Speaker 1 (0s): This is Bruce Friedman of Adult Site Broker and welcome to Adult Site Broker Talk, where each week we interview one of the movers and shakers of the adult industry and we give you a tip on buying and selling websites. This week we'll be speaking with Amy-Marie Merrell of the Cupcake Girls.
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We often have other types of sites as well. In these cases, the owner of the site is usually expressing the utmost care to make sure that the identity of their site or company doesn't get out for a variety of reasons. These are also generally larger listings with big revenues. If you're interested in finding out more about our private listings, please complete our buyer's NDA on our website and contact us to see if you qualify now time for this week's interview.
My guest today on Adult Site Broker talk is Amy Marie Merrill of the Cupcake Girls. Amy, thanks for being with us today on Adult Site Broker Talk.
Speaker 2 (2m 24s): Thank you so much for having me. I'm so happy to be here.
Speaker 1 (2m 28s): It's a pleasure. Now Amy Marie Merrill is the executive Director of the Cupcake Girls. Since 2006, Amy has been working with domestic violence survivors as well as in the prevention aftercare of domestic sex trafficking. Amy truly believes ensuring folks have access to resources in order to achieve their goals is the most beautiful form of advocacy and considers her role with the Cupcake girls, her life's work. When she isn't in the office, you can find Amy exploring the outdoors with her kid Lux and her Pup Luna, you only have one pup.
We have six.
Speaker 2 (3m 4s): I know. I'm not as cool as you yet. God, I need to be
Speaker 1 (3m 7s): Though.
Speaker 2 (3m 9s): One of these days. One of these days.
Speaker 1 (3m 11s): There you go. So the Cupcake girls provides trauma informed outreach, advocacy, holistic resources and referral services for the prevention and aftercare of those affected by sex trafficking, as well as confidential support to those involved in sex work. They offer assistance to individuals as they move towards greater independence and self-sufficiency. The cupcake Girls envisions a world where sex trafficking is eradicated. We can only hope and consensual sex workers are safe and empowered.
So, Amy, tell me a little bit about you. Who is Amy?
Speaker 2 (3m 48s): Well, I love long walks on the beach.
Speaker 1 (3m 52s): Yeah, don't go down that, don't go down that path. That's funny.
Speaker 2 (3m 57s): Yeah, so I, about me, I am sober. I am a single mom and I've been working with sex workers and sex trafficking survivors, like you were saying, since 2006. And it's really interesting to me because my dad's a retired major in the army and I grew up kind of everywhere and seeing a lot of everything and something that my parents were really invested in when they were raising us.
Cuz I'm the oldest of six kids. I'm the wow. Only girl with five younger brothers. Geez. It was wild growing up. I just was raised with this idea of, you know, if you're in the community you need to be giving back to the community. And so my parents growing up, they were always having us volunteer, make sure that we were really trying to put ourselves in the shoes of other people that we're in the neighborhood with. You know, something that's been interesting is I have always been surrounded by sex workers. I've always been surrounded by sex workers and sex trafficking survivors and sometimes I didn't even know it until later.
Yeah. But it's been interesting because it's just kind of always been around me that I sh I needed to use whatever privilege I had to hand the microphone over to sex workers and trafficking survivors so that they could be heard. When I was 16, I was living in a town called Eugene, Oregon in the United States and Yeah.
Speaker 1 (5m 26s): College town, right?
Speaker 2 (5m 27s): That's right. Yeah. One of my friends was sexually assaulted by two police officers in that town. Oh. When I was 16. And, and she was telling me about it and I didn't know what to say. And so I just said, well, we need to go to the police and file a report. And they didn't do anything. And sure. She started building up enough self-determination and self-empowerment talking about her story. And then just over a dozen other women came forward that were also sex workers and trafficking survivors and they ended up prosecuting those guys. But it's so interesting because it took so long for them to get justice.
Sure. And I think that's essentially the feeling in our society is that, you know, sex workers or honestly people who enjoy sex or, or people that are somehow monetizing something not in the way that society is decided it's okay. Right. That they don't matter. Yeah. Unfortunately. And it's such a mess. And so I'm excited that I have the opportunity in my life's work to elevate the voices of sex workers and sex trafficking survivors.
