Wednesday, June 17, 2015


We've been accused of creating our program as a 12 step group as a way of saying that sex work is a "disease".  We do not believe that - and every group is different.   We've talked about groups like "Divorce Anonymous" as an example of people who are not "addicted" to divorce - but merely want to use a group to gather people together with a common interest in healing from divorce.  Others say that also is a "slam" on the industry.  However, we point you to this article on "Latins Anonymous" to illustrate that sometimes the groups are simply to "connect" to others.

Click here to see an article about such a group.

In other words, every 12 step group is different and NOT identical to Alcoholics Anonymous.  To see our history, you can follow the links below to see it's progression over the years from the founder's arrest - to where we are now.

For Jody's CV (Resume) - click here:   If you would like to read about the history of the sex trafficking movement - an article written by Jody is here:

You'll also see our name change over the years from "Prostitutes Anonymous" to "Sex Workers Anonymous".   Here's one of our early talk shows where we are going by "Prostitutes Anonymous":

Some of our older groups who have been meeting for over 20 years still go by our old name which we changed in 1995.  You'll note different people running different chapters in these articles.  This is because, like any other 12 step group, the local chapters are run by someone who lives in that area.  Not everyone likes to do interviews for the press - but for those who are trying to get a chapter going in their city you'll find articles on them.  Currently, we have 1,000's of members with chapters all across the USA, into Canada and now into five other countries. Our database of current members right now is 190,000 as of February of 2016.  We have over 30,000 subscribers to our blog at the moment also.  Our hotline has answered over 500,000 calls from what our phone records reveal as of 2015.  That's not counting how many emails and letters we've answered over these 30 years now.

We're working on a translation now for those countries of our literature.  Thanks to a wonderful member - we now have a Spanish and Russian translation of our "Recovery Guide" we're working on publishing.  If you find you're uncomfortable, or not getting what you need from a local meeting - just call our main office and we'll connect you to other members.   We have phone meetings for those who aren't near a local meeting you can attend from anywhere in the world you can get to a phone held every Saturday.

My Arrest - Note Name "Rene Le Blanc"
The DA was trying to protect me from murder attempts.
When you have a court date, your date is "public record" for anyone to see
you're coming to the courthouse.  They didn't want the liability of my
blood spilled on their courthouse step - so they placed my case under an "aka"
of a male name thinking this would protect me coming into my hearings.
You'll notice however they did not change my mother's name who was
joined with my case.  Meaning anyone could look up her name to find me. 
It was mistakes like that which did not make me trust the DA with my life.

Click here for full story -

Another Clipping of my arrest.  Here's the back story - we were being refused anywhere we ran for help.  The hospitals, drug treatment centers, even homeless and domestic violence shelters were refusing you if you were a prostitute, or they even suspected you were, especially if you had a record for prostitution.  Back in this day, if the police raided a brothel - the prostitutes were arrested that were merely in the property.  No questions were even asked if they were there by choice.  If they tried to defend they were there against their will - they were threatened into silence by the pimps.  Many hotels/motels even wouldn't rent to you, as well as many apartment buildings wouldn't rent to you unless you had a paystub, and if you had a record for prostitution.  There were many jobs you couldn't get with a record for prostitution, especially those that provided housing like an apartment manager job.  So where did we go?  The only other place in the world at that time was Children of the Night for juveniles that had opened in 1979.  So where did someone over 18 go?  Nowhere.  

I took a warehouse I had once used as an incall/theater operation and converted it into a safe house.  I had saved up enough money to return to school and had stopped working as a prostitute.  I had stopped running my ads, and cut off my phones.  A woman called me up saying her pimp had just broken her arm and nose so I went to pick her up in Lancaster, California where they didn't even have a domestic violence shelter.  She had a record for prostitution and was on probation so she couldn't find work either.  I put her up in the warehouse to heal because she also had two black eyes when I got her.  The pimp asked around for her, and people told him "she might be at the warehouse".  He tried to break in and couldn't because of the security we had.  So he called in a tip to the police we were "operating a brothel".

At midnight the police came and knocked.  She answered in her PJ's because it was midnight.  In the cops' mind, she was prostituting and she was arrested on the spot for prostitution.  Then the police tried to get her to charge me as her pimp because the lease was in my name.  Only she testified against her real pimp instead - so the charges against me were dropped.  However, my being arrested concerned many people that I would start "talking" about what I knew to them now I had their ear.  That's when I started getting shot at.  A girlfriend of mine who I had loaned her my car was killed when an illegal alien plowed into her t-bone style at 100 mph.  When he was arrested - he told cops he had "been hired" to do that job.  Meaning I had to go "off the grid" for a while until things calmed down.  But I was still getting calls for help from men and women.  Remember, I had opened the first "safe house" for adults now in this country and word had spread through the streets.  

