Post by Amber Batts
I was arrested July 9, 2014 for sex trafficking.
I’m an Alaskan, born and raised in Juneau, Alaska, moving to Anchorage in 1998. I was raised with an independent streak that is common among many Alaskans: forge a way, persevere, and even when no one is looking, do a good job.
Well, 40 years later, that mindset bit me in the butt. What was once a small web-based escort agency, with of-age women working, setting their own hours, and determining their own services became media sensationalism for a short time and ended with a 5-year sentence.
Time is time. I am smack-dab in the middle of a 5-year sentence, writing from a halfway house. The clients, at most, were given small fines, yet for the most part they were left alone. My friends—-coworkers, were never charged. I’m happy for them. I wouldn’t wish this heartache on their families, as what has happened to me has greatly impacted my two children.
Why was I charged? Laws changed in 2012 here in Alaska. Federal money was put forth to combat “sex trafficking.”
Promoting prostitution went from a Class-C felony or misdemeanor to a sex trafficking offense, upping the charge for class C to class B, from a misdemeanor to a felony.
I was an escort and a business woman. The in call location we shared was in my name. The Credit card service was in my name. The website, the phones. Me. Me. Me.
I know my life won’t always be me waking, sleeping, crying, and hurting. I know at some point I will be with my children again, we will once again be a family. I’m forever on the bring of losing the home I’ve had for 13 years. I’ve already lost the husband who of course swore he’d always be there for me.
Through it all, I’ve gained a different sense of independence and perseverance. I know I will emerge a stronger woman able to be honest and truthful without fear of change–without fear of going without. Why? Because I’ve already experienced it and lived through it–am living through it. Yes, some days are difficult. Some nights I look out the window here and miss my friends. But then I remember. Now is not forever.
The author of this piece loves letters. You can write Amber at:
835 D Street
Anchorage, Alaska, 99501