Talk about decriminalizing sex work and how important it working towards that goal is and, and just making sure that we're seeing each other as human beings.
Speaker 1 (6m 43s): Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And and you mentioned two police officers sexually assaulting your friend. That happens so much. It happens so much to sex workers. Was she a sex worker?
Speaker 2 (6m 55s): Yeah.
Speaker 1 (6m 56s): And it happens a lot to sex workers because they kind of have them over the barrel. And as we both know, cops are so hard to prosecute, especially when a sex worker is the victim because nobody believes them.
Speaker 2 (7m 12s): Right.
Speaker 1 (7m 13s): Yeah. That's kind of sad. Yeah, I'm glad. That's really interesting. I'm glad they got their, I'm glad they, those cops got their day in court and got prosecuted.
Speaker 2 (7m 21s): Right, exactly. And I think when we're looking at systems that we're upholding as a society, we really need to take a hard look in the mirror because at least in the United States, we're paying taxes into this system. So essentially we're enabling this system and I mean, it keeps me up at night, you know? Sure. The fact that the things that I've paid into that I'm a part of this, you know, and, and I think it's important that it keeps us all up at night. We just finished midterm elections here in the United States and it's fascinating to me.
The race was so close and it's like, wow, people just really don't matter to the majority of people. And so the work that you're doing to uplift so many people's voices is so important on this podcast. I, I'm really thankful for everything that you're doing and thank you. Yeah. I think I would like more people to know about you and everything that you do, so I'm excited to be spreading the word about you too.
Speaker 1 (8m 16s): I appreciate that you made Yeah, you, you absolutely. You absolutely made my day. So how did you get involved with the Cupcake girls?
Speaker 2 (8m 25s): Yeah, so, gosh, like I said, I was always getting surrounded by sex workers and trafficking survivors. So I told, told the story about my friend when I was a young teen. And from there I went actually to be a flight attendant. And when I was a flight agent on the planes, it was kind of before, you know how in bathroom stalls, there'll be a sign that says, are you being trafficked? Call this number. Well, I was a flight attendant before those signs were in stalls. Oh sure. And so folks would just kind of figure out whatever resources were in different towns and refer people to resources if they would run into somebody.
Sure. And there was just a spreadsheet that people would keep going and contacts that we would all put together. And so I would see things in the airports and I was, it was just kind of a culture shock to me, to be honest. And then we went to, you know, fast forward 2009, I took a job for widening Kennedy, an advertising agency in, in Portland, Oregon. And we were working super late nights on a pitch. And I was running with my dog and I saw a woman being beat up on the street and I didn't have my cell phone on me cuz iPod shuffles were a thing back then.
And ran backwards to the grocery store and asked the security card to call 9 1 1. And the security guard looked behind me to see what I was talking about and looked back at me and laughed at me. And he said, she's a prostitute. They would just arrest her anyway. And so I yelled some expletives at him and then ran to go get my phone and called nine one one. But by the time the police got there, the woman was gone. And I asked the officers like, is this true? Would she have been arrested? And they were like, well, yeah, she's got some felonies. She's pretty well known in this part of the town.
And, and I was like, I didn't know very much about the police department. So I was like, I wanna talk to your manager. And then I ended up talking to like the lieutenants, the captains, and then ended up across the Chief of Police, which was Chief Rosie at the time. And she told me, Amy, if you wanna make any change in this world, you need to get involved with grassroots nonprofits and work to change legislation. So I dedicated my life to doing both. And I started with the Cupcake Girls in February, 2012 after they had started the year prior in February, 2011.
So I was really able to get on the ground with them as they were building up the organization and be involved with a lot of the procedural things and, and operational tasks. But also speaking into the idea of us having one-on-one advocacy with our clients and the importance of that. Right. And the importance of like really leaning into the work, being non-judgmental. And so I, I got involved with the Cupcake Girls because I could have a voice into what was happening.
The organization Prize itself on inviting innovation. And that was something that was interesting to me, but also the non-judgmental aspect because a lot of people, they are in anti-trafficking work and they are demonizing sex workers. Yeah. And it's, it's wrong. They, they can't say, oh, you know, I'm here to pull everybody outta the industry or, or I'd like the industry to be completely stopped. And it's like, you can want whatever you want, but you're harming people in the process.
