Saturday, December 26, 2015
MY 1984 ARREST - THE FIRST SAFE HOUSE FOR ADULTS IN THE USA
Some of the news clips about my 1984 arrest - the news was international.
This clip is where the modern day sex trafficking movement got started. Yes Wilber Wilberforce started the anti-slavery movement in the 1700's. But come the United States in 1980's and the world did not believe the idea of "sex trafficking" existed.
In 1975 the book "Happy Hooker" changed the world. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Happy_Hooker_(film) Dolly Parton in "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" with Sylvester Stallone was also huge in 1982 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Best_Little_Whorehouse_in_Texas_(film)
Playboy was more than a magazine. Hugh had a string of "hip" nightclubs where you had to be quite wealthy and connected to become a "key" member. http://www.lamag.com/culturefiles/playboy-stage-fascinating-collection-tales/ You weren't anyone if you weren't at a party at the mansion. There was also his TV show too which came on late night. The pill had come out and the sexual revolution was in full-swing. Adult performers like Linda Lovelace and John Holmes were the new rock stars, and feminists were talking about sex work as a form of female empowerment.
COYOTE was born - Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margo_St._James Margo felt that if you had total control over what you did with your body, both with respect to abortion and sex - then you should be able to sell it if you wanted to also. The Mustang Ranch, the first licensed brothel in the USA, was opened in 1971 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mustang_Ranch In marketing the ranch - this is where the phrase about "what two consenting adults do" came from likening prostitution as just being a matter of two people consenting without acknowledgment there might even be a pimp involved.
I am setting the stage here of 1980 then to give you an idea how the world viewed prostitution when Linda Lovelace released her memoir "Ordeal" - http://www.amazon.com/Ordeal-Linda-Lovelace/dp/0806527749 A story where she says she was forced not only into prostitution, but to film "Deep Throat" with a gun pointed at her from off-camera while no one on the set did anything to stop this.
I want you to see how this just flew in the face of what was the common understanding of what porn and prostitution was at this time. Her pimp, Chuck Traynor, was threatening to kill her parents if she didn't comply and she believed his threats. For one thing, the film was made with mob financing. For another, Chuck went on to become one of the founders of the Gun Store in Nevada. So he had a pretty crazy relationship with guns.
What was the big deal? In 1980, adult films were only available through private film rental or in "adult XXX theaters" which were usually in sleazy areas and low budget buildings. A great documentary of sorts is actually "Boogie Nights" which shows how to bypass censors and to get an adult film made back then took not only serious money, but also had to have some kind of story to pass as "art". If not, then it would be rated XXX and that meant it could only air in these tiny dinghy theaters. To get in mainstream theaters you have to be like "La Douche Vita" and therefore foreign like a Fellini movie or considered "art".
Taking about $25,000 in mob money (I think that was the amount), Linda Lovelace made the comedy adult film which actually aired in mainstream theaters. It grossed millions of dollars. Interestingly the male star was charged with obscenity, but not Linda nor the producers (they were mobsters so that's probably why). I remember my parents lining up for the film with lines going around the block three times because it was considered "hip" to see this film in a theater.
So when Linda then comes out talking about being "forced" to make the film - the public didn't know how to react. Imagine if Michael Jordan come forward saying that someone had been forcing him to play ball against his will. The other cast members denied any knowledge of force. Chuck had gone on to manage Marilyn Chambers who was saying she wasn't forced and this was all just Linda being "jealous" of the fact Marilyn was the "hot new star".
I watched as Linda got scooped up by the anti-porn faction. Instead of using her story to call out for safer working conditions on adult film sets or to raise awareness this was in fact very common on pron sets back then - instead she used her story to try and get all porn banned. She even testified in 1984 about the Meese Report which was trying to get all porn banned on the idea it was "harmful to public health". http://www.theguardian.com/news/2002/apr/24/guardianobituaries.filmnews These anti-porn people trotted her all over the country to talk about the "evils of porn" while they passed the basket and collected names for their mailing list while she wasn't getting a regular job and her book wasn't selling very well either . If anything, the Meese Commission/Report was getting the most attention from her work.
Meaning while she was telling the American public she was forced to be in the sex industry, and to do porn, she was not calling out for (1) protections to be set up within the adult industry to protect people from being victimized, and (2) she was not reaching out for others in the industry who were being forced currently to reach out to her for help. Her efforts being being put into outlawing porn basically. So she wasn't being paid for her public speaking - and frankly most of the audiences were saying she was "making these stories up" to try and sell her book or promote her cause. I watched the way the world reacted to her - and they didn't believe her bottom line.
