Today, I’m speaking with an honest-to-goodness legend.
Dr. Lois Lee started Children of the Night over 40 years ago and has rescued over 10,000 child sex trafficking victims.
Her groundbreaking work has led to countless awards, most notably the prestigious President’s Volunteer Action Award, presented to her by President Ronald Reagan.
Her work was portrayed in a 1985 movie of the week titled, “Children of the Night,” in which she was played by Kathleen Quinlan.
Richard Marx recorded a song, “Children of The Night,” in 1989 and the proceeds helped build a world-class 24-bed shelter home and school.
I am blessed to know her from working phone hotlines for child prostitutes as young as 11 years old in the 90’s.
My nonprofit, S.T.O.P. Child Abuse Theatrical Organization and Productions, here in Los Angeles, raised funds and awareness for Children of the Night through producing a play.
After four decades spent helping girls escape prostitution, Dr. Lee remains a maverick who—as you’ll hear—doesn’t hold back.
I’m so passionate about the massive and extraordinarily profound work and compassion she puts into her efforts – work she started when no one else cared.
Lois Lee’s bio
Dr. Lois Lee is the world’s leading expert in rescuing child sex trafficking victims. Dr. Lee holds a PhD in Sociology and Anthropology, a Juris Doctor in Law, and is an active member of the California State Bar.
In 1973, Lee wrote “The Pimp and His Game,” the basis of her trainings of thousands of members of law enforcement and her expert testimony in state and federal courts since the 80’s.
As a PhD student in sociology in 1979, Lee discovered children, some as young as 11 years old, prostituting on the streets of Hollywood for food to eat and a place to sleep. When she realized that these youngsters were “falling through the cracks” of the social service system she made it her mission to help, opening her home to more than 250 children over the next three years; thus was the founding of Children of the Night, where she continues to serve as President.
Children of the Night is the first established and only comprehensive sex trafficking program in the world devoted to the development of specialized programs and education for prostituted children and young people who need critical intervention to become successful adults.
Since 1979, Children of the Night has rescued over 10,000 American children from prostitution in the United States—that is more children than other sex trafficking programs combined.
Dr. Lee maintains a 70% to 80% success rate with her life-changing work that mobilizes children from prostitution to a successful adult life. Children of the Night graduates go on to become Homeland Security, teachers, bankers, social workers, firefighters, and other professionals.
Throughout the years, Children of the Night has gained the reputation as one of the most prominent and successful organizations in the world addressing the needs of America’s sex trafficked children.
Dr. Lois Lee’s pioneering work with child sex trafficking victims has blazed the trail for academics, researchers, law enforcement, social service providers and legislators across the globe.
As a result of her efforts, police now treat America’s child prostitutes as victims instead of criminals, and juvenile courts divert them to shelters, foster homes and treatment programs rather than detention.
Congress and State legislators have developed tough laws against pimping and pandering and the customers who pay children for sex. Additionally, sex trafficking task forces have been created across the country.
Lee has received countless awards for her groundbreaking work, most notably the prestigious President’s Volunteer Action Award, presented to her by President Ronald Reagan at the White House in 1984.
The also received the 1994 National Caring Award, and her portrait hangs in the Frederick Douglass Museum and Hall of Fame for Caring Americans in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Lee has been profiled on national television including 60 Minutes and her life was portrayed in a 1985 CBS Movie of the Week entitled “Children of the Night.”
In 1989, she was lauded by rock musician/songwriter Richard Marx in his song entitled “Children of the Night” which appeared on his 1989 “Repeat Offender” album and proceeds were donated to help build Children of the Night’s world-class 24 bed shelter home and school.
Dr. Lee’s trainings and program materials are in high demand worldwide by organizations attempting to stabilize their programs and grow. Diplomats come from all over the world to see Dr. Lee’s work firsthand and to learn from her in their efforts to help sex trafficked children in their homelands.
Japan, Romania, Mexico and Canada have sponsored her visits to assist in developing similar programs and to teach law enforcement in those countries how to intervene in the lives of child sex trafficking victims.
Christian organizations worldwide come to Lee for help setting up similar shelter homes, and she guides them in developing case management, staffing, educational programs and fundraising. Most important, she assists them with the grueling task of obtaining licensing from their governments, which are sometimes resistant to this kind of charitable work.
In 2013 and 2014 Dr. Lois Lee was a speaker and presenter to Interpol’s Annual Global Trafficking in Human Beings conference. She continues to evaluate protocols and policies worldwide to replicate the treatment of prostitution as a social problem as distinguished from a law enforcement problem.
Dr. Lee has been honored at Carnegie Hall Stern/Perelman Auditorium by Music for Life (2011), she was a presenter at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art for David Lynch’s Second Annual Gala Benefit “Change Begins Within” (2011), received the Children’s Friend Award from Childhelp (2010), received the Women’s Achievement Award from the Dashew International Center for Students and Scholars at UCLA (2002), the “Award of Appreciation” from The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (1995) and the Father Baker award for Service to Youth, National Award (1990) and countless others..
Decades of films, news, talk shows, print media and photos of Dr. Lois Lee’s 40 years of work continue to be archived for exhibits and permanent placement in museums and other sites.
Over the last four decades, Dr. Lee has raised over $50 million in private donations to support her programs.
I have had the privilege & honor of working directly with Dr. Lee. This podcast is a great glimpse into Dr. Lee’s story and Children of the Night.
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