And so we talk a lot about Cupcake Girls a lot at Cupcake Girls about how the importance of non-judgment, no hidden agendas. There's no religious connections. We're never pulling anybody outta the industry or pu pushing anybody in either. It's up to the client. So if the client wants to leave, sure, cool. We'll help them do that. Yeah. The clients wants to stay cool, we'll help them do that. But sex work is a job just like any job and Yep. I think that that aspect keeps me with the Cup Gate girls for sure.
Speaker 1 (12m 12s): That's awesome. So what exactly do the Cupcake girls do?
Speaker 2 (12m 18s): Totally. So what we do is we partner with doctors, dentists, lawyers, auto mechanics, daycare providers, whatever it is, whatever our clients might need. And we ask those professionals to give us their services at a discounted or pro bono rate. Cool. And then we vet those providers to make sure that their sex workers safe. People come to us and they're like, I haven't been to the dentist in years. Cause the last time I went I was assaulted. So we really try to make sure, you know, okay, if we have a dentist that's offering free services, who's in the office when you're there, we go to the office, we make sure it feels safe to us.
And so I think that what's really cool about what we do is, yeah, those free partnerships, but clients, they'll come to us and they don't ever have to use their real name unless they're trying to achieve a goal that's going to need to use their real name, such as a record expungement. But clients will come to us and they say that they need help with any number of things, whether it's leaving their trafficker, getting their kids out of foster care, getting sober, whatever it is. We'll help them do that. And the timeline is always the clients. So we have one of our clients that's been with us for seven years and then some people that have been with us for seven hours.
But we'll work with people that have started the industry today, or they left the industry 50 years ago. Or people that are currently being sex trafficked and they're in the process of working to leave their trafficker or they're not ready to leave their trafficker yet, or they left 50 years ago, but whoever it is will work with them as long as they were connected to sex work in some way, just because there's nothing out there for people. Yeah. There's a lot of grassroots organizations that are coming up and they are trying so hard to provide as many micro grants as they can and things that they can, but the need is so great and we need as many hands helping on this as we possibly can get.
Speaker 1 (14m 7s): Absolutely. So does this get you to work with other organizations?
Speaker 2 (14m 12s): Yeah, we actually work with, a lot of different organizations will work with Strippers United, we work with different organizations in, in Oregon, the Oregon Sex Workers Coalition, and as long as well as a lot of nonprofits and community groups. So cool people that are working on harm reduction truly is like the main partnership that we'll have. And then, like I said, those professionals that we work with that are nationwide, whether it be like doctors Dennis lawyers, like I was saying before.
But yeah, the community collaboration is my focus 100%. We need to be focused on community care and you can only do that through real true crap collaboration that's not ego-driven. Right. So it can't be about like, how can we boost up the name of Cupcake Girls today? But it needs to be about, there is a massive amount of people that is receiving an incredible amount of oppression. How do we relieve some of this weight? Sure. And so it, it's been, it's been beautiful being able to partner with so many amazing orgs, but also eye-opening to see how many orgs really are not that great that are out there.
Speaker 1 (15m 23s): Sure. So what differentiates you from other, other anti-trafficking organizations?
Speaker 2 (15m 31s): Yeah, so a lot of orgs out there that are anti-trafficking orgs, they have a religious bent. And so even though they're giving services, they're saying that, you know,
Speaker 1 (15m 45s): It's with an agenda.
Speaker 2 (15m 46s): Yeah. They're hoping, hoping, praying, wishing, kind of pushing Right. For somebody to come to a church service with them or, or things like that. Yeah, sure. And then also we are interested in decriminalizing sex work and we understand that decriminalizing sex work is the best thing for folks who are being trafficked. Sure. And we we're also not about the hype surrounding sex trafficking, which a lot of the orgs are. Like, we openly talk about how the Super Bowl is not a sex trafficking hub, even though a lot of money has been poured into the anti-trafficking movement, talking about that, it's been proven time and time again that, that it's not, and, and I think, I think that those are like the main, the main things that differentiate us is differentiate us.
