Tag Archives: women

Brilliant 16 year old survivor tells us what helped her overcome sex trafficking

22 Mar

Tina Frundt, founder of Courtney's House, which helps trafficked youth, trafficking, prostitution, child sex trafficking, exploitation, love, warmth, sex trafficking survivors united

I just read a powerful piece by a 16-year old sex-trafficking survivor named Linda  She’s writing about what helped her overcome sex trafficking:  Courtney’s House and it’s founder, my dear friend and sister survivor Tina Frundt.  Linda is brilliant — look at how wonderfully she writes!  She’s going places.  This makes me so happy I just had to share it with you.   This young lady has endured more terrible things than most people experience in a life time, and she’s transformed it into strength and grace.  She’s trying to get people to vote for Tina for the Diane Von Furstenberg awards, so Courtney’s house can win $50,000 to help more survivors.  Please join me in reading Linda’s beautiful words and celebrating her big voice.  Please vote for Tina Frundt, one of the most trusted and beloved survivor advocates in the world.

BY: LINDA AGE 16YRS

Not everybody knows what some teens go through nowadays. Sex trafficking happens because of various reasons. We as teens want the warmth of a loving family and protective parents. If we don’t get what we were born to deserve we look for love and affection from others, but some people take that for granted because as a young child we are easily manipulated.

Thanks to women like Tina Frundt there is so much support given to young girls & boys that have experienced sex trafficking. Tina Frundt has a program that is named Courtney’s House. This is a great support system because whatever you need they are there! And if you need to talk, someone is always available. Tina has dedicated her life to this cause to help sex trafficking survivors out in the streets. Having the help of somebody who lived the same thing you went through is important to help guide you, because there is so much to understand. Understanding each other brings a big bond between Tina and the rest of the girls & boys.

I am very happy that I came to Courtney’s House and realized that there was nothing to be afraid of. I was afraid to live my own life, and I was very anti-social in a way because I was so used to keeping my guard up all the time. Being trafficked impacted me so greatly that all I cared about was money and getting the day over with. Things seemed endless to me every day of my life. I didn’t want to give myself up, and I was afraid to get arrested or killed. I became part of Courtney’s House after everything not just because the program was there; I also felt lonely and thought that nobody ever experienced what I had been through. But thanks to supportive people helping me find Courtney’s House, I was able to become part of the family.

Ever since then, my life changed drastically and it feels so good to talk freely about things that went wrong.  Even from this day it still hurts within me, but I thank God he put TINA in my life because she is a wonderful woman that I look up to. She will ALWAYS inspire me; things in life aren’t impossible when you have people supporting you always!! These are words purely from the bottom of my heart!!

SO PLEASE VOTE FOR TINA, BECAUSE THAT MEANS YOU ARE HELPING SURVIVORS LIKE ME!! HTTP://DVFAWARDS.COM/

 Read this wonderful post here.

Pimps Posing as “Sex Worker Activists”

24 May

Stella Marr, sex work, pimps, swop usa, robyn few, margo st. james, conflict of interest, oppression, feminism, sex work, ptsd, trauma

Well meaning people think most “sex workers activist” organizations/unions speak for women in prostitution. They are mistaken. A shocking number of these “sex worker” organizations were started by women and men who are admitted pimps and madams, or have been convicted of pimping, pandering, or conspiracy to promote prostitution. These people call themselves ‘sex workers’ but it’s a ruse. It’s an unacceptable conflict of interest. These organizations and their ‘partners’ and affiliates cannot be allowed to speak for women in prostitution or collect funds on their behalf. Any NGO, university, college or nonprofit organization that engages with these pimp-affiliated organizations or their partners is assisting them in this misrepresentation.   I’m sure there are some well-meaning people trying to good within these groups.   But with pimp founders and leaders,  these groups mostly advocate  on behalf of the predators who profit off of sexual exploitation; they rarely  help women in prostitution.

A pimp is someone who makes money from another’s prostitution. A madam is a female pimp. Whether they call themselves managers, brothel owners, escort agency owners — they are all pimps. As a survivor of ten years of trafficking/prostitution, I have a right to use this word. If someone poisons another in cold blood, it doesn’t matter if they call themselves a life extinguisher or claim they’re an innovative longevity re-allocation businesswoman. They’re still a murderer. A pimp is still a pimp, no matter what name they peddle.

But pimps don’t like that word. So these founders and leaders of ‘sex worker activist’ organizations say they’re sex workers. They appropriate the identity of those they exploit. It’s a bit like a plantation owner in blackface pretending to be one of the slaves they oppress. They’re trying to steal our survivor voices.

Douglas Fox, the main ‘activist’ at the International Union of Sex Workers, claims to be a male sex worker. But he and his partner John Dottery were featured as the owners of a large UK escort agency in the British documentary ‘The Escort Agency.’ On a website he co-edits Fox states his partner owns an escort agency and argues ridiculously that pimps are ‘sex workers.’ He also states ” The fact that paedophiles produce and distribute and earn money from selling sex may make them sex workers.”

