with, prostitutes that are either above or below the age of 18 years of age. I say that because when I was first going out seeking therapy – I had more than one psychiatrist, therapist, counselor, etc., offer to take out payment for my sessions “in trade” the minute they found out I was, or had been, a prostitute. I even had one male therapist who decided to pleasure himself in front of me when I had started to describe an evening where I'd been gang raped while going to appear as a stripper at a bachelor party one night.
The problem with not only “Internal Affairs” with the police departments – but also with filing a complaint against other agents like counselors, social workers, etc., is that you have to supply a name for the person involved when you're making a complaint. Out of all of the cases where I hear about this police officer, or this judge, or that DA, or this therapist, doing something awful to these victims – I can't make any “anonymous” complaint against this person without violating my own agreement that all conversations be “confidential” (with adults that is) because I can't name the person who told me the story's name in the process of making said complaint. Neither can the victim. There's many victims who would love to file complaints against these people – but can't take the risk of retaliation if they were to let the person involved know they made the complaint.
This is also a problem with everyone wanting “stiffer sentences” against traffickers. There is already stiff sentences. The problem isn't the sentences. The problem is that the system is set up where in most cases the only way to get a case against a trafficker is to get it based on the testimony of the victim. IF you based the case upon some other type of evidence – say made them verify where their money and/or assets come from as you do with a suspected drug dealer for example. Or if God forbid – you started arresting the “johns” and making them give up the name of a trafficker in order to get his case reduced, and then offering him a deal if he agreed to testify against what he saw the trafficker doing – you'd get a much more “credible” witness in the jury's eyes – plus you'd take all of the pressure off these poor victims who were being trafficked because they were being threatened with their lives, or the lives of someone else they cared about. To then expect them to testify against this same trafficker – is like asking them to commit suicide, or murder someone they love as they might get killed in retaliation.
They tell the victim's that they “will protect them” and that they “care about them” and that if they testify that “they'll see them get through it” and to “trust them” as they'll then help them build a wonderful new life.
In my case where I was charged with pimping in 1984 – the woman they got to “snitch” me out had probation hanging over her head. The police told her they'd violate her if she didn't tell them what they wanted to hear about me. The police had absolutely no case against me. None. Not one shred of evidence. Partly because they said they didn't even want me. They wanted the “family” I'd come out of. They wanted me to testify against the traffickers in the “family”.
In order to try and get me to snitch them out – they then tried to find someone who would rat on me – thinking I would then rat out the “family” to save my own behind. To compensate for this – they had to find someone to lie about me in court. So they came in and told this poor woman they'd violate her probation and she'd do three years in prison if she didn't turn on me and say whatever they told her to say. They told me straight up they didn't want me in jail – they just wanted me to rat out the “family” and they were using this as “pressure”.
As they're talking to me – they let me know they know that these people in the family have a reputation of killing anyone who snitches on them. They then tell me that I can “do whatever I want with the snitch” that's coming out against me as long as I “wait” until she's “testified against these three other drug dealers”. After “this” - they then tell
|Posted by sexworkrecovery on January 20, 2013 at 2:30 PM||comments (0)|
To fix the Sex Workers Anonymous webcam meeting - I am using Google Plus. If you want to attend - I need to have your email address so I can "invite" you. I can have up to 9 people in the meeting for free - but you need to have the Google Plus software installed (it's free). So if you want to attend - download https://plus.google.com/ and be sure I have your email address. Sunday's meeting is at 4:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. I'll send you an "invite" about 3:45 and on to get everyone connected. It will be the first time using this software - so bear with me! Send your email address to me at [email protected] to attend. I'll then add you into the "group" to "hangout" at the free videocam meeting. If you would like to attend - but don't have a webcam - I can also arrange you to attend by chat. Be sure to add yourself to the mailing list at www.sexworkersanonymous.net also so I can notify you of any changes if they come up. We also meet Fridays at 11:00 a.m. Thanks - Jody
|Posted by sexworkrecovery on January 2, 2013 at 6:40 AM||comments (0)|
http://www.urban.org/publications/901504.html There's the report on trafficking. Below is a letter I just sent to Matthew - one of the authors on the report:
I just found your report at http://www.urban.org/publications/901504.html I have to tell you I couldn't agree more with your findings. So much so I'm writing to see if you would object to my using it for a project I am launching as we speak.
