Saturday, June 21, 2014
Buyer Beware - is someone "real" or "fake" in the sex trafficking world?
I've been getting a lot of calls lately asking me whether or not I think someone is “for real” or not. Some are asking because they are wondering about whether to donate to such and such program. Others are asking me because they're thinking about joining such and such program or outreach. All I can speak for is ourselves.
When I joined the support group that used to exist back in the 1980's called “Catharsis” - it was a group that was set up to “support” women who had quit the sex industry. I found it kind of sexist in that there weren't any men in the group. I knew just as many men in the sex industry as women. I also found them a little racist in that every woman in this group was white. I found them ageist because there were no young people nor the really old. I saw a news clipping yesterday where a woman was just arrested for prostitution at 61 years of age. I even found them a little “jobist” in that there were only escorts in this group. The sex industry includes strippers, porn actors, street walkers, dominatrix's, topless maids, naughty nurses, shoe fetish models – I mean the list goes on here.
There was also something else that really troubled me about that group. Yes they were all “out” of the sex industry. But not really for long. Almost every one of them would “relapse” in that they would return. I saw one woman actually go and open up a bondage parlor after having been “retired” for 20 years to raise her kids. I found that a little scary myself to think I could get married, raise some kids, and return back to sex work again a little worn for the wear.
Another thing was the “substitution” of addictions. I saw women who were “clean and sober” but they were definitely having a shopping or a gambling addiction. There's a study right now out that was done by Larry Ashley about the connection between strippers and gambling. Each woman was telling me in late night phone calls about sticking their finger down their throats, or not eating for three days, or some crazy grapefruit diet they were on. Not a one of them were able to maintain any stable romantic relationships nor any lasting friendships either. Jobs weren't lasting very long either. Many had to be self-employed for that reason.
What exactly were we there “supporting”? Maybe I over complicate things. Maybe I'm a perfectionist. But I don't consider “success” at leaving the sex industry working at the airport donut shop as one program director boasted to me about when I was asking to name me one of their success stories. I don't consider an $8.00 an hour or a minimum wage job a “success” story by any standards – surely not ours because I know what's going on in the back of that poor woman's mind at that donut shop every minute of the day. It's “boy I could be making $100 an hour easy if I walked out of here”. That's torture in my book – not success.
I defined success for us that we were able to leave the sex industry when we wanted to leave. That we would be free from any addictions and/or self-destructive behavior. Narcotics Anonymous had a line in their book that I treasure in that it says we are “happy, joyous and free”. Yes I can look around many programs in this country where they have what appears to be a woman in a tiny little apartment somewhere either on an SSI check or working some little job.
Now if that person is perfectly happy and content – that's great. That rocks. I say that because we have a member of Sex Workers Anonymous who is so damaged from his child hood where he was forced to turn tricks by his babysitter that he has a tiny little apartment where he pays his rent by cleaning houses. He's happy and free and loving his new life. So for him – that's rocking – you go there baby boy if you're reading this.
But I'm also not getting middle of the night phone calls from him that he's sticking his finger down his throat with an eating disorder, or paying the landlord with blow jobs, or turning tricks in those empty houses he's in, nor that he's out spending his paycheck at the casino either. This man I'm thinking of is my definition of success because he is truly “happy, joyous and free”.
Now am I going to parade him around in front of all of you as a “success story” of ours? Nope. Because to break his anonymity would endanger his new life. That precious life that took him years of therapy and now years of meetings in our program to achieve this success. Why would I topple it down just so I can get a few bucks or two minutes of recognition?
I don't need it. How am I going to help someone get a job if I've never interviewed for a job? How am I going to teach someone how to shop and live on a budget if I've never lived on a budget? In the 12 step philosophy you don't get an alcoholic sober by not being an alcoholic or sitting there with a drink in your hand. The basis of the program is that people who have achieved something show others how they've achieved it. So how am I going to show someone how to look for work, write up a resume, do a successful interview, and deal with other employees and crazy bosses – unless I also have walked those steps myself?