Linda Lovelace had tried unsuccessfully in 1980 to convince America about sex trafficking in her book "Ordeal".  She had teamed up with the people who were putting together the Meese Report.  So I reached out to then California Attorney General Edwin Meese about the victims being arrested as criminals, including myself, and asked his advice to stop this.  He told me that he felt we, as a country, would never stop arresting prostitutes, and therefore I should consider adopting a 12 step program structure.  There were laws in place already because of Alcoholics Anonymous that would allow the court to consider these "extenuating circumstances" and allow them to have an "alternative to sentencing" without us having to have a PhD, a professor, or a center of some kind which would require millions of dollars to set up and wouldn't be national/international.   

After having a "spiritual awakening" I later learned was much like the ones Bill Wilson and Jimmy Kinnon had, I went ahead and launched "Prostitutes Anonymous" on August 15, 1987.  We were later renamed to "Sex Workers Anonymous" in 1995 because of the invention of webcamming.  This was bringing in members who were not only employed in the sex industry who were not having sex for money directly, but there were in fact people who were being trafficked in the webcam sites we found being locked in bedrooms and not let out.  In other words, there were sex workers and trafficking victims who were not having physical intercourse for money - so they weren't technically "prostitutes".   The term "trafficking victim" was not coined until after the Trafficking Act of 2000 was passed.  We formed in 1987.  So the language we used was "if you were forced" or "forced prostitution" because we didn't have words in a world that didn't believe this was even real before the federal recognition came with the Act passing in 2000.   Meaning that we were also the first putting survivors on TV, radio, and the press talking about this being a real thing, and calling upon the country to change to help us.  Thus the movement was born.  

Clipping about our sentencing.

To show the climate in Los Angeles in 1986, before we formed our program, the group "Black Coalition Fighting Back Serial Killers" was formed because "news and law enforcement were making insufficient efforts to find the killer because all but two of the victims were black".  The efforts of these vocal women led to the eventual arrest and incarceration of the man dubbed the "Grim Sleeper" by courageous people who kept fighting for justice for these victims.

 I've attached this article to show how supportive then mayor Tom Bradley, and Sheriff Gates, were of the problem prostitutes were facing.  This article shows that him, along with other politicians, and the sheriff, actually offered a reward to help find a killer who focused on prostitutes back then.  Los Angeles had a record number of killers back then targeting prostitutes - from the Hillside Strangler (who was actually two pimps), Green River Killer, Southside Slayer, and Night Stalker just to name a few who were widely publicized.  They say that because of the "crack cocaine epidemic over 100 prostitutes were murdered" in another article. 

I've also attached this link to show Tom's willingness to "cut through red tape to get things done".  I say this because when the HIV epidemic was raging and jails, hospitals, shelters, and treatment centers were refusing to admit prostitutes for fear of HIV/AIDS - he formed a board to find a way to coordinate services and create a solution to the problem.  Such as this shelter -   If he had said this was to play HIV + male prostitutes - it never would have opened!  Tom Bradley was truly a visionary in his concern for prostitutes.  Here's a letter from Ann Hayman, a woman who was on this board with us verifying this work -

Another article dated 1991 in Allentown, Pennsylvania.  However, it was falsely cited as being "created by Ruth Wernick".  When I discovered more falsehoods behind by back by Ruth like this one - I parted ways with her.  Her "Program for Female Offenders" folded a few months after I pulled out the meetings.  This was but one in a series of falsely reported articles on us to come.

Our program expanded into Allentown, Pennsylvania in 1990.  Here's an article in the Morning Call about the ground breaking program -

Canada 1990 Clip - Prostitutes Anonymous

Clipping about "Prostitutes Anonymous" in 1991

San Diego, California Chapter - 1991

Mary Bruno's Article in Redbook

1994 Article about Paige Latin in Canada. 

Canada Article with Paige Latin - or 

1999 Clipping about "Prostitutes Anonymous"

1999 Clipping about the program

 2000 Article about Phoenix Prostitutes Anonymous

Sex Workers Anonymous New York 2007

Kansas - 2007 (This article appeared in multiple papers nationally)

Bob Herbert - Salina Journal - 2007

(Note - this above article with Melissa Farley IS NOT what I was told I was appearing at to announce.  Nor what I agree to involve Kathleen Mitchell or Brenda Myers-Powell, two long standing members of our program who have identified in the press not only as members, but who also have said in different interviews they credit their recovery through our program.  Right after I was mike'd by the sound people, and the press was in front of us - Melissa asked me if I would "call to abolish the sex industry".  Of course I refused.  I've been calling for decriminalization of this industry since day one.  I've been doing that because one can't mount a proper defense one is a victim, not a criminal, when being charged as a criminal for prostitution.  

