Lisa Ling Shines New Light on Child Prostitution in the U.S.

TV host looks at child sex trafficking in new show on OWN network


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," October 28, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST: In the "Impact" segment tonight, one of the worst things any adult can do is abuse children in any way, as we just discussed. But, when you use them, kids, for prostitution purposes, that's off the chart evil.

This Sunday at 10 p.m. the Oprah Winfrey Network has a program called "Our America" which takes a hard look at the kid prostitution problem.


LISA LING, JOURNALIST: Turn your camera on this girl who is very, very young. That's a little girl. She doesn't even know how to walk in heels.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, she's probably 12.

LING: 5 a.m. on Sunday morning, there she is in glitter pants.

She's also being watched. There's a dude across the street. There it is a pimp.

LING (Voice-Over): A man who appears to be the girl's pimp is watching her from down the street.

LING (On Camera): There is a truck right here next to her yelling at her.

LING (Voice-Over): We hear the man curse when he notices our cameras. He pulls ahead and he waits for the girl.

LING: (On Camera): Wait until he leaves and then I'll talk to her.

LING (Voice-Over): We have finally found one of the invisible ghosts. A girl who looked like a child. And right now there's nothing we can do.


O'REILLY: And joining us now from Los Angeles, the host of the program, Lisa Ling.

What's the most important lesson? If you watch the program on Sunday night, what's the most important lesson that Americans -- Americans will take away?

LING: Well, I hope that after watching the show, people will think differently when they see these girls who are out on the streets, seeming to be selling themselves for sex.

This is happening in cities, big and small, all across the United States, and most of these girls have run away from devastating home lives. Most of them have very low levels of self-esteem.

I mean, Bill, I know you have a daughter. Remember when she was a little girl. Think about how vulnerable and impressionable she is. While these young girls who don't -- who lack self-confidence are out there, and these pimps come along. And they say to them, "Hey, little girl, you're beautiful. I want to buy you all the things that all the other girls have. I want to take you out to fancy dinners. I love you."

For a little girl who's never been told "I love you, I'll take care of you," this means something. And then he says, "Call me Daddy." He literally replaces the father figure. And then he says, "Now do something for me." And that's, tragically, how the cycle starts.

O'REILLY: OK. But -- but I don't think you have to convince Americans that this is heinous. I think they're right with you. But the problem has been around forever. It doesn't seem to get any better. The drug trade doesn't seem to be getting any better, and that fuels a lot of this kind of stuff.

LING: It's true. I think...

O'REILLY: The sentences for this kind of stuff, the jail sentence is very, very lenient, if they even make the case. So I mean, I don't know the folks are frustrated. They don't know what to do, Lisa. They don't know if they can do anything.

LING: It's true. And for me, I think if we can just start changing people's perspective about what these girls are actually doing. Because we see these girls as prostitutes who are voluntarily selling themselves. But the reality is that these girls don't make a single penny of what they make. They work...

O'REILLY: They hand it all over to the predator.

LING: Every single cent. I'm not sure... You don't call that slavery in America. I don't know what else you call it.

And we were out on the streets of D.C. And trafficking is rampant in our nation's capitol. And I watched as cops would arrest the girls and stop the girls and let the pimps and Johns continue on with their business.

I mean, I was walking the streets at 3 or 4 a.m. in the morning. And the line of men who lined up looking at all the girls was just completely unfathomable. And I didn't see a single one get picked up.

O'REILLY: What do you think should be done? Should -- should the authorities go in heavy and grab these guys? You know, you've got to build a case against them. That's not easy to do. I just don't -- you know me, I'm a big mouth, and I have a solution for -- I don't have a solution for this.

LING: And the big cities...

O'REILLY: You know, we did the Jessica's Law thing. We got that in 46 out of the 50 states. And we think [Gov. Chris] Christie in New Jersey will probably wise up over there. But here, do you put the Johns in jail for 10 years? They're at fault buying the stuff. They're at fault.

LING: For -- for exploiting children, I think there should be some pretty stiff penalties, for sure.

O'REILLY: So do I. I absolutely agree.

LING: And -- yes. And to watch these men trolling for these girls was so difficult for me to watch. And -- and the pimps are the ones who get off scot-free. And this is -- I mean it's brainwashing that's happening. And yes, it's...

O'REILLY: Why are the pimps getting off scot-free? Why? Is it because of apathy? Incompetence? Why?

LING: Well, it's because it's almost impossible to get a girl to testify against her pimp.

O'REILLY: There you go.

LING: Keep in mind she -- she has been brainwashed into believing that this is your daddy.

O'REILLY: And she's scared. They're scared.

LING: And he says to them -- exactly. He says to these girls, "You're not worth anything. You're nothing but a dirty whore." Right? And so they resist law enforcement, because they've been brainwashed into believing law enforcement is bad. But these girls need to be treated as victims and not criminals.

O'REILLY: Well, I want to give it some thought. I mean, there's got to be -- there's got to be a solution to this thing. And this is horrible. It's been going on for far too long.

Lisa, we'll watch Sunday night. Thanks for coming on. We appreciate it.