Dr. Lois Lee is a pioneer in saving the helpless children who are victims of human sex trafficking, blazing the trail for academics, researchers, law enforcement, social service providers and legislators. She is the founder and president of Children of the Night, the first established and only comprehensive sex trafficking program in North America for America's sex trafficking victims forced into prostitution.
As a PhD student in sociology, Lee conducted the first U.S. study of the social world of street prostitution. "The Pimp and His Game," a chapter in her doctoral dissertation, is now relied upon by vice officers, U.S. and district attorneys, FBI agents and social service professionals as a guide for the treatment of child prostitutes, for jury education and for the prosecution of powerful, dangerous pimps.
Early in her career, Lee began achieving legal, governmental and personal milestones. In 1975, as a PhD student, she initiated some of the first legal challenges to the unequal enforcement of prostitution laws, which historically had been used to prosecute prostitutes but not their customers.
In 1979, she created Children of the Night and over the next three years more than 250 child prostitutes passed through Lee's two-bedroom apartment.
With a grant from the Playboy Foundation in 1979, she was able to buy food for the children and turn her home phone into what would become the first sex trafficking hotline in America. Today, that 24-hour hotline receives over 10,000 calls a year and is the only nationwide hotline staffed by skilled child care workers who have been trained to communicate with law enforcement and rescue children from pimps via telephone NATIONWIDE.
Lee created the first-ever street outreach program for prostitutes during the serial murders of several young prostitutes killed by the "Hillside Stranglers."
In 1981 she opened the first drop-in center for sex trafficked children in the heart of Hollywood and led legislators in creating the landmark mandatory sentencing law that guaranteed harsher penalties for pimps.
Many of today's programs, legislation and policies have been modeled after Dr. Lee's early work – not just in America but in other parts of the world.
Despite increasing opposition — threats of arrest, violence and ostracism — Lee remained committed to her controversial cause. "I was years ahead of my time," she says. "And in many ways I grew up with the young people I set out to help."
In 1992, she opened the internationally recognized Children of the Night shelter home receiving America's child prostitutes from all over the United States. The Children of the Night home accommodates up to 24 residents at a time and provides an on-site school, individual case management, wholesome recreational outings, and a chance to experience a childhood free from sexual exploitation.
In the last two decades, Lee has raised over $40 million to provide these crucial services. And her track record is impressive — Children of the Night graduates have gone on to become lawyers, executives and educators, among other professions.
Dr. Lois Lee continues to lead the field in the treatment of child prostitutes. Social service providers come from all over the world to observe Lee's ground-breaking work and visit the Children of the Night home — which is a model for similar programs in the U.S. and abroad. She has been sponsored by other countries — Japan, Romania, Mexico, Canada — to assist in developing such programs and to teach law enforcement organizations how to respond and intervene in the lives of sex trafficking victims while they pursue their efforts to prosecute the vile criminals who prey on these victims.
Dr. Lee has received countless awards for her humanitarian work, most notably the prestigious President's Volunteer Action Award, presented to her by President Ronald Reagan at the White House in 1984. She also received the 1994 National Caring Award, with her permanent memorial portrait hanging in the Frederick Douglass Museum and Hall of Fame for Caring Americans in Washington, D.C.
She has been profiled on national television, including CBS' 60 Minutes, and her life and work were depicted in the 1985 CBS TV movie Children of the Night. She was also lauded by rock musician/songwriter Richard Marx in his song "Children of the Night," which appeared on his 1989 Repeat Offender album and has generated over $500,000 for the shelter home.
Dr. Lois Lee
JD - Member of California State Bar
Internationally Recognized Expert on Child Prostitution
Expert in State and Federal Courts
Jackie Pinedo (2011- Present)
Executive Assistant to the President
M.Ed. DePaul University
Maribel Becerra (2008 – Present)
Director of Case Management
BA in Sociology - UCLA
Sonia Ventura (1993 – Present)
High School Principal
BA in English Literature - UCLA
Madeline Maradiegue (2007 – Present)
BA in Liberal Arts - UCLA
Fadwa Assad ( 2006 – Present)
BA in Communications – Long Beach State University
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