Monday, June 11, 2012

Jawin's letter to Schenkler

To The Editor (Queens Tribune):

Think global and act local! The issues of sex trafficking and domestic violence require this approach. My role, representing the Center for the Women of New York on this issue, has been mentioned in what has developed into a public discussion between two of our community newspapers, the Queens Tribune and the Queens Chronicle.

The topic of sex trafficking, prostitution and legislation on Violence Against Women has been featured in recent issues in the national press and by various coalitions of women’s groups working against domestic violence and sex trafficking. Nicholas Kristof, a feature writer of the New York Times writes frequently on this issue and in the April 1, 2012, issue states that the problem of sex trafficking has reached epidemic proportions and lists the internet site,, as a major source for advertising underage girls!

Our Center for the Women of New York has been working on the issue of domestic violence for many years and most recently highlighted the problem of sex trafficking at a NYC Hearing called by Councilwomen Julissa Ferreras, Chair of Women’s Issues. The Center also held a panel discussion at our general meeting at Queensborough Hall on Oct. 19, 2011, with representatives of women’s organizations and Mr. Ciminiello, the Chair of the Vice Squad of the Queens District Attorney.

Citing the presence of ads featuring “adult services,” which are thinly disguised ads for prostitution, the group decided to start a campaign at the local level, asking the publishers and editors of the English speaking community papers in Queens to sign a pledge to voluntarily agree not to accept ads promoting prostitution or were degrading to women.

Many of these women and girls are kidnapped, beaten and raped to secure obedience for sexual acts. Some of the women are lured from outside the country to promise of good paying work at hotels and their legitimate jobs. Many of the girls are from all around the country who are escaping violence and difficult conditions at home or have been kidnapped and brought here. The proximity of airports, Port Authority, and railroads make it a rich resource for predators to find innocent victims! The existence of Internet advertising and newspapers as the Village Voice and AM newspapers listing blatant ads for “adult services” feeds this ugly chain of supply and demand.

The problem is huge and our discussion focused on what local community groups could do to try to deal with it. A decision to focus locally on community newspapers was made and a campaign to start with English language Queens media was made. The straightforward request was made to all of the publishers and editors to voluntarily stop accepting the ads that featured adult services or were demeaning and degrade women.

The first publisher, Mark Weidler, of the Queens Chronicle, was the most cooperative and supportive and immediately agreed and promised to help with the goals of our project. The rest of the local media followed. One editor had not realized that his advertising section did contain two or three and immediately stopped accepting the ads. The only publisher who had the most blatant and prolific series of advertisements, often covering two pages in its back section was the Queens Tribune.

A delegation of the Coalition composed of myself, representing CWNY, John Tandana, president of the Queens chapter of the United Nations Association and Karen Siegel, Chair of the Zonta Club of Greater Queens, visited Michael Schenkler and his editorial staff. We explained the problem and requested his voluntary cooperation. He refused with the reasoning that he was concerned with the problem of protecting freedom of speech.

We countered his reasoning with the fact that the services advertised were illegal and he was not required by law to accept ads that were legal or otherwise. His paper was earning money as a result of the ads that the other publishers were sacrificing.

Mr. Schenkler was adamant about both his concern about eliminating sex trafficking and what he considered his responsibility to protect freedom of the press by taking the ads. He offered to give me space in his paper to write about the problem of violence against women and sex trafficking.

I regret to say that after writing an article (with the approval of the other two members of the committee), the editor refused to print it because he was disappointed with the content. Mr. Schenkler refuses to stop accepting the offensive ads!

The celebration of the Center’s 25th anniversary on April 28, 2012, has unexpectedly brought the issue into focus. The Center has invited as its honorees two public officials, Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley and Assemblywoman Grace Meng because of their concern and repeated positions of women’s rights and against violence against women. The sudden vacancy of a congressional seat in the new 6th Assembly District produced two honorees who became candidates for the same seat! But the issue which became explosive was an attack on me by an anonymous writer for honoring one of the candidates, Grace Meng, who was using the publishing company of the Queens Tribune in her campaign and therefore subsidizing sex trafficking. By associating this unexpected coincidence, the writer accused me of lending my support for sex trafficking!