I can't. I can only give away what I have and share what I got in the 12 step philosophy. Which in some respects I think that's why I had my stroke. I never understood about how to walk through this world being disabled or living on an SSI check. When I first quit the business – I put myself through some school and got myself into a very good paying career. So for the first part of my recovery I was always working at very good paying jobs. Those jobs paid for all of the work I was doing in this program – in fact I've advanced this program about $500,000 of my own money so far before I stopped counting. Most of that was paying for our 800 number for our hotline when one used to have to pay $1.00 a minute for incoming calls. When I'd do a national TV show we'd get 5000 phone calls in the first day. So you figure out why I was getting $8,000 a month phone bills back then and you'll know why I consider Vonage as our saving grace right now!
Am I perfect? Hell no. One can get lost in my defects of character. The only thing I offer out here that I know is that I know how to stay clean since 1985 from all drugs and that I know how to stay out of the sex industry, as well as all criminal behavior, since then also. Getting total freedom from the eating disorders and the sex addiction – well that took a little longer. I was also taught that I “keep what I have by giving it away” so I don't care who wants to chase me out of this field it's not happening.
I want to keep what I've got which means I'm going to keep this hotline on until my body goes cold. Sure I'm going to die some day. But it's going to be in God's time now that I leave. I'm not going to be found in some crack house with a pipe in my hand dead of an overdose or murdered by some john on the streets. I'm going to go out with a legacy and not in shame today because of my recovery.
I got a call today from a woman who is working a full-time job but she can't stop prostituting. She is not a trafficking victim. Does that mean trafficking doesn't exist? Of course it exists. Does that mean this woman won't be helped? If we were a group that only “raises awareness about trafficking” then yes that would mean that all she's done is become a statistic in our research. Because that's what a lot of the hotlines out there right now are doing – strictly gathering data.
When I first went into recovery I used to hear this saying “don't go into a bakery to buy shoes”. It was teaching me that sometimes people can't give me what they don't have. I can't look at the playboy for example with the girls in every port and expect he's going to make a good husband and father. It also means that when I look at a group or program or hotline I need to ask myself what is it their offering?
The issue of Chong Kim is going all over the internet. Is her story true or not? Now I don't know anything about what Chong is doing out there except I've seen her offer to speak at places for money about sex trafficking. On that subject I think she's become quite an expert whether it really happened to her or not. So if people want to pay her to come speak to them about trafficking – then I'm sure she's earning her money.
I don't think she's offering to do any rescues. I don't think she's said she's running a safe house. I don't think she's saying she's running some type of rehabilitation program. Maybe I'm wrong – but the only thing I've seen her offer is to speak.
I've actually seen whole websites and groups attacking Pink Cross. Pink Cross is raising awareness that men and women who are going into the porn industry need help to get out. DUH. If you can pay your rent and survive in this world without porn – you would. So obviously something drives people into porn.
If you know people in the industry you'll know that maybe 5 % enter the world of porn because they truly enjoy it and get off on it. The rest? They got bills to pay they can't pay any other way. They have drug problems or maybe they're on the streets and need housing. Maybe they want to go to a school they can't afford.
So it's a given that these people can't get out on their own, or pay for what they want, because something drove them to have no choice but to go in. That something has to be so bad and so immediate that any thoughts about how this could ruin your future go right out the window.
Is she saying she has an actual treatment program for these people? No. Is she saying she is a church whose mission is to rehabilitate these people? No. While she is a christian and now a minister from what I understand – she does not have an actual church like Joyce Meyer where she has an actual house (like Joyce Meyer) where she rehabilitates people coming out of porn and prostitution (like Joyce Meyer).
Shelley does what she says she does. She targets people in the porn industry to try and talk them out of it. I printed the interview with Sierra Sines here yesterday where she spoke about some awful things that she feels Shelley did to her.
However, Shelley did accomplish one thing that Sierra admitted she accomplished – she talked her into crossing over the line from the porn world into the outside world. Now is Sierra pissed at Shelley about that? Sure she is. But is Sierra out of it now because of Shelley's evangalism? Sure she is.
