Sex Workers Anonymous is a 12 step group for men and women, from all over the world, who are or have been in any part of the sex industry from prostitution, to stripping, to porn, to phone sex, etc., of any age, whether it was legal or illegal, one or a million times - who have a shared interest in either leaving the sex industry and/or finding recovery after having done so. www.sexworkersanonymous.com (702) 488-1127 If you are a parent - go to www.swanfellowship.webs.com
I’m writing to give you a perspective into both the past and the future. I appreciate your intent behind the Prostitution Diversion Program – but I have to point something out here. Addicts and alcoholics wind up homeless as a result of their addiction much of the time correct? They wind up sleeping in alleys, homeless, losing jobs, etc. So of course you would then think the solution would simply be to get them a job and into a place to live – and all will be well correct?
Okay, then explain how Betty Ford, former first lady, was an alcoholic who founded the Betty Ford Center. Now, if she presented herself to you as an alcoholic would you offer her a job and a bed in a homeless shelter as a solution? President Bush expressed in his biography that he had a problem with cocaine and drinking when he was younger. I can go down the list of famous wealthy people who were alcoholics – so clearly providing the alcoholic with a job and a place to live is not a solution.
Prohibition as you know was an attempt to address alcoholism. It was a horrible problem in this country at one time. Women who weren’t allowed to work prior to 1930 when AA was founded were pretty much dependent upon the men in their lives. Totally financially dependent. We had no birth control – meaning that many women were married with three children by the time they were 24 years of age. Then their husbands were taking their paychecks to the corner bars – drinking up every penny – and then coming home broke. Desperate women were turning to social services for help to buy food, and whole families were winding up in shelters, turning to the government before we had the social programs that we have now. The government was desperate to try and find a solution because no one else seemed to be stopping these men – not the churches – not their wives – no politicians – no one was able to stop them from drinking to the point of destruction of their whole families.
So we brought about Prohibition to try and stop the men from drinking. They even tried dry counties, no drinking on paydays, no drinking after certain hours – no attempts at government control was working. The churches and therapists were failing. Bill Wilson, the founder of AA, even consulted the famous Dr. Carl Jung who told him he was a “hopeless case” and he could “not help him stop”.
It was not until Bill founded Alcoholics Anonymous that a 100 percent fatal terminal disease found a way to go into remission. But I need to point out that Bill wasn’t able to start AA until Prohibition had been repealed. THAT’S when he was able to get it recognized as a “disease” and not a “vice” and thus progress began.
There’s a famous series on HBO called “Hookers on the Point”. The documentarian followed women over a 20 year period of time. He also made “Atlantic City Hookers”, along with another series on Hawaii. Then he went back again and did follow-ups with the same women on the same corners year after year after year. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmoEXtCvXBM Quite an interesting series of interviews – in that all these women who were swearing “I’m never doing this again” he would go back each time to find the same women on that same corner. One called “school teacher” was actually teaching children during the day and hooking at night.
Jim, if jobs and housing were the solution please explain Suzy Favor-Hamilton to me. This woman was married, famous, had millions of dollars in sponsorships, married, had a child, and absolutely no reason to fly to Las Vegas on the weekends and have men pay her $600 an hour for sex. Nothing to gain and everything to lose. http://nypost.com/2015/09/20/olympian-turned-hooker-has-lots-of-excuses-but-no-regrets/ She also admits in her book she received the best of psychiatric care in the country – and yet she STILL kept relapsing back into sex work. I can speak about her because she was not a member of our program. She also isn’t achieving long term abstinence from sex work either according to her own interviews and book.
Our program works. We have testimonials up at www.leavingtheliferadio.com None of those were done by women having a jail sentence hanging over their head. Professor Sharon Oselin completed a 10 year study into the top programs in this country – and ours came out as what made the difference over all. In fact, out of the programs she studied OUR program is the only one still operating in her book “Leaving Prostitution” written about her findings. The top expert on PTSD in the country, Dr. Thomas Neylan, reports “exposure therapy” is the best treatment long term for this issue – and our program is a form of his definition of this “exposure therapy”. We also address Stockholm Syndrome, pimp brainwashing, and many other underlying causes of why someone is involved in, and returns repeatedly to, the sex industry in many forms. Independent journalists have come to investigate us – and they write wonderful pieces on us at www.hightechmadam.com. That includes the chapter on us in John Quinones book “Heroes Among Us” about me.
