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From Hollywood to Rome. How 'Children of the Night' helps sex trafficking victims

2013-01-27

LOUIS LEE
Children of the Night, Founder

"My philosophy is whether you want me to buy your books and school supplies when you are in college in ten years, or do you want me to hold your hand while you are dying of AIDS in the hospital.”

She founded 'Children of the Night' back in 1979 to help child prostitutes. Now, through her organization, she's helped roughly 10,000 girls. In her residential programs alone, most of the girls are between 11 and 17 years old.

LOUIS LEE
Children of the Night, Founder

"A child can call from a truck stop or a dirty motel, reach out to a live child care worker who is awake, ready to help, who can coordinate the police to take her from a dangerous situation to an airport where we pay for her airline ticket, meet her at the Los Angeles International Airport, bring her to the Children of the Night home within 24 hours of the call for help.”

Now, she hopes her next project will be in Rome. In fact, Italian Sister Eugenia Bonetti, who helps sex trafficking victims in Europe, could help her reach that goal.

LOUIS LEE
Children of the Night, Founder

 "I hope to be able to teach at one of the Pontifical Universities, to nuns and priests who come from around the world. That gives me the ability to teach as many people who are already committed to helping the unfortunate.”

Her team has raised millions of dollars and through her programs, she has trained and talked to officers, lawyers, judges and police departments on how to deal with this problem. But her relationship with the Los Angeles Police Department wasn't always that friendly. Back in 1975, when she was a PhD student at UCLA, she actually decided to sue the department, after analyzing police data.

LOUIS LEE
Children of the Night, Founder

 "I worked with a lawyer and obtained a court order and analyzed thousands of police reports and used that data to sue the police department for not arresting the men who payed for prostitutes.”

But now, actually arresting these men is widely practiced by that Police Department. Children of the Night is based in Hollywood, but the organization helps girls and women, throughout the United States. Now she's hoping she can share her expertise abroad, since helping others, she says, should have no borders.


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