The first so-called ‘sex worker activist’ group in the United States was Whores, Housewives and Others (WHO) which eventually became COYOTE. It was founded by Margo St. James, who like Douglas Fox claimed to be a prostitute when she was actually a pimp. She’s admitted to being convicted of running a disorderly house — a brothel – in 1962.

The Sex Workers’ Outreach Project USA (SWOP USA) was founded by Robyn Few the year after she pled guilty to conspiracy to promote prostitution via a multistate prostitution ring, a federal felony.   This means that like St. James, Few was also convicted of  charge related to pimping.  As a survivor of ten years of prostitution myself, I would never feel safe around male or female pimp (madam).  Most women in prostitution wouldn’t. Thus  organizations like SWOP USA  can’t speak for us. Few calls herself a ‘sex worker’ most of the time so the conflict of interest isn’t obvious. But the SWOP website makes a point of acknowledging her conviction. Why? Because pimps across the country are using SWOP to connect with Johns while they recruit vulnerable young women. This isn’t activism, it’s marketing while lobbying for pimp interests.

SWOP USA and COYOTE aren’t  the only ‘sex worker activist’ organizations founded by a female pimp. The Erotic Service Providers Union is led by Maxine Doogan who was convicted of running an escort service. Like Robyn Few, Maxine Doogan poses as a ‘sex worker. She claims that legislation which helps pimps is good for women in prostitution. Terri Jean Bedford, who was widely represented in the Canadian media as an advocate of women in prostitution, was convicted of running a brothel. So she’s also a pimp.

Executive Director of COYOTE/ Los Angeles Norma Jean Almodovar was convicted of pandering while she was working as a cop. As such she is part of a long tradition of police officers involved in the prostitution of other women. It’s an unholy alliance that sends women in prostitution the message they can’t get out and they can’t get help. Like Robyn Few, Norma Jean Almodovar calls herself a ‘sex worker,’ but details the pandering conviction on her nonprofit organization website.

Now when a survivor of trafficking/prostitution such as myself happens to bring up this conflict of interest, the parties in question react as if viciously attacked. But there’s nothing personal about saying someone has a conflict of interest. It’s a statement of existing conditions not a vendetta. The majority stockholders of Walmart can’t speak for the company’s minimum wage employees because what benefits those stakeholders may be bad for the workers. But in the ‘sex worker activist’ movement, pimps pretend to be workers when in fact they are management — the ones in control.

No wonder SWOP -USA, COYOTE, The Erotic Services Providers’ Union, the International Union of Sex Workers as well as their partners and affiliates which include the Desiree Alliance, the Red Umbrella Project, and Prostitutes of New York (PONY) support policies that protect pimps rather than women in prostitution. PONY actually claims to “reach out” to Madam members.   I’m sure there are well-meaning people not connected with pimping trying to good within these groups.

We trafficking/prostitution survivors have had enough.   We’re going to start calling out the NGOS, universities, and academics who tacitly support and encourage these pimp-led groups. The concept of fruit of the poisonous tree applies here. Any organization that partners or collaborates with these groups is tainted by association They can’t speak for us or collect funds on our behalf.

To be clear:  There is a position in a pimp-led ‘family’ called a “bottom bitch.”  These women are subject to brutal violence and end up ‘assisting’ the pimp.  These women are victims in a tragic domestic violence situation, not pimps.   But there’s a world of difference between a ‘bottom bitch” and a madam running a brothel or  escort service, who is usually associated with organized crime and can enforce any threat.

Terrible Beauty: Prostitution & the Inadequacy of Language

23 Feb
nelson mandela, hero, angel k, prostitution, human trafficking, sex work, sex industry, sex worker, trauma, torture, ptsd

My Hero

Survivor Angel K’s writing is searing and fearless.  In a recent post up at her blog Surviving Prostitution and Addiction she describes the after-effects of prostitution — the flashbacks, the startle response, the sleepless due to the terrible dreams.  Researchers have found the women in prostitution suffer from the same levels of trauma symptoms as the victims of state-sponsored torture.  It  forever changes how we face the world.  After going through something like state-sponsored torture or trafficking/prostitution everything you do is an act of will — you must continually summon a new being  from your fragments. Yet as the survivors of torture or trafficking/prostitution rebuild their lives, their selves, their voices  — they can develop extraordinary abilities to connect with, inspire, and understand others.  Nelson Mandela exemplifies this type of rebirth.

Most everyone understands that Mandela’s experiences of being held 27 years in a prison infamous for torture make him unique.  When he was finally released few denied the vast injustice done to him.  No one expected him to act like everyone else.  Instead South Africa and the world stepped back, and waited to see how this extraordinary man would transform the terrible wrongs he’d been through — they gave him a chance to bring something new into being.

It’s my hope that the public will start seeing us trafficking and prostitution survivors as people society has wronged in a similar manner.  I hope they’ll understand we’ve been changed by the pain and harshness we’ve experienced.  Public denial of the violence we experience and whore-blaming forces many of us into hiding.  If this stopped, we survivors would be empowered to bring something new and beautiful into being.