Don’t make an ass out of yourself Jim. Against our strong advice – a group called CAASE went out and created programs just like what you’re doing. One of those programs was Project Rose in Arizona. It crumbled and the people involved are pretty much a laughing stock because when they came into Phoenix our program had been doing quite an effective job there. In 1990, Kathleen Mitchell wrote us from jail. We worked with her after her 52nd arrest and when she got out – she returned to that jail with a Prostitutes Anonymous meeting as we were called then. By 1991, she had created the Dignity Program. For over 20 years, from 1991 until 2011 – the Dignity Program was one of the top leading programs in the country in Phoenix. It started with street outreach, incorporated the women into our 12 step program, and was created a whole generation of recovery. By 2011 – there were so many women in their residential program that they had three houses operating, along with the drop-in crisis center, and the outreach teams.
Then Project Rose came in with their “diversion program” modeled identical to what you’re doing. By 2014, the whole program was in such shambles Dennis Hof came in offering them money to open brothels in town because of all of the relapses. Documentaries were made about how horrible this program was like “No Human Involved”. Monica Jones was leading a protest that a cast member from “The Walking Dead” came in to support and another documentary was made about what a joke Project Rose was. I want you to hear out of one woman’s mouth who was a part of the whole downfall what it was like when Project Rose came into town with a program like you’ve started there - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_TD_X3uOiA It’s not good.
Now duplicate that by every city this CAASE tried this same model in which included Division 17 in Chicago, Illinois. There were 10 other states they set these up in, against our advice, and they failed miserably. They lost millions of dollars in grants and donations, many many people who were supporting the work before, they’ve even lost federal grants for trafficking work. All because they wanted to approach this issue the way you’re embarking upon it now – and with excluding us.
I’m going to ask you a no brainer here – how far do you think you’d get helping an alcoholic without even cracking an AA Big Book, let alone referring them to, and incorporating them into, Alcoholics Anonymous? Hey I saw the same thing here in Los Angeles in the 1980’s. I got blown off here by a program that was coming into town, giving the prostitutes drug treatment, jobs, counseling, the whole nine yards. I got a call from the Sheriff and the Chief of Police two years later reporting they were now arresting prostitutes who had jobs and were off drugs. IT DOESN’T WORK JIM.
What you will do is force these women into becoming more vulnerable to sex traffickers because they won’t want to get arrested again. You might not seem them again – but that might be because they’ll be dead, or their pimp will be traveling the circuit with them – moving from town to town week to week so the cops don’t catch on. That or you’ll just make them “smarter” and join sites like Ashley Madison, or go to work at the local strip club where they’ll just turn their tricks in the VIP rooms.
Jim – our program is national. We’ve been here since 1987 and we’re still here. We don’t parade around at your meetings because guess what? WE’RE ANONYMOUS.
So how about you consider doing what the most successful programs at this are doing – and that’s coordinate your work with ours here atwww.sexworkersanonymous.com Otherwise, everyone over there is going to get burned out, frustrated, and in the next year to two years – you’ll drop everything and walk away. I assure you if it was as easy as getting a job or housing – we wouldn’t have this problem in the first place as I’m sure these women if they’re smart enough to find a trick – they’re smart enough to find the want ads and talk managers into housing. Some of them I’d bet have bigger houses than yours in some cases.
I’ve enclosed a flyer you can freely copy and distribute. IF you need more materials – I’ll be happy to send them. We have materials and resources you don’t have – and won’t because they can’t be published anywhere. For one, we have the 24/7 hotline answered by someone who has been in complete recovery for over 10 years (including drugs). We have “sponsors” we can pair with each women who has “been there” and come through that won’t accept their excuses. They can’t pull the “you don’t understand” game. Our program has been developed to the point where we have an extremely high success rate and we created the first classes in the country for other counselors in how to work with this community effectively. In other words, we have a whole “program” designed just for them that’s been tested and shown to work over three decades now we can put them through that each woman can work through on an individual basis, in their own time, etc. We have a list of employers who will hire even with a criminal background, and even if there’s porn of them currently online, a list of landlords willing to work with them, and another list of drug programs offering scholarships for free treatment. This doesn’t even touch that we have volunteer attorney’s and paralegals to help them with restraining orders, evictions, and expunging old prostitution charges so they can get licenses to work – as well as therapists who are skilled in more than just PTSD, but also Stockholm Syndrome and brainwashing that not only the pimps can do to them – but the streets do also. Because if you don’t address the brainwashing – they will return every single time to prostitution no matter how many times you pull them out and help them.