First of all, let me introduce myself. My name is Jody Williams. I was a victim myself almost 40 years ago. I've been working to help sex workers and trafficking victims to escape and recover ever since I was in the business. You can read about me in
John Quinones book "Heroes Among Us" where he writes me here at http://books.google.com/books?id=gJmHpCv_CagC&pg=PA99&lpg=PA99&dq=john+quinones+heroes+among+us+jody+williams&source=bl&ots=CGic2bEUeF&sig=LzlCGqBHhuqxZ7bJ55tnpkYhm0I&hl=en&sa=X&ei=cW-vUL_ZO-SViALG2YHwBQ&ved=0CC4Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=john%20quinones%20heroes%20among%20us%20jody%20williams&f=false
Plus there's almost 40 years of news clippings about my work at http://www.hightechmadam.blogspot.com/2010/08/news-clippingsbiography.html
I now run www.sexworkersanonymous.net and www.traffickingandprostitutionservices.org
I've focused all of my energy onto helping the prostitutes and victims only after some very frustrating experiences trying to be a part of helping some government programs in California, Pennsylvania and Canada set up alternative sentencing programs for prostitutes where my assistance was requested. I found these programs were basically no different than the pimps in their exploitation of the prostitutes' plight in the pursuit of a dollar to line their pockets and basically swore to only focus on working directly with the victims in disgust back about 1991.
I had some very well-meaning people try and get me involved again in 2007 with government sponsored programs when Bush and the Salvation Army started handing out grants. Vegas received over $870,000 to form a program called ATLAS that year to supposedly help trafficking victims here - but they put a woman in charge of it that had no experience and no training. I stupidly thought that this was simply because no one in Nevada with experience had the right degree - so I tried to pitch in and help her actually rescue some victims. After some horror stories too numerous to go into - I found out let's say "the hard way" that the real name of the game was to spread money around certain people's pockets instead - and a year later this program was shut down because they reported they hadn't helped one victim (while that same year in Nevada our program processed over 300 victims so it sure wasn't because they weren't here).
I've seen enough over the last couple of years to realize that there's a couple of major "scams" basically going on in the USA today with respect to the sex trafficking issue. Frankly I don't think any of them could operate as well as they are if the general public, as well as people who work in the field who come in contact with victims, were to become better educated about the realities of the sex industry itself as well as the sex trafficking networks.
Because there's so many of these scams going on that are interconnected - and there's so many political and religious agendas going in that involve millions, if not billions, of dollars, as well as plenty of people's egos and reputations - and some of them are even using pretty sophisticated propaganda machines - I don't believe I'm going to accomplish anything "within" the system.
In my overall goal of helping this community however I have to do something as they are now being victimized in some cases even worse than the traffickers were doing to them. A lot of well meaning and genuinely sincere people who really do want to help are also being taken advantage of and exploited as well. For this reason I've decided to start offering continuing education for professionals who work in this community - as well as certification as an expert in this field.
I've located more than one professor and professional licensing board that have agreed to give me the proper approvals to offer accredited continuing education units to people such as therapists, social workers, counselors, and even police officers and attorney's. It's just going to take me some time obviously to get this all arranged in all 50 states. But I've started the ball rolling - and will be rolling out this education and certification in Nevada first in February of 2013.
I wanted to touch bases with you if I could on a few points in your report if you wouldn't mind - just two cents from my perspective.