And we're also like all about really looking at, okay, what are the issues in our society that have caused this problem? And we need to understand that sex trafficking, it's always gonna be around, it's always been around, it's always gonna be around sexual assaults. Unfortunately it's the exact same thing. I wish we could eradicate it. We're not going to be able to. But what are the things that we're doing in our society that are perpetuating these problems that we're all saying that we're claiming to solve? And so we'll talk a lot about how capitalism is a problem.
We talk a lot about how racism and the patriarchy is a problem. And I think that those aren't conversations that we're having often enough. Definitely not in the anti-trafficking space because they wanna say that porn is the problem or sex workers are the problem. Yeah. Men are the problem, you know, slits are the problem, whatever. It's, and it's like, nope, that's not true. Yeah.
Speaker 1 (17m 31s): Men are, men are always the problem. Yeah,
Speaker 2 (17m 34s): Totally. Except for you
Speaker 1 (17m 38s): Bruce, except for me. Exactly. So is there anything you wish more people knew about the work you're doing?
Speaker 2 (17m 45s): We get misunderstood on, on both sides. I think that within Cupcake Girls, there's this misunderstanding A, that we're a bakery, which, you know, we're not, although we do have some delicious cupcakes that we give out at networking events.
Speaker 1 (18m 2s): Sweet.
Speaker 2 (18m 3s): Yeah, exactly. But yeah, we're not a bakery and that we also, we are open to looking into whatever we can do to be more helpful and less harmful to the industry. So if people have ideas on something that we could do that would be better for the industry, we always wanna hear about it. We always wanna invite innovation. Nice. And then for the conservative side and the anti-trafficking side, I, I think that there's this misunderstanding that it's like, you know, that we're not anti-trafficking because we are pro-sex work.
And I think that that's the, the confusing thing is that it's just not true. In fact, of course I think that we're more anti-trafficking. Oh yeah. Because we're pro-sex work.
Speaker 1 (18m 44s): Well those people aren't anti-trafficking. They're they're anti-porn. They're anti adult. Yeah. They're anti prostitution.
Speaker 2 (18m 51s): Totally. Exactly. Yeah. That's exactly it. Yeah. No, that's, you run into a lot of anti-trafficking organizations yourself.
Speaker 1 (18m 59s): I read about 'em.
Speaker 2 (19m 0s): Okay.
Speaker 1 (19m 1s): I prefer not to run into them.
Speaker 2 (19m 3s): Yeah, exactly. Exactly.
Speaker 1 (19m 5s): They certainly wouldn't be guests on this podcast, although, although it might be nice to get one of 'em on one of these days. So I can rip 'em Shred for shred.
Speaker 2 (19m 14s): I'll throw some names at you.
Speaker 1 (19m 17s): Maybe. We'll, maybe we'll have a debate. That would be kind of fun.
Speaker 2 (19m 21s): I'd be down for that. Lemme tell you
Speaker 1 (19m 24s): The question is, the question is, would they Totally,
Speaker 2 (19m 28s): Totally. I mean, that'd be interesting. Get some conservative press.
Speaker 1 (19m 32s): Yeah, I do follow, I do follow what they do and what they believe and it's such a crock. But anyway, yeah. We could spend hours talking about that. So what are the biggest stereotypes your clients encounter surrounding sex work?
Speaker 2 (19m 47s): You know, it's interesting. Most people think that people are being forced into sex work. They cannot fathom the idea that somebody would consent to do sex work. Right? Sure. And so a lot of the education that I do is, I'll say this line where I talk about how sex work is a job. Like any other job, sometimes you love your job, sometimes you hate your job, sometimes you like your job, sometimes you're okay with your job. You're kind of looking for other things on the side with a job. Yeah. It's just like any other job.
And honestly, in most of your jobs, there is not enough workplace protection for how much harm could happen to you during your job. Right. And so there's just, there's not enough labor protections for any of us. Right. But, but most people, they think that sex work is inherently harmful and that all sex workers are being trafficked. And you know, I have talked to so many people that have just really inspired me and helped me understand how helpful in healing sex work has been to them.
