Tag Archives: politics

People Over Politics

PawnsThis morning, 30 women from spas all over Rhode Island met to discuss the upcoming prostitution legislation.  These are the women who will be effected by the change in the law, and their voices must be heard.

Rhode Island Coalition Against Human Trafficking was at the meeting, offering services to the women.  All women were given a card with a number to call if they need help, and some of the women spoke to RICAHT one on one about their personal situations.

Three legislators were also present to ask questions of the women and answer questions about the legislation.  While there will be hearings on Tuesday and Wednesday on this legislation, the new bill has not been made available to the public.

Many of the women voiced concern over how the law will be implemented and what punishments they will face.

(The Providence Journal and WRNI were present and I am sure they will have a report on what they saw.  WRNI recorded audio of the meeting)

The legislators explained to the women that this legislation is a response to the public outcry in the Providence Journal to change the law.  They see this legislation as a response that will put the needs of the community above the safety and needs of the women.

This public outcry has been led by Donna Hughes, and we all know her version of reality is not based in truth.  (A great post on Hughes and Citizens Against Trafficking most recent propaganda riddled with inaccuracies  is shown here).

While there are many reasons not the pass this bill (economic impact, civil rights, and plain old common sense) there is only one reason to pass this bill….Politics.

There is a saying that the squeaky wheel gets the oil, and Hughes has been squeaking for the past 4 months.  This squeak will get her oil this week, and the women of the spas are the pawns in this whole game of politics. With a bill that will have a huge economic and human impact, it is time that we put people over politics.

Smoke them out?

Smoke them out?Is Rhode Island becoming Iraq?  I was not kidding when I talked about this connection before.

I always thought that it was interesting that George Bush repeat 9/11 and Iraq in every speach, and years later he said there is no connection between 9/11 and Iraq.  It is pretty similar to the whole prostitution and human trafficking link that has been push and pushed over and over again.

Now, we have Senator Jabor adopting some of the speech that George Bush is famous for.  I can remember George Bush running around saying things like “wanted dead or alive” and “we’re gonna smoke them out” when he was referring to Iraq and Bin Laden.  I guess Senator Jabour is in the minority of people who thinks this was a good tactic.     In today’s projo Senator Jabour says:

Jabour had said last week that property owners are the “silent force” against his bill, adding that he wanted to “smoke out the skunks and see who’s against it.”‘

I will say it again.  I am against any bill that will go after women, and now we are using them as the bait?!?   It is incredible that other places in the world are moving forward, and Rhode Island is moving backwards.

Over 63% of people who responded to the poll on the Projo said they are not for re criminalizing.  The people who were for making prostitution illegal wanted to change the law for moral reasons.  Jabour wants to go after the landlords?  Way to miss the point Senator Jabour.

Todays vote to re-criminalize prostitution

The VoteToday I returned to the state house to watch the vote.  There were a few represenatives who tried to delay the vote and have another hearing.  It seemed reasonable, the bill had changed 3 of 4 times while we were waiting to begin.  The secretary handed out the bill, then came back around and said this is the revisions, after a few times of replacing the bill with new print outs a few people were saying “Is this the ninth version?”

There were a crowd of people, some young women wearing stickers that said “vote no” who represented the Brown Coalition against Human Trafficking.  Steve Brown from the ACLU and Mimi Budnick from D.A.R.E., (both who are in Happy Endings?) were there.

After voting down hearing the bill, the vote went pretty much as expected.  4 people did vote against the bill, but it passed.  Rep. Gianinni was there watching the fruit of her 4 year labor finally make it to the floor.  I went over to speak to her, and she was not happy to see me.  I gave her a card, and invited her to the film, and she said “I don’t know, I am probably represented horribly”.  I don’t know how people always come to the conclusion before they even watch the film.

I have gotten emails from Johns, berating me for “trying to shut down the massage parlors”.  I don’t know why people jump to conclusions before even seeing the film.  I may sound opinionated on the topic now, but while I was making the film I was just trying to get the truth.  I don’t portrayed or represented anyone.  Everyone represents themselves.