If you don't like it – don't donate. This is why I'm saying “buyer beware”. These groups or people or programs will tell you what they do. It's your job as a consumer and/or a donor to take a real good look at what you're supporting and up to you to decide what you want to support. Because trust me – no one does this stuff for free unless they're like me. I do it because my recovery depends upon it. Period.
I'm actually more concerned about the new pimps on the block – the anti-trafficking pimps. They come in many forms. Some are out there raising money to give “awareness” about trafficking. For that they do what they are paid to do. Shared Hope came into Nevada and raised over $1,200,000 – and they showed videos about sex trafficking and gave lectures – and they “raised awareness” about trafficking. Did they help me with any victims when I'd call them to get help to buy an airplane ticket or rent a hotel room? No. But they did what they said they were doing – they raised awareness. I still feel however that they “pimped” our pain – in that they exploited our pain without giving us anything back. Just like a pimp if you ask me.
Some of them are cities. They make money in all kinds of forms off the prostitute. Recently many cities have become so desperate for cash they've now decided to offer a license to operate a “foot massage” business. To qualify for the license to do foot massages takes about a six hour class. Let me show you what happens when cities do this. Women who are 61 years of age are trafficked in from China to work as prostitutes at these parlors that sit on just about every corner of the USA right now.
While Polaris has everyone looking around for 16 year old girls standing on the corner (which represent only 3 percent of the whole sex industry by the way), which is fantastic actually of them to do – but while everyone is pooling their resources into going out looking for this type of trafficking victim – no one is looking at what's going on at all these Asian massage parlors that are on just about every corner in some major cities and as far reaching as Topeka, Kansas. http://www.sfgate.com/news/crime/article/Topeka-store-owner-charged-with-prostitution-5537516.php
Everyone is busy looking for kids on the corner – while I've been trying to work at helping these women trapped in this massage parlor ring. The women are posed with pictures of their relatives – brothers, sisters, mothers – in incestuous pornographic poses. The photos are then kept with the pimp. In China, one gets the death penalty for being a convicted madam or pimp.
They also receive the death penalty if they are caught in any type of incest – for which the photos are “proof”. They threaten these women that if they get arrested they can be deported back to China where they will show the authorities these photos. The families of these victims then receive a bullet that was shot through the brain of their loved one if they don't cooperate with these pimps.
When Joe Conforte was running the Mustang Ranch women were disappearing out there. It was against the law for the prostitutes to run away on foot. There are no cabs in the cities where these brothels exist. There are no buses. They don't have a car because they have to be dropped off to stay there for weeks at a time. This leaves the pimp at home with their belongings, their home, their car and their children. We have an interview with Delores Day where she speaks about how she not only had to leave her children at home with her pimp while she went to prostitute – but that he was even pimping out her children behind her back while she was at “work” at www.blogtalkradio.com/stopsextrafficktalk
I used to be able to get one of the johns to put these women onto a Greyhound to come to me when I lived in Los Angeles and then Nebraska. But Joe then responded by getting the city council to stop the bus line that went from one end of Nevada to the other. Doubt me – google it. Also google Chris Butler to see that this man was trafficking women between California and Nevada using men who were the most respected officers on the police force and you have an idea why there are victims of trafficking who can't call Polaris for help because they'll call the police. Kind of like calling the fox to come protect the chickens – it doesn't work and these women know that.
So they call us. I run the only hotline for adults and group that is not connected with law enforcement. So for years while Daniel Bogden was the US Attorney for Nevada we were able to help these women. But now we have Lance Malone who is the new owner of the Mustang Ranch and he's also a city councilman. He has access to the Nevada state legislature and also the US Attorney. The Nevada US Attorney who is you look on her page about trafficking resources – you'll not find our name there. You will find names of groups that will not go and pick up a woman at these Nevada brothels however and pull them out of there when they want to leave. They have to leave without a penny because the brothel managers won't pay them. So they can't even hire a limo to come up from Carson City or Reno to get them out of there.
