Surprise! Alleged trafficking survivor Chong Kim revealed to be a liar, thief and fraud

Jun 4, 2014
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Report by Christina Parreira —

Yet another ‘trafficking survivor’ has been outed as a liar, thief, and fraud. Unfortunately, I do not feel even the slightest tinge of surprise. For those of us who are constantly attempting to educate others on the differences between sex trafficking and sex work, the shrieks of these wounded anti-trafficking mouthpieces serve to shut us up.

Chong Kim made it pretty far, and I give her that; the tears, the shaking on stage, the Netflix movie! She was almost home free, wasn’t she?

Artwork for the film, 'Eden'

Artwork for the film, ‘Eden’

Until this statement appeared on the Breaking Out (non profit org) Facebook page earlier today:

Surprise! Alleged trafficking survivor Chong Kim revealed to be a liar, thief and fraud

On February 21, I had attended a free event at University of Nevada Las Vegas hosted by the Social Work department and Bamboo Bridges, an “anti-trafficking” non-profit in Las Vegas.

It was a screening of the film, Eden, which is based on Chong Kim’s (apparently false) story of being sex-trafficked in Nevada in the 1990s.

Dr. Kathleen Bergquist, a professor who teaches the human trafficking social work class at UNLV, organized the event. 

Bergquist is also the co-founder of Bamboo BridgesIn fact she is the co-founder, board member, and grant writer of Bamboo Bridges.

image copy
After the film, Chong Kim rose from her seat and stood at the podium as a proud survivor, holding the audience captive with her tales of torture and abuse.

She also spoke of the work that she does now, assisting the Department of Justice to eradicate trafficking on Native American reservations. I listened, but felt wary. I had heard this narrative many, many times before, often used to silence consenting adult sex workers.

Naturally, a fundraiser followed.


Thank you to Breaking Out for publishing the truth about yet another anti-trafficking zealot and fraud.

Chong Kim, thank you for wasting three hours of my life, for fooling thousands, maybe millions, with your fantasy tales of torture, and lastly, thank you for continuing to confuse the general public about the difference between consensual sex work and sex trafficking. The last thing we needed was another pretend victim. This is disgusting, shameful, and yet, not surprising!

Isn’t it ironic how the whores are always the ones being accused of foul play, and yet, here we are shining the light on yet another charlatan?

Just last week, another fraud, Somaly Mam, was forced to resign her own foundation over revelations that she too is a serial fabricator.

Lastly, I cast a wary eye on Bamboo Bridges, the organization that hosted “An Evening with Eden,” for a mere $100 entrance fee on February 22. Bamboo Bridges – Past Events

As always, I am curious to know where these donations are going, and whom they are helping. Also, will Bamboo Bridges have anything to say about these latest revelations?

UPDATE: From the Breaking Out Facebook page:

Morgan Stacy, an acolyte of Shelley Lubben — a disgraced fraud who runs a sham non-profit called Pink Cross Foundation — has jumped into the fray:

Breaking Out FB comment

An all-too-typical refrain — Why not just cover up people’s wrongdoing?

Breaking Out FB reply

A brotherhood / sisterhood of frauds, charlatans and thieves



Chong Kim is receiving support from people who work with anti-porn/anti-sex work fraud Shelley Lubben — a woman who robbed and exploited a cancer patient!

Let that sink in…

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  • How long will it take for mainstream media’s shameful credulity regarding the whole sex-trafficking-panic to catch up with reality? They never ask these posers the hard questions journalists should ask to be worthy of the occupation. They spew the party line on this subject as if it had come down from Mt. Sinai on stone tablets.

    And as they do this they cast their lot with those whose mad schemes would make life even more difficult for legitimate sex workers.

    I have no sympathy for those who are defrauded by these hucksters. Fools and their money deserve to be parted.

    And I have nothing but contempt for those who hand over the microphone and nod sagely while the bullshit floods the screen.

    Have none of these people any shame whatsoever?

    That’s a rhetorical question.

    Ernest Greene June 4, 2014 8:15 pm 8:15 PM Reply
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  • I was the first person who started reporting I found issues with Chong’s story.

    I have answered 1,000’s of calls to our phone at Sex Workers Anonymous. This is a hotline where people can when they have decided they want to retire from the sex industry and need some emotional support to transition out, as well as where people call when they suspected “real” trafficking that was opened in 1987 long before this crazy “anti-trafficking” movement started in 2008 when President Bush announced that grants were being made available for the first time in history for “faith based” groups to be working on this issue. With that stroke of a pen he destroyed not only the work we had built since 1987 of the truth about what happens in the sex industry – but also bringing in these frauds for the first time ever. When there was no money in this work there was no reason for anyone to lie.