First of all, I do agree that these cases are often not prosecuted, and are not being viewed as a "priority". However, there's an underlying reason behind this attitude. I can sum that up with one case as an example - Eliot Spitzer. Eliot Spitzer who while the DA for New York was hiring escorts at $4,000 a night which supposedly prosecuting prostitution and trafficking cases. There's no way that while this kind of behavior was going on - that dear Eliot would be doing anything that would have risked it being leaked out to the media, or his buddies down at the office, about what he was doing. To further make sure that details of his activities wouldn't be leaked out - he would be further spreading the "culture" that this is just a "victimless crime" and that prosecution is "not a priority" basically to cover his own backside.
Take a look at just a couple of the names that Jeane Palfrey named at the federal level of government that she named during her high profile trial. I can also name you plenty of people within law enforcement, the judges' chambers, attorney's office's, the DA's office, even some US attorney's offices, including on up to IRS agents - who also wouldn't want these cases prosecuted for the same reason they wouldn't want to catch themselves zipping up their own fly.
Because on one hand you have traffickers who have these people who are on their payroll that are helping them operate their business that don't want to see these cases get prosecuted for fear their names are going to get leaked out - and on the other you have the people who are using these sex workers with no regard for whether or not their victims or not - who also don't want to be caught with their name in some one's black book if their cases got prosecuted.
And again the culture they spread within law enforcement and politics to try and discourage prosecution in order to protect their own hides.
Then you have the victims who won't cooperate with prosecution for these reasons - they know they won't make it to a completed trial. They know that they either will wind up with someone found hanging in their jail cell supposedly from a suicide (as the most common), or they'll just be completely discredited so their testimony would be worthless.
Which is one of the reasons I had to form TAPS - because many victims were calling me up reporting that they were being refused any services to help them to escape and/or recover unless they not only agreed to prosecute a case - but unless they could basically hand over a completed prosecution case on a silver platter. Pretty hard to do when in most cases you might not even know the legal names of your traffickers because they all go by nicknames just to give one example of a problem one might have.
Colleen Owens is on to something when she is quoted as saying these cases are almost deliberately "falling through the cracks" - but I'm telling you from my viewpoint there's a reason these guys are doing this.
For example, I was working to rescue victims from one trafficking network that was transporting women, drugs, guns, and stolen and counterfeit car parts for luxury cars (you'd be surprised at how much money these were worth) from California, to Vegas, and then on through the USA to the east coast using police, sheriff, and marshall's cars so that they would not be stopped and searched. There were specific officers that were doing this - and I was having to help these victims sidestep these cops - more than one of them I knew to be true because they'd threatened to do things like kill me more than once if I didn't stop what I was doing to undermine their operation or if I "blew the whistle".
By some weird fluke - a writer was in Vegas one day and challenged the police to make a prostitution arrest. By just dump luck - they stumbled into this one operation and made an arrest of 5 men, 22 women and 2 police officers from California. I knew the police officers to be involved in this trafficking network so I watched carefully to see what was going to happen.
This was when ATLAS was just starting - so I called the director and told her we needed to get down there and interview those women. Before we could get down to the Salvation Army - all of the women had been released back to the men. When I asked her to demand these women's identification, names, addresses, something to go back and talk to them with - there was nothing because they hadn't asked them anything because they "didn't speak English" and no translator had been located.
But even the immigration laws require that they should have been held until a translator had been found. But no - they were let go without even being booked less then 45 minutes after being brought into custody.
Then the police officers who were caught in the brothel claimed to have been there "by mistake". All charges against them were then dropped too.
This was why these women were let go without any translator brought in - because if they had talked - these cops would have had their neck in the noose and all hell would have broke loose. Since the guy in charge of Vice at that point in time was also working with traffickers - he let everyone go without one prosecution or arrest made in that "Operation Doll House".
There's no way those women could have received any victims' services because the police didn't want them to make any reports or to help with any prosecutions to protect their own. But they still needed help to get out of there - and getting away from pimps who have cops for friends isn't easy. Which is why I run TAPS and focus on the victims' and their needs.