Although I believed the writer’s logic was flawed, I did contact Grace Meng who, to her credit, had a meeting with Michael Schenkler.

I am writing this article because I believe that the result was a poor response by the Queens Tribune. As a legislator, Grace Meng promised to try to get legislation passed to license massage parlors and escort services so that the publishing of such services would be illegal. Mr. Schenkler thinks that is an ideal solution and suggests that the center and similar organizations should work very hard to get this passed. According to his reasoning, he doesn’t violate free speech by taking these ads. Meantime he can continue to make money and publish all the ads he wants!

First of all, I liken this solution to many difficult problems in Congress when they appoint a committee to study a problem and then forget about it!

Second of all, Grace Meng and other women legislators have had press conferences trying to prevent the national Violence Against Women Law to get continued without removing some of the guarantees for immigrant women that already exist. While we are in favor of a New York State law with guarantees for immigrant women, the passage of such laws take a very long time and the abuse of women is happening daily and right in our own neighborhoods!

The third reason we are disappointed with this meeting is that Michael Schenkler refuses to take any responsibility for his practices. He gives everyone else the job of solving the problem.

He refuses to be part of the solution. A new law will not prevent his ads from promoting “Hot Asian Kisses,” or “sweet Asian girls @$50.00 per hour.” They don’t even mention massages! These are all obvious ads for sex without mentioning the word “sex.” In the words of a famous Supreme Court decision about obscenity, “you know it when you see it.”

All we ask you to do, Michael Schenkler, is to think about your community and the lives of these young girls and women and stop taking the money and printing the ads. Live up to the standards of our most prestigious newspaper in our country, the New York Times and their motto, “All the News that Fit to Print!”

Ann Jawin,
Founder, Center For the Women of New York, Kew Gardens


georgetheatheist said...

" attack on me by an anonymous writer for honoring one of the candidates, Grace Meng..."...Thank you Ms Jawin, I resemble that remark.

If you continue to honor Grace Meng at your dinner after you have been duly notified by me via this insightful blogsite that she had employed Queens Tribune Michael Nussbaum's Multi Media operation to print her campaign literature and you do nothing about it, i.e. you do not DISINVITE her, as I suggested you then do, you are indeed, as well as her, indirectly engaging in "sex-trafficking". As are also Schenkler and Nussbaum. How is this logic "flawed"? And instead of doing the honorable thing and disinviting her, you participated in her last minute ad hoc jury-rigged press conference on the steps of Queens Borough Hall (April 26, two days before your dinner) in which she lamely trumpeted her support for VAWA legislation - an obvious last minute, fool the dopes, razzle-dazzle, 3-card Monte ploy on Meng's part to deflect criticism of her using Multi Media as her campaign printer.

You mention that "the editor refused to print it [an original article that Schenkler commissioned you to write on the topic of sex-trafficking] because he was disappointed with the content." Who was that "editor"? Schenkler, the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief? Or Ferrari the current Managing Editor or his predecessor Rafferty? You're not clear on this. What was so "disappointing" about that article's content? In any event, Schenkler, the modern-day (in his mind) reincarnation of James Madison, now publishes this letter of yours in the current edition of the Queens Tribune...along with, of course, more of those same prostitution ads in the classified section. If that isn't a slap in your face, I don't know what is.


What's next on the part of the Center for the Women of New York? You roll over and play dead? Your legions take to the street and picket the Tribune?

"Behind every successful man, there is a woman." - you ever contact Michael Schenkler's wife, Lillian Prosaw Schenkler to get her "take" on this prostitution vs. the 1st amendment issue?