With exquisite precision, Angel K writes of  how it feels to live inside this trauma and form a new self and voice from the fragments.  Here’s an excerpt:

 The images remain, technicolour, replaying when I sleep or sometimes anyway. Something triggers me and I’m gone, magically transported back there, no tardis required.
I sleep with the light on, and barely even then. Scared of dreaming, but scared of my thoughts lying awake hour after hour. The night looms, interminable, the fragile grip on sanity of the day stretched to a mere thread, at breaking point. The body, that is to say my body – the splitting I did to survive what they did to me continues – doesn’t help. Muscles tense and tire, old injuries ache, and now the exhaustion from night after night of broken sleep has taken it to the point of fainting, of collapse. Both body and mind work against me, telling me I am in danger now, making me re-experience what happened then now.
Many thanks to Rebecca Mott  for our conversations on Mandela which inspired this post.

Survivor Rebecca Mott on the Terrifying Mundane

17 Feb

A terrifying "new normal"

Friend, colleague and fellow survivor Rebecca Mott has a bold and mesmerizing new post up.  She writes of the deadness so necessary to survival when one is prostituted — how violence and brutality feels so ordinary that, as she puts it, even hell is boring.  Here’s an excerpt:

The years that others framed as adult prostitution – in that framing it all become my own good or bad choices, it is framed that an adult prostitute must want it if she does not walk out, and of course it always framed that all prostitutes are just dirty whores who are addicted to nasty sex.

In that frame – all violence is made into glamour, all degradation is chosen, and all fear is said to be fake.

In that frame, truth is abandoned in case it drives the prostitutes into self-harm or suicide.

I want to attempt to reach into the middle of that time – as it was, not how others wanted it be, not with my own safe hindsight – but inside that middle.

My middle like the millions of the tortured was mainly full of deep boredom, endless repetitive ways of being sexually tortured, and long times of forcing my mind to block my reality.

My middle is full of short moments of finding I has some humanity left – moments connecting to as song in the background, moments walking back at night and enjoying the silence of a city, moments when my mind was saying “enough already” but still my body was being tortured.

They were the moments that were the force that made the person who now writes this blog. I could do nothing to save my young adult – but now in this writing all I can do is repay her intense courage and strength of will by writing as close to her truths as I can.

I do not write just for my self and my past – I write for the millions of adult prostituted women who are abandoned because it is decided they must have chosen their lifestyle. I write for those abandoned prostituted women closed behind wall in indoors prostitution.

I write to make the invisible visible – and to say just stop turning your heads and consciences away from these women. As you decide they must be alright – they are being routinely raped, they are made into living hard-core porn, they are mentally abused till their sense of self is destroyed, and they murdered on a scale that you choose not to imagined.

You might kill me

7 Feb

I pity you

though you might kill me

 

I am a piano and the keys

at my crotch are seaglass

Worn away by pound

by touch

 

Manhattan makes wraiths

of women like me

At 4 AM this January morning

 

I’ve searched the interstellar dark

even though I’ve heard

Once torn away

like lost summer nights

Time won’t come back.

 

Time lived between my legs

Till they ripped Time out,

leaving me

Only the Immediate

and Eternity

 

In August the wanting sex

from stoop-sitting boys

pulses rhythmic as traffic

Hyacinth kisses shiver in thick

shadows behind their knees

 

Now Ice rusts their throats

 

How many voices are impaled on the

razorwire strangling vacant lots?

 

How many murdered girls cry out

from the park’s dark clarinet?

 

These nights I walk through ice,

dragging sleep meant for men impaled

by the view out their window

Men drowned in constellations

shot dead as they fled the sky

 

Tongues wait in the

fire escape shadows

Torn out like Time

they’ll never speak

 

I am a piano and the

keys at my crotch

are sidewalks

jellyfished with brine

 

I knock hoping you won’t open

but if you do I hope you won’t

see the murdered clarinets

in the dark behind my teeth

 

You’re wearing the thick terry robe

barely tied

Your room moisturized with the luxury

of a gardenia holding absence

 

You give me your fear and

your voice’s glass dust

in a box

You will make me  open carefully

 

I can tell by your eyes

you’ve seen the vacant buildings’

toothless mouths

 

I can tell by the tense of your lips

you’ve heard the murdered girls cry

As vacuumous cold

hides thick within your cheeks

 

The dullness at the windows

is all that remains

of the flypaper that once wrapped you,

That you can’t rinse away

from your sleep

 

I am a mirror that wants to incarnate

All  the tenderness

We’ve never found before it smashes

 

The closer you come the more

Space inside me explodes

against my throat

 

You live in my thighs and aching fingers

a skyscraper of  lack

I rub serpentines into your shoulders

You rub money into my hips

Your pubic hair sticks to my cheek

 

Pinning me to the mattress

Is how you refuse to use a condom

 

This darkness is not as light to us

though sometimes

I see light bubbling

from my breath

During my dives

in the Night underneath you

 

Fling me across the bed

in rips of shipwrecked sail

Till I cling in curling seaweed at your feet

 

I Implore you

 

Throw me back into the Oceanic night

Which is my only Freedom from you

 

Where I wait for  the first

panted breaths between stars

And gulp cold-throated rain

 

This is a sketch of what it feels like to be trafficked in prostitution in Manhattan