Sex for Hire: Real Stories of Prostitution in America

"It's like a cult where they brainwash you," said one woman who escaped the world of prostitution. "In the beginning, it's as if they're training you like a dog, but when I wanted something, I got it. If I wanted a car, I got it. If I wanted a fur coat, I got it. If I wanted to go shopping, I got it."

Kristof explains that for law enforcement, the difficulty in prosecuting pimps begins with the victim's reluctance to help. "You would have to show force, fraud and coercion, and the argument is that if the pimp is essentially a financial manager to a young woman, then that is not so serious a crime, while if he's forcing the girl to sell herself, that is. The problem is that to prove force, fraud and coercion, you pretty much have to get this young woman to testify against her pimp. That means her life will be in jeopardy, [the lives] of her family will be in jeopardy, and also there really is often an emotional bond in a very weird way between her and that pimp."

An emotional bond that another young former prostitute formerly known as Caramel knows all too well. "I thought I was so in love," she said. "You've got somebody there to take care of you, take care of your money."

'Anything Can Happen'

Street prostitutes are obviously the most vulnerable.

Jessica, another prostitute who works the streets outside Philadelphia said, "The Friday after Thanksgiving I got robbed at gunpoint, beat in the head with a gun [and] I've been stabbed -- [I needed] 127 stitches."

"Every time you get into a car you know anything can happen. You can get raped, you can get killed, you have all different types of people out here," explained a prostitute named Audrey.

Be it glamorized prostitution with high-end escorts, poverty stricken street hookers or legal working women in the sex trade, these women all share some things in common. Sexual abuse at a young age, broken homes and addictions to drugs and alcohol all lead women to pursue lives that aid them in getting money any way they can.

During her investigation into the lives of prostitutes, Diane Sawyer asked Skylar, a college graduate turned street prostitute what it would take for her to change her life.

"I don't know," Skylar said. "Maybe watching this when it airs."

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