    So I myself was taken off guard at first upon having Chong thrust upon me by Melissa Farley, PhD for the first time at a press conference we were giving about trafficking existing in the Nevada brothel system. After myself and two other members of SWA told our stories and what we’ve witnessed – Chong got to the mike and said a poem! It was so completely out of synch with what was going on my only thought at the time was she must be having some kind of stress reaction to being in front of news cameras at the time. I began to suspect something was wrong when she told me that her arm had been damaged because of being handcuffed. I’ve been kidnapped and hand cuffed and never has my whole arm been damaged the way she was describing. That was my first red flag.

    I have been in this field for so long, and I’ve worked with so many sex workers and “real” trafficking victims – what happens almost universally is when someone is up to some type of fraud or misdeeds – they hide from me. They are afraid to face me because they know I will see through them. What happened with Chong was as we kept talking more and more – her stories started changing. Now I’m using to memories coming forward and sometimes even blacking out again – but no matter what happens with the worst cases of PTSD and brainwashing I’ve ever seen is that things like basic locations don’t change. For example, I was in the sex industry in Los Angeles in the 1980’s. No matter how bad my memory is on any given day – that never changes. But huge chunks started changing with her.

    I honestly just started writing it off to things like possible drug use or even possibly brain damage. But then the calls started coming in from people asking if I’d gotten the money that Chong had given her to give to me. I had not. When I started questioning her about this – she stopped speaking to me entirely. When someone is out of sex work, especially those who have been trafficked, and they find they can talk to me – they don’t stop talking to me. Even if we fight – we still speak the same language that outsiders don’t and we will speak again and again. Over the years, I’ve been talking to the members of SWA on and off on an ongoing basis. So when she just stopped speaking to me I kind of knew what these people had told me about the donations must be true.

    Then her websites for MASIE started disappearing. When she called me up asking for help to pay for a lawyer because she’d been charged with fraud for conning a woman out of $10,000 I of course asked what happened. She claimed to have been “set up”. Now I’m one of very few people who would believe that because it’s been done to me – so I asked for details. Only her details didn’t add up. When I’ve had people try and set me up on things – I’ve had solid answers that never changed. First she said it was a woman. Then she said it was a pimp. Then it was a pimp who sent in the woman. While I’ve had traffickers and crooked cops try and set me up – I’ve never had individual pimps try and do so. They won’t waste their money on revenge when they can just kick my backside or blow up my car. So it wasn’t making sense.

    Then she disappeared again. Since she could have used me as an expert witness in her case if she had truly been set up – that’s when I knew she hadn’t been. Shortly after needing an attorney this movie deal came up. It was obviously she made the deal to pay for her attorney. I thought “at least we can make it work for real victims’ advantage”. I had thought we could get groups who actually work with Asian trafficking victims to get publicity through her movie. I talked to some that I have been working with because I had started specializing in helping women get out of these Asian trafficking rings (which is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with because they have the best hackers in the world) – Chong refused to even speak to me about the idea. Instead her opening was kept under very tight wraps. No one was at her grand opening other than her, the actress playing her, and the people connected with the movie. Groups like CASTLA for example were not given any exposure.

    When Chong put on her showing at UNLV with Bamboo Bridges – despite the fact that our group has actually been working with helping victims of trafficking in Nevada, as well as the women in the Asian massage parlors in Vegas – we were not even invited to attend the event. Why? In my experience when I’ve spoken to people who have attended events we’ve been blocked from attending – they tell me that after speaking to me for five minutes they know I’m the “real” deal and suddenly the lights go on that this other group was full of baloney and simply trying to raise a buck.

    I have heard Chong’s claims that she will “go anywhere to speak to any victim” yet when I’ve asked her to speak at events where there’s real victims which of course don’t pay for her to speak there – she refuses. People have to ask themselves if they’re at a UNLV lecture on sex trafficking in Nevada – why is a woman from Texas being flown in to speak instead of the local group that’s been working locally since 1995 there?

    As for Bamboo Bridges I have specifically contacted them asking for help with Asian trafficking victims I’ve had plopped in my lap and they’re not even returned my calls. Yeah real dedication. But as usual I’m the one helping these women get onto planes, get their papers, get into shelter, feeding them, clothing them, driving them around – and groups like Chong Kim and Bamboo Bridges are the ones getting the checks. And people wonder why I’m angry? I’m angry when I’m not even invited to these events and yet I’m the one doing the work – while other people are out there marketing themselves and getting the checks. I blame the people attending these events and writing the checks because they don’t seem to be asking any common sense questions – like why is she flying in from Texas to speak there but the local group isn’t speaking? I’m tired of being the only one who is showing up at the Nevada legislature meetings to speak out on behalf of women who have worked at the brothels who are asking for things like health insurance, a retirement plan, disability programs, and an exit strategy to be put together for them – yet these “abolitionists” are never there and they even hold their meetings in states like Kansas which is states away from the only legal brothels in the USA.