It's also why I believe the only way you're going to see any real prosecution of traffickers happen in this country is to take the focus off of the testimony of the victim. You hear the cry in all the states now about "stiffening the penalties" against the traffickers so the politicians can sound like they're doing something. Again, it's a smoke screen that's working because the public is basically uneducated about how this all works. They can increase the sentencing all they want - and look good for the cameras - but it won't make one dent in sex trafficking or increase prosecutions until something is done to make a prosecution case not rest on the testimony of the victims.
There is money to educate everyone properly about sex trafficking - but many of these people I'm speaking about don't want people educated properly and I can prove it's deliberate. I've volunteered more than once to give away, free, proper education and training to many of these offices such as to places such as the police academy, judges, attorney's, the DA's office, school teachers, therapists, social workers, even probation and parole officers' working with prostitutes.
There's a couple of reasons why they have actively had me banned from making any type of presentations or done any educational workshops. For one thing - they get to control the content. I have reviewed the materials that I have seen that is in current use for educational trainings for people in these offices. I have yet to read about how transgenders are trafficked, how the homosexual sex trafficking networks operate, or any references made about the male homosexual, bisexual and/or transgendered trafficking victims of any age whether they be a minor or an adult. That's just one example of information I've seen left out of the trainings - and one reason why I believe they try and block me from training these offices.
I remember when I did the press conference with Melissa Farley where we presented our findings on sex trafficking in Nevada in 2007 that was the findings of a report commissioned by the State Dept. We had the media there and so was the then Mayor Oscar Goodman there along with Metro officers and officers from the Probation and Parole Depts. Oscar literally waved around the printed report and said in front of everyone, media included, that if anyone so much as read this report they would be "fired immediately".
So there is a deliberate movement to keep information and education out of certain people's hands.
Another reason I believe they do this for is not just to control the information delivered and censor it - but also to manipulate the information they do deliver into propaganda to further their agendas. There's a judge here in Vegas that has refused to allow me to offer any of our victim's services that have been proven effective over many decades in many states with many survivors now not just from our program, but also from Children of the Night too. He does not allow either of us to offer our services which are free to the teen females in his courtroom, nor will he allow us to offer any information, education, or resources to the juvenile probation or parole officers.
Then he goes on TV and does newspaper interviews where he's quoted as saying that he is locking up this teen girls without a warrant and without any crime committed "in order to protect them" because he says "there's no other safe place to put them" (which is a lie), and that if people don't like that it's jail or the streets they can help him raise $1,000,000 to build a house with 14 beds that he wants to build for these girls. Which is ironic since he sees more than 14 girls in one day - and he could ship each and everyone one of those girls off to Children of the Night for established wonderful services they offer for free who would gladly take fly them in to their program free and take care of them.
So he's actively manipulating the flow of information to create a false lack of resources in order to further his agenda to raise money for a project he wants to raise money for - and it that leaves countless teen girls without a program, on the streets, or locked up without any criminal charges or sentence against them and in violation of their constitutional rights because he feels like it - so this idea there is a lack of educational resources or programs out there for these victims in existence already is a false one being fed to the public and people who work with the victims directly by people like this Judge for their own agendas and damn the consequences to the victims
Which is why I'm in the process of not only setting up an independent network that's going to be offering educational training and certification for people who work with sex trafficking victims that's going to be offering it "outside" of the established system. I'm setting up our website over the next couple of days - and I would like to ask your permission to quote your report if possible on our site and marketing materials.
We have to raise awareness. We have to educate more people working in this field. We have to do this so that the priority will elevate on prosecuting these cases and to getting services to the victims. We also need to get more properly educated and trained people working in this field if we're going to have an impact on the problem and help more victims. That's what I'd like to put your report to use helping us do.