Yeah. People that had been trafficked, people that had been through horrors that like, I could never even try to repeat. They are just terrible. And they will tell me sex work saved my life. Hmm. And if it wasn't for sex work, I would not have gotten me back. Interesting. And sex work has been this beautiful way of them taking back control, taking back ownership of themselves and who they are. And I think people, they miss out on the beauty. Hmm. And, and so I'm bummed about that.
I think that a lot of folks, they're gonna live their, their short life on this spinning rock in the middle of space and, and they're gonna miss out on just being able to truly, openly understand and appreciate that we're all so different. And that's okay. But
Speaker 1 (21m 40s): No, very true. Very true. And it's interesting the term sex work, and we've talked about this on the podcast before, the term p sex work used to only mean play for pay. Right. It only used to mean prostitution in the last two, three years. It's come to include everything in the adult space. Right. Including modeling, including performers on only fans, including porn stars.
Hell, including me. So I I I proudly use the handle. What do you think about that transition?
Speaker 2 (22m 19s): You know, I think it was a really healthy one. I used to hear in the industry a lot where people would say, you know, well, I'm a cam girl, but I'm not a prostitute. Or like, I'm a dancer, but I'm not a prostitute. Like, I wouldn't do that. And there was just this disdain and just a lot of infighting and separating self from like this idea of like, street-based sex work or of like full service sex work. And, and honestly it was really disheartening and I've been happy to see the change.
I think that it's more inclusive and brings a better space of belonging because, you know, sex workers have always been on the front lines of creating spaces of belonging and holding space. And of course they, it would, they would be the leaders in this as well. But you don't win by separating yourself from That's true. The most depressed folks. Right. You, you only win by creating full, you know, full acceptance and, and bringing hope to all people.
And I think that sex workers over the last few years, truly, especially with Gen Z coming into the table, I think that a lot of people are just realizing like, oh, like if I wanna go fast, I can go alone. If I wanna go far, I can go together. You know, just like that African proverb. Right? Yeah, sure. So I think it's going to, I think it's good. I think it's really good. I think it's more inclusive. I think that it's better for everybody. And I think that decisions like that, they're gonna, it's gonna make it an easier playing field for us to walk into a world where we can have decriminalizing of sex work in all of our states.
Speaker 1 (24m 2s): Sure. So what are the some, some of the biggest hurdles you face as an organization?
Speaker 2 (24m 7s): Funding a lot of conservatives fund anti-trafficking spaces. They won't fund anti-trafficking spaces that are also decriminalizing sex work. Right. And I think it's really interesting because we haven't necessarily found our audience yet when it comes to funders and people that are willing to Yeah. Support people who might want to stay in the industry and, and who would, who would consider themselves to be thriving in the industry.
And so I'm still working on it. I've only been in the executive director role since July, 2021. And so I had over a year now to be figuring it out. And I think over this next year we're gonna, we're gonna really start to get into our group there with funding. But it's been taking some time to figure out, okay, who's our audience? Because we only came out fully against criminalizing sex work when I took over last July. Got it. And so I think it's gonna be interesting as we're stepping into this new phase, all right.
Like, how do we sustain this because we're not going back. We need to be client centered and this, this decision is important and so I wanna be able to support it with funds, but we're gonna find the right funders. I believe in it. The work is important and they like field of dreams. Right. If you build it, they will come. So
Speaker 1 (25m 30s): I believe you'll make it happen.
Speaker 2 (25m 32s): Thanks, man.
Speaker 1 (25m 34s): So what are some common misconceptions about sex trafficking?
Speaker 2 (25m 38s): So everyone thinks sex trafficking is that people are kidnapped and thrown into the trunk of a car, kept in dog cages or locked in closets. And I see those cases more often than I would like to. Right. But the majority of trafficking in the United States is actually just over 70% is generational trafficking. So it's people that are being trafficked by their moms, dads, aunties, aunties, uncles, grandma's. That's really
Speaker 1 (26m 4s): Co that's really common here. And Southeast Asia, unfortunately.
Speaker 2 (26m 8s): Totally. A lot of people within society, they end up thinking like, oh, you know, sex trafficked people, oh, it's so sad. And they're missing kids that are being trafficked right underneath their noses. And honestly, they're missing a lot of the folks that are being trafficked when the, within our foster care system. Oh,
Speaker 1 (26m 29s): Sure.