We used to have Sharnel Silvey up there while I was in Vegas. Between us we were able to go and get these women out and place them in a small town of Tonopah, Nevada where we knew a man who owned an apartment building, a motel, a used car lot, a thrift store and a casino. We were able to put them into the motel for the night, then into an apartment where he would finance everything for the victim. Social Services would then come in and pay him for the housing and the furniture as well as give some food to the woman. He'd then finance them a little car to get around in and give them a job at the motel or the casino. We'd patch them up emotionally and after about a year they'd be able to move on out of there into their new lives.
They set up Sharnel on phony fraud charges to give her five years on a first offense. Who does that? While everyone is rightfully freely Sara Kazan – what about Sharnel? No one is listening to me that Sharnel was not only set up – but that she was part of our little “underground railroad” for these Nevada brothel prostitutes. Sharnel used to be a madam at the Mustang until we got her out of there.
This was why she was so passionate about helping these women she used to get roses from me and go up to the brothels and “appear” to be there on behalf of one of the local churches. She'd come in with her “act” of just being some born again christian who was harmless so that the brothel owners would let her come in and tell the women “Jesus loves you” so they'd get the roses. Inside however the rose was our phone number to call for help.
They found out about the man – and they started sending in the zoning and the building departments after him. They made him move his propane tanks and put on a new roof and install a new electrical system. Finally they just kept hitting him with so many “code violations” he had to sell the businesses' and retire. Between Sharnel being in jail and him now retired – there is no more “underground railroad” for these women in Nevada's brothels.
I tried putting out the warning we needed help. We held a press conference in 2008 asking for help. You can read about it here. What I got out of that was Melissa Farley running off with the money that was raised – and I was left with a completely demolished car.
Our outreach was finished. While I was trying to rebuild – Annie Lombert started the churches up raising money for her “Destiny House”. Then Pastor Benny Perez ran off with the money and Annie was left trying to figure out how to rebuild her dream of a safe house for adult women.
Problem is Annie – the women aren't safe in Nevada if they truly are trafficking victims of Nevada's trafficking rings. I know because they will move heaven and earth to find these women and drag them back – just like they did Airforce Amy. Who when I was trying to find volunteers to drive me up to find her when she tried to leave – everyone was too busy going to “sex trafficking classes” and “awareness events” to learn about the problem while I was trying to find a way to get to her before it was too late.
I managed to save up enough money to buy an 1985 RV for $4000. I couldn't take a car up 800 miles over and over again to go to the brothels in the middle of nowhere – especially when motels are expensive and these women leave with nothing. Then they stole it and returned it with a bomb in the exhaust system. I'm lucky the RV broke down and the bomb was discovered. They told me if I had driven it for 45 minutes to get the engine hot – I would have been blown to bits and it would have looked like an accident without a trace left to verify it was a deliberate bomb.
Who do I complain to? The Nevada US Attorney won't even mail me lists of where events are happening around the state with respect to sex trafficking. I saw her handed campaign contributions by Lance Malone and Dennis Hof. I then had the Nevada Secretary of State come after me trying to lock me up for six months for “operating a business without a license” and “soliciting donations without a nonprofit”.
Which I was able to block that attack by pointing out that to operate a business I have to be selling something. I'm not selling anything. I give away our Recovery Guide. I also don't “solicit donations”. The only person who ever did was people who were pretending to be me. I was able to prove that none of those people who were asking for donations in our name had any connection with us.
If anything – we were being conned just as much as the donors because the money sure never came to us. I was never so happy to be broke in my life as when I showed the man my checking statement with my little $720 a month that comes in and goes out on my tiny little weekly apartment.
So I'm done. No one wants to help and I have now to fight Metro, the Nevada US Attorney, city council – I'm just done. Everyone else is so busy running around telling people “don't speak to Jody because she's crazy” or “she's mean” like that has anything to do with who I'm trying to help.
You know what guys – one has to be crazy to do what I'm doing so deal with it. You want someone sane? They wouldn't touch what I do out here for a million bucks. I know because I'm constantly being told “I can't help you because I need to protect my family” when I'm talking to people with money to try and help us.
