Jody Williams first came to the public's attention during a high profile arrest in 1984. The media dubbed her "The High Tech Madam" because she was the first madam they'd ever arrested who kept her database of clients on a computer, and because her incall establishment had been rigged with hidden surveillance cameras as a means of security for her and her employees.
Jody was not the "stereotypical" woman one thinks about as being in prostitution - she was not a drinker, a drug abuser, nor did she have any relationship bearing any resemblance to a "pimp". In fact, Jody's mother was arrested with her and charged with "pimping" her because of the financial support Jody gave her mother.
This didn't mean she was the "Happy Hooker" either. For five straight years prior to her arrest - Jody sought out every possible treatment, therapy and even consulted with neurologists and hypnotists trying to find a way to break away from the sex industry. What had originally started out as just a "weekend thing" to pay her rent one month had turned into a lifestyle she found herself unable to break away from no matter how hard she tried.
While in sex work - Jody saw men, women and children being forced to "turn tricks" and pose/act in pornography by pimps and even organized traffickers who were selling people to overseas wealthy businessmen. Discovering quick the police were either refusing to help her, or they had their hands tied legally to what lengths they could go to, Jody started organizing rescue missions when she was still in the sex industry.
Jody got a break and was offered probation - but this meant she had to stay "out of trouble" and show the courts a paycheck stub for three years in order to avoid eight years in the federal penn. Being essentially forced out of the sex industry - she dove into a horrible depression.
This was in 1985 before most anti-depressants as we know them were invented - so she started 'self-medicating" with cocaine as a mood lifter. Being an addictive personality already - within less than a year Jody found herself with a $1500 a day habit.
Staggering into a Narcotics Anonymous meeting - Jody got clean on January 3, 1985. That was also the last day she engaged in any commercial sexual behavior. But drugs had been a minor off-ramp in her history - she still had all the years, trauma and issues surrounding her mother-daughter relationship which was greatly strained now she was no longer supporting her mother financially, to deal with.
Like most other 12 Step group founders - Jody had a "spiritual awakening" on August 15, 1987, where she felt God had told her to start Prostitutes Anonymous to not only help others get out of the sex industry - but also to find support for her ongoing recovery from sex work as well.
Surveying 1000's of male and female sex workers from streetwalkers to pimps to porn stars - Jody put together the Recovery Guide's 1st Edition in 1991. Copies of this book are still available.
Because of the way the internet has changed sex work - and with the new availability of anti-depressants along with new emerging therapies - Jody has updated the Recovery Guide. The name of the fellowship was also changed to Sex Workers Anonymous in 1995. (www.sexworkersanonymous.com)
Jody still continued to receive calls from men and women and/or their families wanting help to organize a rescue for sex trafficking victims. Since the calls started out infrequently - she continued these efforts in addition to her work developing and supporting SWA.
But in October of 2007 - the calls had just started coming in too many and too fast. In order to be more organized and to have more people involved with helping sex trafficking victims - Jody formed Trafficking & Prostitution Services or TAPS (www.tapsdirectory.org).
Because Jody has been successfully helping prostitutes and sex trafficking victims escape sex work and build new lives in recovery - she offers the benefit of her experience to others working with this community through lectures, workshops, classes, trainings, etc. She is currently organizing her knowledge into a series of webinars so the knowledge can be passed down to anywhere in the world where it's needed.
Jody has also been certified by the FBI as an "expert witness" in the brainwashing techniques pimps can use to make a victim think they are doing something of their own free will - but in reality they are not actually acting voluntarily. This has allowed her to testify in cases against pimps and traffickers in local, state and federal courts.
Besides writing the Recovery Guide - Jody is also writing a book on what she's learned helping sex workers, another one about her work rescuing sex trafficking victims, and her personal memoirs which includes stories of corruption in high places and why she doesn't believe Jeane Palfrey's death was a suicide. Now that Jeane has passed away - Jody can reveal they had a close friendship where they spoke almost daily for the last two years of Jeane's life by email and by phone.
If Jody can ever be of any assistance to you or your group, or if you have any questions, you may reach her at (702) 468-4529.