Speaker 2 (26m 29s): And I think another common misconception is, well they were obviously like putting themselves in a bad position and that's why they they're being trafficked.
Speaker 1 (26m 39s): Yeah. It's the person being being trafficked fault.
Speaker 2 (26m 43s): Totally. And it's really interesting because our data is showing that there's actually multiple individual vulnerability factors that even happen before somebody's been trafficked. So you'll see systems involvement being a big thing. You'll see sexual abuse being a big thing. Sure. People that have moved around a lot experienced houselessness as children, you'll see multiple. And, and at the cupcake girls, three out of every four of our clients are coming directly out of the foster care system. Interesting. And so it's really wild to me that we're not talking about the systems that are perpetuating this amount of harm.
Like we're literally creating this problem. Yeah. But yeah, nobody wants to talk about it. And I think that like the sexier thing is, oh, people are being kidnapped and thrown into trunks of car. And like, I, like I said, those things do happen, but Sure. I think we're not willing to have hard conversations about why people are being trafficked.
Speaker 1 (27m 37s): Yeah. And big surprise government agencies failing us.
Speaker 2 (27m 44s): Totally. Exactly.
Speaker 1 (27m 46s): That, that has to do with so many of the problems in the United States. It, it's not funny. So is sex trafficking a revolving doored? Women leave and then come back?
Speaker 2 (27m 57s): Yeah, it's actually pretty similar to domestic violence. You leave seven times Wow. And come back seven times. Geez. Or by the time you leave, you, you actually finally leave or you're dead actually is is what the statistic is. And so, yeah, it's pretty often, I think a common misconception too is that the only people that are trafficked are female. There's lots of folks that are being trafficked that are in the non-binary community, the LGBTQ plus community. A lot of trafficking survivors are men or males.
There's a lot of stigma that, you know, a trafficker looks and, and acts and is a certain way. Most traffickers are actually white, middle-aged men. And so there's just like a lot of stigma that, that our society has. And then you miss who the trafficker is, which I think is interesting.
Speaker 1 (28m 46s): Yeah. So what future are you striving towards for women and society in general within your work?
Speaker 2 (28m 54s): I want to see people have full autonomy over their bodies. Hmm. Over who they're deciding to work for or spend their time
Speaker 1 (29m 4s): With. You better. You better tell the Supreme Court that.
Speaker 2 (29m 6s): I know I've been trying, trust me, write lots of letters, but people, people need full autonomy over their bodies. And I think that honestly we really need to be looking at all of ourselves in the mirror because we're saying my body, my choice all day long when it comes to, you know, birth control and abortion rights and why does it stop when it comes to sex workers? Yeah. And so I'd like to, I'd like to see the conversation go deeper so people have honest conversations about why, why they're not being supportive of decriminalizing sex work.
Speaker 1 (29m 39s): Well again, it all comes down to the public's view, right. That sex workers just don't count.
Speaker 2 (29m 47s): Right.
Speaker 1 (29m 48s): I mean that seems to be the prevailing problem that's really hurting everything you're trying to do.
Speaker 2 (29m 55s): Right. Exactly. And they matter. They're honestly the most courageous and relentless people I've ever met and I'm so inspired by them. Sure. But I think that they make the world a better place. They really, really do. Sure. We need to all come together and make sure that they're safe.
Speaker 1 (30m 12s): Well, if you're talk, if you're talking about prostitutes, that's the, the quote unquote the world's oldest profession and, and certainly is a need for it.
Speaker 2 (30m 23s): Right.
Speaker 1 (30m 24s): If there wasn't a, if there wasn't a need, then it wouldn't be something that people paid so much money for.
Speaker 2 (30m 31s): Right. So, and if it wasn't a need, then people wouldn't be laboring Yeah. In that job.
Speaker 1 (30m 37s): Sure. Yeah. Because it's not easy work, nor is Nora is doing porn.
Speaker 2 (30m 43s): No, it's not.
Speaker 1 (30m 44s): So what changes would you like to see implemented in the near future?