Understand the time I was in here. Los Angeles during the 1980's was also a record time for serial killers targeting prostitutes. http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-serialkillersmap-0804-i-htmlstory.html While Linda was trying to talk to people about being forced to film "Deep Throat", and the Grim Reaper, Hillside Strangler, Green River Killer, Souhside Slayer, etc., were all targeting prostitutes, we were also having problems with LAPD. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/lapd/scandal/cron.html Then we had Iran Contra going on http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/clinton/frenzy/iran.htm What this meant was our own CIA was flooding the country with cocaine they were bringing into the country, the African American gangs were processing and selling, in order to raise cash to buy guns for the Contra's. Rick "Freeway" Ross goes into more detail in his story - http://www.finalcall.com/features/cia-pawn.html
Meaning I'm seeing our CIA flying planes and sailing boat loads of cocaine into the country, handing them over to the gangs for processed and sales, while I'm seeing the news knocking down houses in South Central with battering rams and blaming urban youth for the crack epidemic. How is the coke getting into the Beverly Hilton, the homes of Hollywood producers, and on movie sets? In the purses of the escorts I was running - that's how.
Chuck Barris confessed a lot about what he was up to during this time where truth is stranger than fiction. http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,404266,00.html You have to realize we didn't have the internet back then. So how would you get films of pretty girls out to other countries in a manner that wouldn't arouse suspicion? Being the producer of the "Dating Game" is a really good way. Ever wonder why this little dating game was sending it's winners off to these exotic countries? To get the paperwork to send the women into other countries without arousing suspicion that's why. Ask yourself - how many of those girls did you see come back from those trips?
Chuck worked with a madam, Cheri Woods, who would send over escorts to audition for the show. She was even on one of the "Dating Game" episodes herself. http://www.amazon.com/Death-Row-Madam-Cheri-Woods/dp/0971399409 Many escorts would go on the show to promote themselves on TV in a way we do now on the internet. Cheri was also connected to Philip Micheal Thomas - which was the connection with all of this and "Miami Vice". http://www.philliplysyj.com/uploads/1/0/8/6/10863112/cheri_amour.pdf When you're the CIA rying to push cocaine to buy those guns for the Contra's you have to generate demand for the drug and the whole "lifestyle". If you've seen the documentary "Cocaine Cowboys" they speak about how "hookers were everywhere". Yes we were.
Alex Adams was the "Beverly Hills Madam". http://articles.latimes.com/1995-07-11/local/me-22546_1_beverly-hills-madam Alex spoke many languages and many of her clients were coming in from oil wealth that was flooding Los Angeles during the 1980's. http://articles.latimes.com/2004/feb/08/opinion/op-phillips8 In fact, so many wealthy Saudi's were buying up property in Beverly Hills and painting everything so garishly that a city ordinance was passed because of one house that was especially garish and obscene. http://articles.latimes.com/2002/dec/31/local/me-sheik31 We even had Mayor Marion Barry doing cocaine in clubs in Los Angeles in the 1980's - http://www.washingtonian.com/articles/people/x-rated-dcs-underground-sex-industry/
Now these wealthy Saudi's which we now know were also connected to Osama Bin Ladan and the Bush family, liked "white women". Some women rented themselves out willingly to go into some of these harems. http://www.amazon.com/Some-Girls-My-Life-Harem/dp/0452296315 However, some of these men wanted a woman to own with "no questions asked". Same with some of these drug lords. Now you're getting an idea where someone like Chuck Barris would come in with his cover of a dating show producer and flying women into other countries.
Take a look at my world back in the 1980's. Where am I going to turn when I'm seeing other escorts being sold, raped, murdered, stalked, robbed, pimped, and even outright sold and loaded onto planes like cattle never to be heard from again? LAPD? Not only were we in this Rampart time but Los Angeles was also "cleaning up" for the Olympics. That's why both myself and Alex got arrested in 1984 - Los Angeles was putting us on the fire to announce it was "cleaning up the streets".
Watching HIV/AIDS, serial killers, traffickers, pimps, drug lords, all of this insanity going on around me just made me want to quit. I had a warehouse I had been using as an incall facility. I had a theater license for the property where I could show an adult film in a private room with a nude hostess. I gave away the sex for free therefore it wasn't prostitution. I just charged $250 for a 30 minute viewing of a film and threw in the sex for free. I had also opened the first 900 phone sex line in the country which was making me $50,000 a week.