    I’m also tired of my words being distorted. I have never said I wanted the brothel shut down or outlawed despite what Melissa Farley told the news. I have said that UNTIL the system is improved I don’t want it expanded because that’s just going to keep expanding the number of women who suddenly find they can’t work at the brothels any longer who wind up without a penny on my doorstep – while Dennis Hof is laughing all the way to the bank with the money he made off these women. It’s not fair that I’m the one footing the bills here while everyone else is collecting the fare. I run literally the only program in Nevada that will go and pick up a woman who is calling for help to get out of the brothels and take them to where they want to go – the airport, a hotel, a drug program, home, etc. Yet the Southern Nevada Sex Trafficking Task Force sits in Vegas 100’s of miles away not lifting a finger and they get over $180,000 this year along in federal grant money while I’m the one driving 100’s of miles in the middle of the night to go pick up a woman who just got the crap beat out of her by her pimp when she told him she wasn’t going to work the brothels that night for him or again because she’d just found out she was pregnant.

    The Salvation Army has received over $30,000 to help these victims – yet I’m the one picking her up and taking her to a hotel. Then when I try and say something about this – I’m being a “bully” and “attacking Chong”? I think people have their definitions of who is abusing who a little mixed up. To try and silence me – Chong has gotten her little buddies who are also connected to other groups who are also out there defrauding people out of money (because thieves travel in packs) to try band together to attack me. Why? So she can tell more lies? Because she also wants the other people she’s defrauded to think twice about coming forward also.

    On the other hand – I don’t understand what Breaking Out’s deal is. They didn’t seem to have a problem with Chong when they first opened up their program and had no sponsors. Now they have a page full of sponsors suddenly now years later they have an “issue” with her honesty? I wrote them two years ago about her fraudulent statements on their website and demanded it be removed. Only after threatening me did they remove these false and misleading statements meant to defraud people out of money. That was TWO YEARS AGO and just now they’re having “questions” about her story? No I think there’s more to the Breaking Out’s agenda that meets the eye as well. When I posted on their site a reminder that I had talked to them two years ago about her honesty – and they had chased me off with threats of attorney’s and wanting to know why this sudden 180 – and they deleted my comments, blocked me and now want everyone to believe they’re taking a “fair and honest look at Chong’s story”? Hell no – they’re on a witch hunt and I’d like to know why. Look frauds exist in any field I don’t care if it’s the tobacco industry, the food industry, the medical or legal field, etc. That doesn’t mean all of it’s bad or wrong – it just means “buyer beware”.

    Jody Williams June 16, 2014 3:16 am 3:16 AM Reply
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  • To be fair, how many of you read Breaking Out’s “expose”? I did, and found it to be underwhelming. No smoking gun at all. Most of the things they accuse really didn’t add up to damning evidence (such as the point where sometimes she referred to her recruiter as a man in “military garb” and sometimes as a man she thought was a “Marine” because of how she was dressed–is that REALLY an inconsistency?). Other times it wasn’t that her narrative had contradictions, it was that she didn’t rehearse each and every detail in every context in which she was quoted, and they use that as evidence of “changing her story.” Well, no–it just means a years-long story doesn’t merit every detail being recited every time she’s interviewed or asked to speak. The only point on which I thought Breaking Out really did document an inconsistency that Kim ought to address is that the duration of her trafficking is said to be 2 years or 4 years in different sources. But honestly, I really didn’t come away with the sense that this report had truly collapsed her credibility, and it seems like one group did one hit piece on Kim, and now everyone’s accepting is as a done deal that Kim’s been proven dishonest.

    Akicita June 17, 2014 11:29 am 11:29 AM Reply
    • You find a conviction for swindling a trafficking survivor to be “underwhelming”? How about the fact that the husband she claims was killed by the traffickers is actually alive and well?

      “[I]t wasn’t that her narrative had contradictions, it was that she didn’t rehearse each and every detail in every context” LOL You have it backwards. Did you ever see one of those cop movies where the suspect is under the lights in an interrogation room, and he says something like “How any times are we gonna go over this? I’ve told you this story ten times!”?

      One of the fundamental principles in criminology, and detection, generally, is that when one asks a person who is lying to tell a story multiple times, and to answer questions phrased in differing ways, eventually they will trip up and change their story.

      Someone who is telling the truth, however, CAN’T change their story — it’s fixed, because it’s the truth. It’s not contrived or rehearsed.

      So, you’re right about one thing: liar Chong Kim “didn’t rehearse each and every detail”; she’s another bad liar who got caught.

      Deep Throat June 17, 2014 3:46 pm 3:46 PM Reply
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  • While I don’t doubt Chong is not a sex trafficking survivor – I am questioning how she got “exposed” the more I dig into this.

    Jody Williams July 25, 2015 5:30 am 5:30 AM Reply

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