Speaker 2 (30m 49s): I'd love to see sex work decriminalized. I'd love to have back abortion rights. That would be really nice. Sure. And I'd love to see organizations that aren't raking in millions of dollars in paying their executive directors ridiculous amounts of money while then paying entry level positions. Nothing. I'd like to see the, the organizations working with integrity be funded. Yeah. And I'd like to see a wealth tax too, but can't get everything.
Speaker 1 (31m 19s): So aside from your organization, what is being done to prevent sex trafficking?
Speaker 2 (31m 25s): Yeah. I think that there are a lot of folks that are providing amazing services for domestic violence survivors and that a lot of trafficking survivors are utilizing those resources. But besides that, not a lot. Not a lot. Unfortunately. There just isn't a lot of help. In fact, I was talking to a traffic, a trafficking survivor the other day and, and she was telling me about how anti-trafficking organizations have not been helpful for her at all. Sure. Of Gate Girls was the first organization that she was actually able to meet with and that when she was rescued from her trafficking situation, she received a coupon for two nights Hotel state from Social services.
And she's like, and then I had to figure out what I was doing from there. They gave me two days. Geez. It's just our society is not set up for success in that way. So I'm glad ke Gate girls exist. It's why I continue to be here. I see the help that we provide and and I see the necessity for it, that's for sure.
Speaker 1 (32m 24s): Well, and here's the thing, and here's the biggest problem I see with anything that helps sex workers, that helps working girls that helps the porn industry is that it's just so unpopular with the public. Especially the right wing. If you're a congressman and you put a law out there that helps sex workers, your opponents are just gonna lamb based you. And we know Totally.
Politics is always, and it's all outta convenience.
Speaker 2 (32m 58s): Totally.
Speaker 1 (32m 59s): I mean that's, that to me is the biggest problem. Have you spoken with Congress people and the like, and what kind of feedback have you gotten if you have?
Speaker 2 (33m 9s): I've been pretty disappointed, honestly. I've been pretty disappointed. I actually had a, Catherine Cortez Masto here in Nevada is asking for advice because she was about to put her signature on the Earner Act. Oh God. And I was telling her that it was a terrible idea and that the Earner Act was terrible. Bill be the next FA cta. Yes. It was just a terrible idea. It was gonna harm a lot of people.
And then I connected her with Dr. Barbara Brent at U N L V, who told her, you know, the Barbara Brent sent over a ton of data and sent over a letter that Barbara brz had signed with 250 reachers researchers and scientists, and sent her over documentation from Amnesty International, the World Health Organization. And Catherine Cortez Matos still signed that bill.
Speaker 1 (34m 5s): I, I knew where this was going
Speaker 2 (34m 7s): And I was just so disappointed. And I think yeah. You know, when, when we talk about electing people, it's super great and I, and I am all for voting and I am, and I, you know, I made sure all my friends voted that I voted, my family voted. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Totally vote. Sure. But there's so much more that you have to do after you submit that ballot. Yeah. There's so much more we have to keep on everybody and we have to vote with our dollars, who we're, who we're spending our money on and where we're shopping, things like that.
And I just, I have not had great luck with politicians, but I have had great luck with amazing community organizers and making sure that I'm spending my money on businesses who care about the community.
Speaker 1 (34m 51s): Well the system is so incredibly broken. The two party system has been broken for decades.
Speaker 2 (34m 57s): A hundred percent.
Speaker 1 (34m 58s): And it doesn't seem that anything good gets done on a legislative level. Unfortunately,
Speaker 2 (35m 6s): We tried to pass Senate Bill 1 64 last year and that would've made it so that in the state of Nevada, they would stop arresting sex trafficking survivors. And we had public comment open up for the bill and this guy got on from the police department and he was like, honestly, I just need to be frank with you all taxpayers don't wanna see prostitutes walking around on our streets. Mm. Nice. And so I got on on and I was like, sir, you do realize that sex workers are also taxpayers, everyone pays taxes.
Hmm. And he just got off the call. He got so mad. But it just made me realize like after that Bill did not pass because a ton of police officers came out. Sure. That did not support it.