Gianinni being interviewed When I did the film, I got everyone from the police, legislators, johns, women working in the massage parlors.  The person who I identified with the most was Nancy, who had been involved in the human trafficking coalition and then testified against the prostitution bill.  I felt like she was a kindred spirit, I would have been her if I didn’t have a camera in my hand.  She was one of the first people who is in the film who I let watch it.  She even reviewed the film.  Today she blogged about her experience.  I think everyone who has been involved in passing this law, either on moral grounds or “human trafficking” grounds should take a few minutes to see what a Rhode Island resident and woman has to say.  Here is an excerpt.

I never wanted to be a part of a moral crusade using law as a weapon. All I cared about was legal protection for people who are trafficked, and punishment for the traffickers.

To fight immorality, I would use other weapons– reason, persuasion and example. Laws against immorality have never been very effective, and have often been cover for worse crimes. Remember the Scarlet Letter?

Morality, like patriotism, provides a convenient cover for other agendas.

Human Trafficking Rally/Protest

Signs and Petition

Signs and Petition

Yesterday I went to the State House where the RI Coalition Against Human Trafficking was holding a rally to support the Anti-Trafficking legislation.  They had a great turn out.  I gave out some postcards and invited some people to my film.

There were people there holding signs “Not for Sale”, and “Stop Selling Children”.  I don’t believe in the death penalty, but if I did, I would reserve the ultimate punishment for the Human Traffickers and/or child molesters.  I can respect people’s opinions, but there is no excuse for Human Trafficking, and I have never met anyone who has even tried to defend this practice.

I am in complete support of the new proposed legislation against Human Trafficking.  However, I do not believe closing the “prostitution loophole” will stop human trafficking.  (There is a difference between prostitution and human trafficking) If you look across the country, every state has prositution laws, and every state also has prostitution.  Our neighboring state Massachusetts has laws against Prostitution and when you look at the Boston Phoenix you see two to  three times the ads for “erotic massage” and “escorts” as compared to the Providence Phoenix.

The issue made the front page of the projo again today.  “A Call to End Human Trafficking” What is interesting is while I was there yesterday, most of the people who were protesting were protesting against the “prostitution loophole”, and if you read the article you will see:

“Two separate bills that would make prostitution a crime, regardless of where it occurs, have also been introduced in the General Assembly. The coalition — which is against prosecuting the prostitutes — has taken no position on those bills.”


FILM FESTIVALS

I thought I would have been in a festival by now.  I don’t know why I want to get into a festival, but now that I haven’t gotten into one I want to get in one bad.  I wasn’t really thinking about it when I started this whole thing.  Funny thing is I tried to get into my local film festival RI International Film festival.  That was a joke.  Half of the people in my film are sponsoring the festival.  The City of Providence, The Pheonix, the director of the festival even has pictures of him and the mayor all over the festival web site.  The funniest thing about the whole process was when I asked why I was not selected I was told that the film was homophobic.

I wouldn’t consider myself homophobic, or the film for a few reasons.  Besides the fact that I myself am a lesbian, I have done many filming projects for my community.  If things are said in the film that are anti-gay, that does not make the film or the director homophobic.  The film is a cinema verite film.  If I were to edit out everything I disagreed with I would have a very short film.

Basically the way I see it is like this.  I am fat.  Every morning I look for a shirt that doesn’t make me look fat.  But I realize that it isn’t the shirt that makes me look fat, it is the fat that makes me look fat.  Same logic with the film, it is not the film that is homophobic, it is some of the people in the film who make some anti-gay or shall I say anti-gay mayor comments.

The oddest thing is while I was being rejected by RIFF I was dealing with RI Housing and a member of their staff was discriminating against me for being gay and saying the same things that were in the film, so homophobia does exist and to edit it out would force me to be unreal to the film especially when I faced it.

On the good side of things we were asked to submit to the Traverse City Film Festival.  That is Micheal Moore’s film festival.  We made it down to the final 50 or so films but didn’t make it to the final cut.  As usual he took a bunch of anti-Bush films and anti-war films.  I am sure we will find some place to show it, and it will blow up.  It deserves to.

Second trailer released on youtube!


Please leave comments here or on youtube, and sign up

on the website to find out where the film will be shown

in its entirety in a town near you.

“happy endings” Website Launched


http://www.happyendingsdocumentary.com
The official website to happy endings? documentary has launched.
Visit the website to get an sneak preview of the “characters” of this underground documentary.
Sign the mailing list to get updates on where and when the film will be shown.
http://www.happyendingsdocumentary.com