Let me know if you would be willing to let me interview someone about it on our radio show at www.blogtalkradio.com/radiorecovery - thank you.
|Posted by sexworkrecovery on December 26, 2012 at 2:15 PM||comments (0)|
Dear Advocate Magazine:
My name is Jody Williams. John Quinones of ABC's "What Would You Do" wrote about me in his book "Heroes Among Us" that you can read online at http://books.google.com/books?id=gJmHpCv_CagC&pg=PA99&lpg=PA99&dq=john+quinones+heroes+among+us+jody+williams&source=bl&ots=CGic2bEUeF&sig=LzlCGqBHhuqxZ7bJ55tnpkYhm0I&hl=en&sa=X&ei=cW-vUL_ZO-SViALG2YHwBQ&ved=0CC4Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=john%20quinones%20heroes%20among%20us%20jody%20williams&f=false
There's also about 37 years of news clippings about my work at www.hightechmadam.blogspot.com Here's the overview - I was a "high profile" madam that the media dubbed the "High Tech Madam" when I was arrested back in 1984 in Los Angeles. The papers quoted my operation as bringing in $250,000 a year (it was actually more like a month). If you know anything about the time frame - you'll know that I was operating during the Iran Contra time period which meant I was in the middle of witnessing truckloads of guns and cocaine being smuggled into south central Los Angeles where the government was trying to make it look like the neighborhood gang bangers were bringing in that much firepower and drugs into Los Angeles (which was ridiculous). So I was involved in some pretty heavy mafia-government-corrupt-sex industry your basic can of worms at the time I was arrested.
Knowing that the people I left behind couldn't exactly contact the neighborhood therapist or even call 911 for help to get out safely - I formed Prostitutes Anonymous in 1984 (we later renamed ourselves Sex Workers Anonymous). I didn't broadcast the sex trafficking aspect of the work I was doing back then because if any of you remember what happened to Linda Lovelace when she went on Donahue to tell everyone how she filmed Deep Throat (America's most beloved and first mainstream porn) with a pimp pointing a gun at her head and letting us know those were bruises on her legs (not shadows) from where he kicked her with his cowboy boots when she didn't want to cooperate right away she was literally boo'd at by the audience. Plus I wanted to be the person to get the first alternative sentencing programs going which allowed prostitutes to not do jail time for what I knew was them doing something against their will most of the time - and since Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous were programs the courts worked with to those ends I decided to adopt the 12 step approach to accomplish this for "our" community.
When I first started doing this in Los Angeles however we first ran into the sexism that exists as far as the gay community LGBT community. There were 2,000 female prostitutes in Sybil Brand Womens Institute, while they had over 4,000 men in a "holding area" that was neither the mens' nor the womens' jail because they were either overtly gay, transgender, bisexual, cross-dressing prostitutes, etc. Because of the risk of rape and violence - they would not release these men into regular population - nor would they even have them in the same building as the men.
But when I tried to include them in this ground breaking alternative sentencing program so they could also get out of some jail time - and get some counseling - I was turned down flat. Because I had to start somewhere - I took what I could get and now Los Angeles has an alternative sentencing program.
The same thing happened in Allentown when I was asked to help out there. They were opening the Lehigh County Program for Female Offenders because they didn't want to spend $1,000,000 to build a bigger jail because of the 2,000 repeat offending prostitutes who kept coming back over and over again. So the county gave us $300,000 to set up a program giving the women counseling, job training, a halfway house setting they could live in instead of being housed in jail, transportation, twice weekly Prostitutes Anonymous meetings - and all the access to my support they could get. The results were amazing and they were able to put off building that jail. I know we were the reason for this because I got pregnant a year into this program. I moved back to Los Angeles - and one year later their program folded. A year after that - the program had gone right back to where it was before and they had to break down and build that million dollar jail. At no time would they even discuss with me even any outpatient assistance to offer the male prostitutes, especially the many cross-dressing and transgender prostitutes that populated the area. What was especially disturbing was the fact that these prostitutes were the ones that I knew had the higher rates of HIF infection.