Also, how does one get the evidence and testimony against one's traffickers when prostitution is a crime?  Try getting someone to confirm you were being raped during a bank robbery!  Doesn't happen easily or regularly.  What Melissa did was she pulled the reporters into the hallway at this conference and put words into my mouth I did not even know were said until I went home and turned on the news.  I was so enraged at what she had done -I issued a public statement disconnecting from all relationship with her and also the formation of TAPS.  Thus the feud between her and I began which she carries out through smearing us from behind closed doors.  When I've caught her at this defamation - once she's served with legal notice she takes down all the evidence from online and then just continues through another avenue.

This is a clipping about Joe Conforte -
the man who I had to go up against as a "opponent"
to his views when he wanted to expand legal brothels
into California.  No one wanted to go up against him
producers would say - but me.  You can see why here.

2008 interview with Jody Williams by Phyllis Chester -

2011 article about Aubrey's appearance at the Nevada legislature.   She did three things that day - she (1) read a letter to the legislature from "us" about what we felt would help us, (2) gave an opposing opinion to brothel lobbyist George Flynt's testimony about expanding the brothels, and (3) she testified we were against AB67.  Note the differing view here between Ed's article in northern Nevada and the Review Journal who mentions not only nothing about her testifying against the brothel expansion, but it said there was "no opposition".  Isn't that a lie?   Here's what Aubrey talked about with respect to her experiences.  Am I against prostitution?  No.  But I am against this.

2010 Report (note: We did not give her consent to use any portion of our book in this report.  But she reprinted it with a credit - so it's legal.)

2012 "The Fix" article.  However, this is all wrong because the writer interviewed Brenda, rather than calling the office.  We are NOT for people who are "addicted" to prostitution.  Our members are those who "have a desire to leave the sex industry and find recovery".  Maybe 5 % of our members report they are "addicted" to prostitution.  We also don't know who he attended meetings with but we do NOT advise female members to take "chicken soup" to male members homes!

2013 Article on ABC News   We did not approve this interview.  Brenda seems to think changing the name to "Prostitution Anonymous" bypasses the injunction we gave her to stop granting interviews - but it doesn't.

2013 article about the first transgender meeting in the Chicago jail.

2014 Article in Chicago Tribune  This article is why we've served Brenda Myers-Powell with an injunction she's ignoring.  First, we NEVER let media into one of our meetings, jail or not.  Second, we NEVER let cameras into our meetings nor photograph our members full-face such as this.  We don't know if these women have a pimp looking for them or not - plus this photo could prevent them from finding a job or housing.  Third, how are they going to say "no" to the request to be filmed?  It's the jail asking them - so we feel consent to be filmed as obtained under duress.  Fourth, this article "affiliates" us with another program which is against our traditions.  Fifth, they have received grant money for this which means they are now "professional" which is another violation of our traditions.  Sixth, in a jail setting we do not ask questions about anything that could be a crime as this is a violation of one's 5th amendment right not to "incriminate" themselves.  This is why our official meeting formats state "we do not care who you worked for, how much you made, or what you did" - and why we only do speaker or step study meetings inside of a jail.  This article is NOT reflective of our program in any way.  In fact, if any of these women would like to contact us to file a class action suit against Brenda, and the jail for exploiting them this way - please get in touch.

July 2014 Radio Interview with Jody Williams, Founder & Director =

 Page from "Somebody's Daughter" by Julian Sher

More about us in Arizona (2010)

 A "thank you" from a woman we helped found online.

Sharon Oselin's Book "Leaving the Sex Industry" 2009

John Quinones from ABC's "What Would You Do?"
wrote in the 2009 book "Heroes Among Us"
about Jody and SWA after coming to Las Vegas.

Our 1991 program in Vancouver Canada spawned PEERS in Canada -

Celia Williamson's CV showing her starting  a Prostitutes Anonymous Meeting in 1994 in Ohio -

Second Chance - Ohio Prostitutes Anonymous Meeting

Supreme Court Brief quoting our "Recovery Guide" - and my letter to the Supreme Court Justices about this Brief

Note: we are tracking down videos of our TV appearances as I speak.  If you have any of these tapes, we'll buy them off you or please donate them.  We lost all our original tapes in the 1994 Sherman Oaks earthquake.

2013 - Chicago group -

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