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Cotton kids

"Cotton kids" Continued...

Issue: "Blurred Vision," April 5, 2014

“I have written 300 pages of training manual [material] of what to do and how to deal with the population,” Lee said. “If you follow everything to a tee, it all works. If you drop a piece, it doesn’t work. … So you’re always on the brink of major disaster.” 

Lee thought about the technology and personnel needed to expand her work. She’s created an online GED program, called With Out Walls (WOW), that helps anyone on the streets prepare for the test and everything that entails—including helping them find a shelter or library with internet access to take the course and pointing them to programs that can help them get clean. She’s also helping to start COTN-like programs in Italy, England, and the Philippines, using existing Catholic charities and structures run by nuns and priests willing to make a lifelong commitment to helping child prostitutes.

Lee knows that child prostitutes often came from abusive and broken homes, so they’ll do anything to please pimps who not only feed and house them but claim to love them. That’s why, despite rampant abuse, prostitutes will often return to their pimps. Lee said she first realized she was making an impact in the 1980s when she heard one boy asking another if he was a “cotton kid.” When the boy explained to Lee, “A cotton kid is a Children of the Night kid,” she asked why he used the word cotton. He replied, “C-O-T-N and cotton because it’s soft.”

Angela Lu
Angela Lu

Angela is a reporter for WORLD News Group who lives and works in Los Angeles. She enjoys cooking, reading, and storytelling. Follow Angela on Twitter @angela818.

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