I've been trying to help the prostitutes in Vegas since I moved here in 1996. Vegas has the highest number of teen prostitutes - and the highest number of teen prostitutes who are pimped in the nation here. They've responded to this by setting up a special court room headed up by Judge Voy - for girls. There are no cases for boys heard in this court room.
I've tried everything I can to get access to helping both male and female prostitutes - and they won't even speak to me about offering them assistance. One of the reasons was because I don't make a distinction. Oscar Goodman said that the image of Las Vegas' hookers are that of the sexy call girls. He said that if I were to start a program up to help male and female teen prostitutes - it would promote an image of prostitution here in Vegas that would "turn off" the traveling businessman who wants to fantasize about what he's going to find here in Vegas. Which is why he said the only support he'll ever give to any programs to help prostitutes in this town would be to the Salvation Army - because they only talk about helping female prostitutes in the media. He was very clear about that with me.
ATLAS was given $870,000 by the Salvation Army and Metro to do something about the trafficking problem here in Vegas in 2007. They gave an educational course to Metro and to the local high schools and churches. I was blocked at every turn from participating or contributing in any way to these educational workshops. When I was able to locate the materials to find out what was being taught - I discovered that none of the classes or materials covered the realities of male prostitution, male involvement in pornography, male stripping, and especially said nothing about gay and transgender male sex work in any way, shape or form.
Considering about 90% of the people we speak to and work with who are having sex changes, or are going transgender in some degree, are paying for it using sex work in some fashion, and since even gay and male sex workers do have pimps (the stories we hear are more horrific than that of the straight female pimps believe me) - the fact that this part of the sex trafficking and sex industry wasn't covered meant that 1/2 of the realities of the commercial sex and sex trafficking world were not covered in these educational workshops because they had the content of the homosexual male, transgender and bisexual community as part of it. We also believe that's why we were blocked from teaching about sex trafficking in these workshops - because we would have taught about this very real, every day reality of the sex industry and the sex trafficking victim.
We even have an interview up at www.blogtalkradio.com/radiorecovery about a man who was "turned out" into male prostitution at the age of 10 years of age. Which is not uncommon in our male membership. But this is one of the reasons why we believe we've excluded from much of the work that's being done in the sex trafficking community today. Since this is being paid for by taxpayers money - this is a sham.
Especially since this means that the gay, transgender, bisexual, male and even the cross-dressing males are not being allowed to access any of the services being offered in these rehabilitative programs, or these trafficking programs. Nor are they being taught anything that could be preventative that might help them - nor is the police being taught anything that could help them break free from a trafficker.
We all know the story of how Dahlmer's victim was brought back to him naked and incoherent by the police because he claimed they had a "lover's quarrel" and the police believed it because they didn't know any better. Know they are trained better.
But today - the police are not being trained about the realities of the way the males are being trafficked as children so that they can be rescued just as much as the female children. We have more than one member who has told us stories of their traffickers dressing them up as young men as girls to be able to not have their clients' friends and the surrounding public realize they are with a male instead of a female. They travel with their "johns" as a female so that the public thinks they are traveling with a female and not a male to protect their client's sexual identities. But this means that the police aren't alert that this might be a sign of trafficking when a young man is cross-dressed in an airport either.
Texas just got a lot of attention over the fact that their probation to offer "rehabilitation" to prostitutes instead of jail time has dramatically reduced their jail numbers. http://www.jedsilverman.com/Articles/Texas-Is-Rethinking-Its-Tough-Prostitution-Laws.shtml Yet none of the people offered these rehabilitation services have been males - especially gay, bi and transgender males.