Assemblyman Bob Beers who was at our press conference in 2008 who said he was going to help us help these trafficking victims? Got so many death threats, and set up by the Review Journal on a “ethics charge” for a $5.00 donation they made – that he just threw in the towel and cut off the phone. He's not even in political office anymore and went back to teaching. Do I blame him? Nope. Because sane people don't do this work. So yeah I'm crazy – but that's why I'm still here.
There's an “abolition” event going on in a few months in Kansas. It's called “Exodus Cry”. I contacted them and asked them if they would help me truly “abolish” the brothels right in Nevada where we needed help to stamp them out by getting the Nevada voters to vote them out of business.
Dennis Hof is also embarking on the same campaign that Joe did in the 1980's to get it legalized in California. Which means we also need to convince California voters about the truth about these brothels now too. All over again. I spent from 1987 to 1991 going on national TV and speaking all over California to block Joe from getting the brothels expanded into California. I did it by myself – I didn't see any of these other groups out there with me getting fired, and getting evicted every time I spoke out about why these brothels couldn't come to California. But we won. The voters voted it down and Joe went back home with his tail between his legs.
I can't do this now that Dennis is now gearing up to come after California like Joe did in the 1980's. I have a kid at home right now with a brain tumor. I just got scammed on a car – so I now have no car. My income right now is SSI. So please tell me how am I going to stop what Dennis is starting in California? http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2014/06/11/nevada-brothel-owner-looks-at-lawsuit-after-oakland-billboard-taken-down-dennis-hof-first-amendment-constitution-free-speech-libby-schaaf-noel-gallo-sex-prostitution-moonlite-bunny-ranch/
Well getting some help from the people who are organizing this “abolition” event in Kansas would be a big help. So I wrote them. http://exoduscry.com/abolitionsummit/ Their answer was that they believe that “governmental change” is the answer. You know what guys? The federal government has already established that having a brothel or not having a brothel in your state is not a federal decision. So going after the “government” in the war on abolition – is A COMPLETE WASTE OF TIME. But let's not listen to someone who has been SUCCESSFULLY beating back the brothels since 1987. No - not when there's money to be made.
So I'm in California now. The ring that's bringing in these women from China live in Pasadena, California. They bring these women in through LAX. The massage parlors are everywhere. They are in Seattle, Texas, Kansas, New York, Florida (oh boy are they in Florida), California, etc. There's no gun to their head. Not needed.
These pimps know that if these women so much as just try and leave – they will be found through the expert hackers they have who can trace them in two seconds online, through their phone, through their email, etc. Wherever they try and live – found. Wherever they try and get a job – found. One flash of their pictures in a say “compromising position” and they will be thrown out on their ear back into the streets. Then what? Most don't even speak English. So they can't get a job except in Asian communities – where they will be found in two seconds of a heartbeat.
If they go to the police – they'll be deported because they won't have a job here that's legal. If they wind up in China – they will have proof of their incest shown to the authorities where they will receive the death penalty. That's if they aren't threatening them with the family left back home in China. The women are promised that their children will receive “good educations” at schools like UCLA where some of these womens' sons and daughters are right now. These women believe they are sacrificing themselves so that their children will get an education and get out of what they're trapped in.
The cities right now are giving these massage parlors licenses because they get money for that license. They also get sales tax and they generate revenue from renting the building to paying for their trash service. If the city wants a little extra cash – they go in and bust the women for prostitution. They might even get some “anti-trafficking” money to set up a task force to “help” these women. The local businesses get paid to advertise these parlors, paint the building, bring the laundry service, pay the electric company, house and feed the women, and even print up their flyers. So there's a lot of people making money off this operation. Even the airlines are making money flying the women in from China and home again once in a while to see their families when they need a “refresher course” about how lucky they are to be in America sucking off local businessman.