As for “trafficking victims” we’ve yet to see someone who self-identifies as a trafficking victim. Studies have proven us out that they don’t identify by that term – whether it’s denial or just a language and cultural gap. It might be that their pimp or trafficker has a different kind of hold over them than a simple gun to the head. In our experience, 99 percent of actual victims won’t identify as such to law enforcement or other outsiders for one reason or another – but they will level with us once they know what they tell us is confidential, and we’ve “been there” so we know how to help. We are the founders of the modern trafficking movement – and to date not one of our victims has relapsed nor been found by their pimp again to return to the streets or captivity.
But all of this is when working in cooperation, and partnership, with local agencies such as you’ve already started to put together over there. What we do is fill in those missing gaps to pull it all together. I attached a quote from a woman in another program in “Leaving Prostitution” that gives you an idea how it all works together for their best results.
NOW you know why I say "DOES IT MATTER?" with respect to whether a girl like this was being pimped or not? What's getting lost in all this drive for trafficking money is those in prostitution who are there because they need help. THIS is what happens when lines are drawn between "okay this girl is a victim" and "this girl isn't a victim" and "this is who we're going to help" and "this is who we're going to treat like a monster".
IT'S BULLSHIT. IT DOESN'T MATTER! We ALL need HELP and should be treated equally and getting help EQUALLY.
I was told the girls' attorney was Louise Johnson in Grand Rapids. So I did a search and found -
In Michigan, it is "standard operating procedure" to allow those convicted of prostitution who have children, or HIV, or other conditions that would make a mandatory jail term difficult for them to attend www.sexworkersanonymous.com as adults.
Granted, we do normally only work with adults because our program is built for adults in that we don't allow in outsiders like social workers, parents, probation officers, and others who are attending with juveniles. We send juveniles to www.childrenofthenight.org whose founder, Lois Lee, is also an attorney. She is an attorney because most juveniles who are prostitutes are usually done so not only by force - but by those closest to them like parents, foster parents, group homes, social workers, etc., and she often has to take custody of them to get them to safety. CON is a residential program and would have flown this girl to them at her expense.
These are things ANYONE working on a case like this should know ESPECIALLY if she's going to be running for Congress after a girl like this was allowed to be sent to jail WHEN IT WAS COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY.
I mean are you telling me that the authorities over there couldn't figure out that yes she's a juvenile, but if she's tried as an adult, and has two children, then there's no legal reason why she couldn't have been offered what other adults in Michigan, and others states across the USA, are offered - and that's to come to our program instead of jail? I mean if they weren't going to send her to Children of the Night as a juvenile - then why not send her to us as an adult then? This case doesn't compute to me OTHER than they're saying "oh well she's not got a pimp behind her so we're going to treat her like an adult criminal". That's what seems to have happened here. Only problem with that logic is that adults in Michigan are being sent to our program, and many can't even sign off on probation until they do! So what happened here?
SOMEONE needed to get on the phone with us before this happened. Now our program has had people remanded over to us once they have been incarcerated - but that's been where one of our members has been able to physically go and pick them up from the jail or courtroom. Something a little hard to do at this stage in the game. Someone needs to help me get ahold of her judge, or her attorney - and let's see what we can do to get her out. Money isn't going to get her out because that's not going to change the law. However, we might need money to send a SWA member to the jail to get her out of there and into a residential program - which we can do.
What really burns my ass is that 300 people signed a petition rather than picked up a phone to call us knowing that we routinely, and for 30 years now, have done alternative sentencing? WTF?
You know what this reminds me of? When Judge Voy decided he wanted to raise $2,000,000. That's when the referrals to us, and the referrals to Children of the Night stopped and instead he started locking up juvenile females in the Caliente jail. Then he called up the press and said "oh my isn't this terrible?" and "gee we have no where else to send them" and "give me $1,000,000 to open up a house for them". Blood money. He got his five acres and close to the mil and where's the program Edward Voy? In the meantime, the girls were sent over to the Rawes Nelson Mental Health Center and given housing as long as they took experimental medications. Only we found out the counselors, and the center - hadn't been licensed in four months to operate. They weren't getting paid by Medicaid either because they were experimenting on these girls. Reminds me of the documentaries I've seen about what Hitler did to the Jews.
Only what they're doing to women in this country is the crime. Will someone help me get in touch with her attorney or the court and let me figure out why if she was "tried as an adult" she was not offered the same "alternative to incarceration" that adults are then?
Care about sex trafficking victims? Then care about these refugees who face the same risks. There is no difference in the risk these women face when performing sex work. Each is putting their life at risk - and that of their children. There is no pimp behind this woman - but she needs our help just the same. If I could speak her language - I would reach out to her to help. In www.sexworkersanonymous.com we do not care if you are trafficked or not. If you want help to get out of sex work and we can speak your language - our program is here for you. Help us find translators. Do you speak another language? Please get in touch with us.