Which frankly need even more assistance to transition out of being a trafficking victim. When a man has been on hormones that he's been forced to take since he was a young child and suddenly he's told he's "free" but he has to go figure out not only where he's going to live, and how to put food on the table, but where he's going to get his hormones, or help to get off of them - he needs more help than the "average" female prostitute.
in sexuality issues. Everyone knows about "gay for pay" porn actors - the same goes for sex trafficking of young boys. They are also forced to be gay when trafficked - but a female is trafficked into having sex with men generally which doesn't cause the kinds of "sexual confusion" that's going to have to be addressed in a man when he's suddenly told he's either "free" to quit sex work or that he now "has to" quit sex work or violate his probation.
Many programs who admit female prostitutes to their programs will also reject a lesbian client once they find out she's gay. We get calls constantly for example from many of the religious programs, especially programs like Catholic Charities, the Salvation Army, the Mary Magdalene Program (run by the Lutheran Church), and many other religious based residential programs that report to us that the minute they found out they were gay they were immediately kicked out of the program they were placed in to assist them in breaking free of prostitution.
The reasoning is that since they're being placed into a dorm situation with other women - that they have no separate accommodations for those who are gay. But isn't this just another way of saying they're rejecting offering them assistance because they're gay?
The legislation right now is rushing to also discriminate based on gender with respect to these laws not only to help the victims - but also prosecute the traffickers. Again if you listen to our interview I gave you the link to, it proves there are female predators. We have members who tells us of female predators. I myself was a female madam. American Pimp is a documentary that has an interview with a female pimp.
Yet the laws prosecuting traffickers are going after males - while the laws protecting the victims are protecting female and offering females services and programs - but not the males and the gay communities.
So the laws are discriminatory as well.
I'd like to talk to you about doing a piece for your magazine. Whether it be an opt-ed or a paid submission. Of course I'd like to see if I can sell you an article because all money goes to support our work. We need the money right now too. We'd like to get better sound equipment for a good camcorder for example to do more interviews to highlight how the males are being discriminated against in these programs, in the legislation, and also not being afforded the same services the heterosexual females are being offered.
Give me a shout when you get some time.
(702) 812 1235
|Posted by sexworkrecovery on December 26, 2012 at 5:15 AM||comments (0)|
|Posted by sexworkrecovery on December 26, 2012 at 3:35 AM||comments (0)|
Jody Williams just received word she's going to receive approval to offer continuing education units to counselors through the Nevada State Board of Examiners for Alcohol, Drug and Compulsive Gambling Counselors. She's also recieved word she will receive assistance from one of UNLV's professors to put together a textbook for counselors, therapists, psychiatrists, social workers, etc., that work with prostitutes, sex workers and trafficking victims on how to provide the highest quality of services possible to assist them in their recovery.
She's going to be organizing her first Nevada class in February of 2013. If you'd like information on attending, please just email us.
The class will be videotaped so that it can be offered online as a continuing educational course to anyone anywhere else in Nevada. She will be going on to received further approval for continuing education in Nevada for other State Boards, and then moving on to receive approval to offer these workshops in California. After California, she'll be going on to each state until she's received approval to offer CEU's in all 50 states of the union.
If you'd like to take this class without receiving any CEU's for your state board - you're welcome to do so. You'll receive a 25% discount.
To write the textbook, she is actively seeking out people who have been working successfully in this field for over 10 years. If you, or anyone else you know of, fits this guideline, then please get that information to her. She is going to be having "contributing authors" to the textbook so that many viewpoints are covered.
For example, working with juveniles is very different than working with adults. So there will be a chapter on working with juveniles vs. working with adults in this textbook.
Jody had previously done counselor training in California in the early 1990's before relocating out of California when she was part of the board put together by the Mayor that created the first alternative sentencing program for prostitutes ever in Los Angeles.
She also did counselor training when she helped put together the Program for Female Offenders in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. This program allowed the county to stall having to build a $1,000,000 new jail to house the overflow of prostitutes to the system there. While the program was open - they didn't have to open the jail. It wasn't until she left town, and the program folded a year later, that they had to finally give in to the prostitutes' crowding the jail and build the new one at the cost to 17% in one year.