These past 24 hours have been crazy. I went to the State House to testify at the prostitution bill hearing. I sort of heard last minute, so I didn’t have much time to prepare. Sometimes that is better. You get to talk straight from your heart that way. I testified against the prostitution bill. I had signed up to testify against DaSilva’s brothel bill, but at the beginning of the hearing he removed the bill from the committee, so all that was left was JoAnne Giannini’s bill.
I did not want to testify against Gianinni’s bill, she was in my film. (Happy Endings? where I interviewed many people on both sides of the issue, and in reviews I have been called unbiased, a fact I am proud of) However I did testify. I felt I owed it to the women who were in my film who were “behind closed doors” and working in the spas. They have not had a voice at the hearings and because I have met so many, seen what they go through in the raids, and know if the law does get changed they will be arrested, I decided to testify on their behalf.
Testifying is interesting, you can say basically what you want and then the reps grill you with questions. I started off by saying I don’t understand why every year the legislation does hearings on the prostitution law and human trafficking at the same time, it seems like they think the two go hand and hand. Why don’t we look at human trafficking seperatly? Lets look at women who clean houses on the East Side of Providence, or the Russian Nanny’s who take care of the wealthy resident’s children. I believe that those women might complain about working conditions more than the women in the spas. I know the women in the spas, the ones I know are not trafficked. They make tons of money, their biggest complaint is not working conditions, but police harassment and raids.
After testifying I went out to a club to see my brother’s band Kicking Hole. I couldn’t believe it when I saw my own Senator Jamie Doyle walk in (his father is the mayor of Pawtucket) and I did talk to him a few years ago when I started this film. The funniest this is I had the picture above on my phone. As this past election was historic with our first African American president, I took a picture of the ballot. Like I do in every election, I had to write in my name on one of the write in sections. It just so happened to be Jamie Doyle was not running against anyone, so I wrote my name in. I walked up to him and showed him the picture on the phone and asked “Is this you on the ballot?” he laughed and said yes. I told him I had just sent him a letter, the Clean Water Action people were in my hood and I donated $25 and had to write a letter to my reps so he should be expecting one from me about mercury thermometers. He laughed, said he wouldn’t help me because I didn’t vote for him. He was a cool guy, when we were done chit chatting he walked over to his friends and as he walked by one guy I said “Do you know this guy” and the guy said “No” and I said “He is going to be running for governor, he is the Senator from my district.” I figured there are so many people who are saying they are running for Governor, why not throw him into the race.
Then today the prostitution “loophole” bill was all over the radio. They even played a clip of me, albeit a bad clip. They do news updates every hour, and they would start off with a priest talking about human trafficking, and then a clip of me talking about the “economics of this legal business, a lot of money goes into these businesses and a lot goes out, do we really want to close down 30 businesses right now. The implications would spiderweb” It was a bad clip because it came right after a human trafficking clip, so it made me sound like trafficking is ok if you are making money off it…..how ridiculous is that?
I got to make up for it when the Buddy Cianci show was on and I called in to talk about the film. He was a great interviewer. He asked about trafficking, and I said I didn’t see any. He said “so it is just like they love their job”, and I said “Buddy, no one loves their job, they do it for money. Everyone works for money, not for fun”