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Tuesday, March 15, 2016


Dear Peg:

I'm writing about Latesa Clay - a girl who at 15 years of age, and a mother of two, was tried as an adult on a prostitution charge. At the age of 15 - I would assume she would have been offered a chance to go to the program for rehabilitation. They've been taking in girls like her since 1979 you know - at no charge to the state or the girl or boy also.  

But when she was tried as an adult - I don't understand why our program, was not called. For years now, I've been told that one can't graduate probation in the state of Michigan without showing a letter from me they've attended at least one year of our meetings. I've been writing these letters for a while now verifying attendance of our Michigan members so I am pretty sure I've been told this was a requirement at one time for those arrested on, or convicted of, prostitution where they're given a two year probation in counseling in the place of being incarcerated.

But for some mysterious reason - all of our phone calls from the probation department stopped about a year ago. No one has called to tell me why the calls stopped suddenly but then I heard about Latesha Clay and a diversion program being started in Battle Creek that started the same time our calls stopped - a program we were not incorporated into I'd like to add.

So I don't know what's going on - but our program is the one who created the first program recognizing that those arrested on these charges needed help and not incarceration in some cases and we've been working with courts all over the USA to get these men and women the services needed. Hence why we formed as a 12 step program - to be allowed to do that under the laws already passed by AA and NA. We've been doing this since 1987 - and it was our work which made the Trafficking Act of 2000 even possible.

I read this article about it and since I'm hearing that more and more juveniles are now being charged as adults in order to be charged because of not wanting to charge juveniles for some reason - this means more of these juveniles are going to be in need of our 12 step program. I'm sorry but if you're an alcoholic - I don't care how good of a treatment program or counselor you have - you're going to need to incorporate Alcoholics Anonymous. The same for those coming out of the sex industry in all it's forms - they need to be talking to those in recovery also.

However, it was created for adults who being of legal age have the ability to walk away from a bad situation. Our program was not created for 15 year olds, nor 15 year olds with two children, who don't have the mental capacity to be able to walk away from a bad situation.

Meaning if we're going to start getting juvenile referrals - then I need to make some adjustments to our program along those lines. So I was wondering if we could open up a dialogue about this situation because the last place that girl should be at 15 is in jail, and her children in foster care where they're even more likely to become victims of trafficking also.

Please call me any day at (702) 468-4529.

Jody Williams

PS - Are you old enough to remember what happened when the Juvenile Justice Act of 1974 called to stop arresting children on drug charges? Do you remember that every drug dealer started recruiting children to work for them then because they got a slap on the hands instead of serious jail time like the adults? Now why would they recruit an adult who would go off on serious jail time when they could corrupt a child to do their dirty work and get a slap on the wrist?

Meaning you are aware that if you continue with this policy of not arresting juveniles on prostitution charges then you are painting a bulls-eye right on them for pimps? Either way, you don't have enough resources for them. Not enough group homes, foster homes, etc. At least through our 12 step program - we were able to get them into the services they needed just like the addicts are in drug court. But I warn you - if you continue on with this policy of announcing you're not going to charge juveniles - you not only put a target on them for pimps to come after them as more desirable than adults - but you are risking more juveniles being charged as an adult which is a crime in itself. I studied diversion programs that had been tried for years before opening our program in 1987. They failed universally. You can no more treat prostitution with jobs, housing and pills and expect it to help someone get out of sex work anymore than you can do the same with an addict and think they'll get clean. Just my opinion.

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