Speaker 1 (35m 58s): Yeah. And people always often listen to the police. Unfortunately
Speaker 2 (36m 2s): That's true. And, and I think it just made me realize like, you know what if people, if they're not here to listen to learn, then I just can't spend my time trying to convince them I need to keep going. Right. And then find people that will be convinced and, and will listen and, and talk
Speaker 1 (36m 19s): To people who are open, open-minded.
Speaker 2 (36m 21s): That's it. That's it. Yeah. But I can't keep spinning my wheels like you're saying. It's like are these politicians working for us? Is legislation working for us? Like if it's not, go spend our energy doing anything else.
Speaker 1 (36m 35s): Yeah, exactly. What has inspired you to stay with the cupcake girls for 10 plus years?
Speaker 2 (36m 40s): The clients, the participants in our programs. You can't have these conversations and see the things that we're seeing and and stop. And I think that I've also seen a lot of hope from the clients later on. Like I just, I just attended a, a graduation of one of the kiddos from one of our clients who we had walked alongside her as she was regaining custody of her child years ago.
And then the child and the parent, they asked if I would come to the high school graduation because the child was graduating from high school and receiving a award for getting a four point. And it was just like, wow. It was pretty fucking cool. It was pretty fucking cool. And I've, I've got to go to like housewarming parties when clients like get their first homes after saving up for ever and working with one of our financial consultants and you know, or just sitting with somebody as they're finishing their first 30 days of sobriety, we only get to live this one beautiful life and then it's done.
Right. Sure. Like, and I'd so much rather spending my life, spend my life doing this than anything else.
Speaker 1 (37m 55s): That's nice. So what are some things that the general public can do to be involved in the work you're doing?
Speaker 2 (38m 3s): Yeah, I think one of the main things that we really, really need right now is for every single person listening to this podcast to sign up as a $5 a month monthly donor. It's just one latte a month that you're giving up for our clients. And that $5, it's not a lot to you, but it's a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot to the people that we're intending to serve. And, and so that would be one way. Another way is to be a partner. We are always looking for more professional partners that can provide free or discounted services to our clients.
You may think that your profession is something that we wouldn't need, but you'd be surprised we had somebody that was looking for a seamstress the other day. So you can reach us at www.thecupcakegirls.org to learn more about different opportunities, whether it be volunteer partner or being a monthly donor. But we'd love to connect with you.
Speaker 1 (38m 54s): Sounds good. Well Amy, I'd like to thank you for being our guest today on Adult Site Broker talk, and I hope we'll get a chance to do this again soon.
Speaker 2 (39m 3s): Awesome. So thankful for you. Thanks for having me.
Speaker 1 (39m 5s): Thank you. My broker tip today is part three of what to do to make your site more valuable for when you decide to sell it later. Last time we talked about making a good offer and how to structure your site. Next, keep your website design up to date, do a redesign from time to time. People will tend to think your site is the same as ever and click out of it without even looking if something doesn't change. So keep it fresh and up to date. Times change. So should your website, look at what your competitors are doing and see what it is you really like.
If you know a site to be successful, look at what it is they're doing and do some of the same things. I'm not saying copy it, I'm just suggesting you improve your site by looking around a bit. You've gotta keep up with the times or you're gonna end up being left behind. Also, keep an eye on your competition and make sure you're offering everything on your site that they are or more. Don't just look at their design, but make sure your offers are good and competitive. The same goes for your content. Do you ever wonder why one site does well and others don't?
Check out the competition's content. What are they doing that you're not doing? Be willing to make changes. People can't understand why they're losing sales to a competitor yet the competitor is clearly doing everything better. Emulate success, make sure everything works on your website. Make sure all your links work properly. Check them on a regular basis. If things don't work, you'll lose customers. People are not patient these days. People's attention spans are like that of a gnat.
They click out immediately and go to the next result in Google. If they don't find what they're looking for or if the site is hard to navigate or things just simply don't work. Check all your internal scripts and plug-ins and make sure they're updated regularly as well. We'll talk about this subject more next week and next week we'll be speaking with Sasha Brabuster. And that's it for this week's Adult Site Broker talk. I'd once again like to thank my guest, Amy-Marie Merrell of the Cupcake Girls.
Talk to you again next week on Adult Site Broker Talk. I'm Bruce Friedman.