Today, it has become all too common for sex workers' rights advocates to wax poetic about the so-called "glamour" of prostitution and to make wild, unsubstantiated claims that all prostitutes are just so happy to be on the game. Some of these pro-sex worker activists are in total denial about the dark side of prostitution: parental abuse and juvenile runaways.
Let's clear this up: Prostitutes - myself included - do not have 'power' over clients and/or money. That's simply a romanticised myth, and in any case, that's not what we're looking for. Most women who are prostitutes - again, myself included - had been abused as children, oftentimes sexually abused. In fact, the dysfunctional family has oftentimes been referred to as the 'training ground' or 'boot camp' for a life in prostitution. While it's true that not all little girls who have been victims of incest grow up to become hookers, most women who are prostitutes had been victims of sexual molestation when they were young children. (And yes, this applies to me.) Little girls who have been molested learn to develop the mentality of quid pro quo: the human body and sexual activity are bartering tools for services rendered.
In Los Angeles, there is an excellent outreach organisation which rescues underage runaways from the streets and prostitution: Children Of The Night. Founded in 1979 by Dr. Lois Lee, Children Of The Night is a private, non-profit, tax-exempt organisation dedicated to assisting children between the ages of 11 and 17 who are forced to work as prostitutes on the streets for food and a place to sleep. All of their programs are provided with the support of private donations.