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What they called sex work, what many people think of as prostitution, wasn't the same as true sex trafficking, they said.

Supporters raised money online for her and her children.

(Loren Holmes / Alaska Dispatch News) Batts tried to work in offices, but she kept coming back to sex work.

Even when she was running her business, she said, she also had sex for money. One woman she worked with was a single mom, recently out of school, who needed to pay for a new car. The main thing all of them had in common: an ability to disconnect from their bodies, Batts said.

Her business didn't make her rich, but she was comfortable, able to pay for a car and her trailer in South Anchorage as well as the apartment where the prostitution went on. She never met a woman in the business who didn't have some kind of history of sexual trauma.

"Generally, there would be some DV stuff, most recent, and there would usually be some sexual abuse in the family.

She answered a newspaper ad and soon found herself at a trailer in view of the giant neon tattoo shop gun in Spenard. The state does not generally charge individual sex workers now, prosecutors told me.

Batts and I briefly worked together at the Anchorage Daily News when she was a clerk and I was a young reporter in the mid-2000s.

Some cities have programs that offer women counseling or help with jobs and housing instead of jail when they are picked up for prostitution.She began writing an online column from jail, railing against sex-trafficking laws in Alaska."What happened to the belief that America was built upon, that each man has the right to do what he wants to do with his own life as long as he does not interfere with his neighbor's pursuit of happiness? "It could be the woman wearing nice earrings sitting beside you at the coffee shop on her laptop, it could be the woman that is waiting for a bus somewhere," she said.Amber wasn't interested in diversion programs or prosecuting johns.The victimization that primed women for prostitution, the circumstances that led them into the life, to her, seem inevitable and unstoppable. She was columnist and reporter at the Anchorage Daily News, was Atwood Chair of Journalism at the University of Alaska Anchorage and has written about Alaska for a variety of publications.

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