True story - we had opened the 900 lines for the first phone sex lines. Then when I retired I still had these contracts to fill for the service. My mom was working as a psychic and had a lot of "psychic friends" and I knew Cheri. Cheri knew Philip Michael Thomas. It was my mom who came up with the idea of using the 900 lines for psychic readings instead of phone sex. I had known Dionne Warwick through the "family" that got me into the sex industry and my mom knew Linda Georgian through the owner of the Psychic Eye Bookstore. Anyway, throw it all together and you have the birth of the "Psychic Friends Network" once I shut down the phone sex lines!
I had a lease on the warehouse for the rest of the year. I had saved up $250,000 in cash and wanted to retire. I had in fact retired. I had turned off all the phones, yanked all the ads, broke off all my working relationships, etc. The only other "safe house" in the country was Children of the Night which opened in 1979. But if you were over 18 - then where did you go?
Back in 1984 if you were even perceived to be a prostitute - you were denied help at hospitals, drug treatment centers, homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, etc. They would literally deny you admittance. Yes I would watch as prostitutes were denied beds at homeless shelters because of fear of HIV/AIDS and fear of their pimps. Covenant House in NY used to refuse to admit teen prostitutes because their pimps would show up armed an hour later. That's one of the reasons why Lois opened Children of the Night.
But where did you go for help when you were over 18 years of age? The Don Bosco Society was a program for homeless male prostitutes. Okay now what if you're a woman over 18 - where do you go? After I'd disconnected the phones, stopped all our ads, announced my retirement - I got a call about a woman named Cheryl. Her pimp had beaten her in a drug rage where he broke her arm and her nose. She had two black eyes and was on probation and wanted to quit everything but he wouldn't let her go. I knew she had nowhere else to go. Even a trick wouldn't take her in all banged up like she was.
I had the warehouse just sitting there paid up for the rest of the year. I told her I'd come get her and she could heal there and then we'd figure out what she wanted to do with the rest of her life. I picked her up and set her up at the warehouse. We already had beds, a TV, fridge, kitchen, shower, etc. I stocked her up a couple of weeks of food and told her to rest. I even got her chicken soup!
The pimp figured out where she was and of course threatened me about getting her back. I ignored him. He found the warehouse by asking some "johns"and then tried to break in. I had it pretty secure already and he couldn't break in. We were pretty scared wondering if he'd make it in. I didn't dream he'd call the police and report that we were running the brothel in retaliation but that's what he did. The police knocked on the door at midnight. She was in her PJ's of course and answered the door thinking we had nothing to hide. They arrested her because in their mind if a woman on probation for prostitution answers a door at midnight in her PJ's then she's hooking. So they tried to get her to press charges against me for pimping her. She refused.
She finally got them to listen to her about the pimp and they arrested him. But the cops weren't done with me. They kept thinking I was still running something and charged my mother with pimping me. The whole legal nightmare took me until 1987 to clear up but after that I realized I needed to go about this a whole other way.
So once the legal decks were cleared, I contacted Edwin Meese myself and talked to him. I told him how I didn't believe it was right that these men and women be arrested - especially when so few were there by choice. Many where in sex work because of economic necessity. Others because of pimp. Some were even being trafficked against their will. The Hillside Strangler was handcuffing women to beds in hotel and forcing them to turn tricks entirely against their will. Why should they be arrested and treated like criminals?
He's the one who pointed out that until we could change the world essentially - that if we used a 12 step format we could immediately go in and offer "alternative to sentencing" for those convicted of prostitution. So in August of 1987 - we launched the first hotline for adults to call for help no matter what their situation, the 12 step program which could be used for "alternative sentencing" or diversion, and I did this by starting to go on TV. While on TV is when I started educating the public about the fact many of these people were being pimped and/or trafficked, and therefore should not be treated as criminals. I explained our hotline was not connected to law enforcement and that we weren't because many sex workers were running from law enforcement.
I therefore could be a "go between" for those who wanted to remain "anonymous" but I could speak for them about things like police abuse, police trafficking, police pimping (like Chris Butler), etc. Meaning when I stepped up on that first talk show stage in 1987 to inform the public that sex trafficking was in fact real, was happening in the USA, and that I'd operate this hotline and program until we could see the changes we needed to see.
Meaning the launch of the modern day sex trafficking movement was born on August 15, 1987.