I'm trying to show these women that we can get them out of there because trust me – they don't want to be there. One of these women broke down in tears when I told her that we could get her out of there and I could hire her to do translations for me to go in and talk to the other women to get them out of there. She said to me “you mean I could take everything that's happened to me and use that to help other people?” When I told her yes – her eyes lit up like a kid in front of a Christmas tree.
But the contract I got from a local businessman to help these women is going to run out in a month. A very kind brave man asked me if I would help get these women out of this ring. I said yes but explained that it would cost money. We needed cell phones, and security, and ways to put these women up in housing that was safe, and gasoline, and hotels, and computers, and the list went on of what it would take to organize this mission. You can see by these arrests that we are making headway. http://www.sfgate.com/news/crime/article/Topeka-store-owner-charged-with-prostitution-5537516.php We've managed to get some of the pimps behind bars.
But our job is far from over. Yes there's been a few arrests. But this is not everyone out of this trafficking operation yet. There's still parlors in Texas, New York, Florida, Los Angeles, etc. I've managed to help shut down a few parlors and get a few of these pimps behind bars by leaving bread crumbs for the authorities – and to show a few of these women who speak English that there's a way out.
But I need them to help me with the women who speak Chinese – and I need more time. http://www.broomfieldenterprise.com/news/regional-news/ci_25957119/woman-arrested-search-broomfield-spa-released-pending-charges I realized in tackling this problem that we couldn't get these women, and their children, out of this vicious cycle unless we could get the pimps first locked up and unable to come after these women. Have I accomplished that? Mostly. There were other arrests back in June. Some, but not all, of these pimps behind this operation have been locked up.
But the women get out from these prostitution charges and just go on to the other massage parlor in another town. I can't even speak to them without translators. Now unless I come across a woman who speaks Mandarin who is willing to travel across the country with me for free – we need money to execute this part of the operation.
What about the child victims of trafficking? You take any one of these kids to an airport and Children of the Night will fly them in to a wonderful program that follows them for life. Hugh Hefner gave them a $1,000,000 not long ago and she has celebrity and governmental support. Anyone who sees one of these kids now knows to call Polaris – and they're out. These kids now have a way out.
But what about these Asian women all over this country now? The money this businessman gave me to start on this project is running out in a month. He's told me he can't afford to pay me to do this work past July. What's it take to help these women to break free from this ring? Come talk to me if you want to find out how you can help these women. Want to fight the brothel's from expanding out of Storey County? Come talk to me.
I thought I said I “didn't need to raise any money”. This is where it might be confusing. I run two programs – the first is Sex Workers Anonymous. We have a hotline where you can call in and speak to another survivor. SWA has meetings, phone support, a Recovery Guide, the steps, etc. We are a world-wide program with 1,000's of members. I'm just the main head office and I coordinate the meetings and the members. I am not the program. I don't “lead” anyone other than helping them to find their own inner guidance where “the ultimate authority is a loving God”. We don't offer housing, medical care, education, etc. We show the members how to break free of addiction and how to find a new way of life. Key word is “we” - not “me”.
Then there's Trafficking and Prostitution Services. That's where someone can call when things are a little bit tricky and they can't get help anywhere else. I've called many of the “Asian trafficking groups” and they have offered these women safe houses. But if they can't leave for fear of what will happen to them and their family – a safe house means nothing to them because they won't go. To them, staying means saving their family so why would they leave?
This problem of the Asian trafficking is more complicated than a street kid on the corner because there are cities that have a hand in these pimp's pockets, and there are businesses that are also making their living off supporting these women being right where they are. If you've seen some of these recent arrests where our government has been using these women to help negotiate deals, and the Chinese government has been using these women for espionage purposes, as well as the hackers have been using them to get information from the “johns” like their credit card numbers – then you have a lot of people out there with big pockets who don't want these women to find any help.
Tackling this kind of problem isn't easy. Everyone agrees that we all need to rescue street kids. But try and tell a city council you want to shut down some businesses – and you are going to find a whole different type of reaction.
So when I say “buyer beware” what I'm saying is that when you look at a “trafficking group” you need to ask yourself what is it they're saying that they're doing. Then you need to ask yourself what you want to support and get behind.