And how's that Grace Meng-urgently sponsored and Michael Schenkler- imprimatured massage parlor licensing initiative coming along up in Albany?

Anonymous said...

The number of ads in the Queens Triune have dropped dramatically of late. The paper is very thin.

Merchants also have the right to choose their advertising partners.

If the readers of the Tribune object to the type of ads described by Ms. Jarwin then all they have to do is not pick up the Tribune and choose another weekly paper.

We all have freedoms. Just say no to the Tribune and the problem will disappear.

Anonymous said...

Both Ann Jawin and Grace Meng
are just a pair of self serving phonies.

Jawin holds a directorship in a questionably effective organization.

Meng, is an office holding daughter of a gangster father.

THEY are both LINKS
in the chain of sex slavery
through their inaction!

Letter writing and meetings with Schenkler won't cut it.

Let Jawin retract her organization's honoring of Meng.

Let Grace Meng fire Multi Media.

Let both of them picket the
Queens Tribune-Multi Media's offices.

Yeah, right.

It's just all talk and no walk
from these 2 astute manipulators.

They both want to keep their jobs while feigning being champions of a woman's rights.

Anonymous said...

How can this be a "free speech" (or "free press") issue? These "adult services" are free to start their own newspaper or otherwise promote their businesses until they are closed as criminal enterprises.

Queens Tribune is free to accept or reject their (or anyone's) advertising. While they continue to run and be paid for the ads they are beneficiaries of sex trafficking.

Anonymous said...

The Center for the Women of New York = The Keystone Kops.

Abe Lincoln said...

You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.

georgetheatheist said...

If Jawin and Meng had any balls, they'd have another Borough Hall photo op press conference.

Jawin would receive Meng's returning her plaque back ("Errare est humanum. You are not worthy.") And Meng would tear up her campaign literature. ("I renounce the devil Nussbaum and all his works.")

Anonymous said...

I am for free speech but I refuse to publish anything that might go against my personal gain! Why doesn't she get the letter printed in other localls? If they have made the sacrifice, I'm sure they would gladly and quickly publish it. Why not send a copy of that letter to QC for publication? After all it was here that this dis grace (pun intended) was highlighted!

Missing Foundation said...

Queens Crap is at times sooo educational.

Anonymous said...

Atheists believe that humans are mere objects (no souls or eternity)

Porn advertisers view women as objects. So you're no saint, George.

Anonymous said...

He is all about$$$$$$..........

Anonymous said...

The Tribune is all political hogwash and Jawin is a phoney!

John from Conn said...

Mopey Anon. said...Atheists believe that humans are mere objects (no souls or eternity)

What funny paper did you get that from?
To find out what "objective" atheists like George believe and to get off the psychiatrist's couch once and for all, try Ayn It is the delusional overtly religious types like yourself that do all the killing in this wonderful world. If everyone embraced reason and realized "this life" was it, and that your "eternal pipe dreams" were just what they were, a distracting mirage...there would actually be peace on earth and abundance for all mankind. Atheism gives you a fundamental respect for human life, not just your own. You get one shot at existence, stop wasting it living a life of floating abstractions and try a dose of reality before you end up cutting your wrists, thus taking the dirt nap early (skipping the eternity in purgatory.)

Anonymous said...

all of those named above belong in Rikers Island ,with a $2.5 million bail bond.

Anonymous said...

Have you all read this week's issue of the Q. Trib yet?

Shcenkler has done a classic job
of ass kissing Grace Meng in his editorial column.

at least he didn't try to pass it off as a legitimate news story.

Uh, do they do any of those?

Anonymous said...

What did Grace pay Mike for that editorial endorsement?

I thought that Multi Media only did her printing.

Chuck Apelian's "Prestone"
printing company might have given Meng a cheaper printing rate.

georgetheatheist said...

I gotta laff.

Schenkler didn't "endorse" her in his column. He had everyone else "endorse" her.

We, the Queens Crap Astute, see all the way through his cheap cowardly trick.