Stephanie Larsen(Photo: Jose Mandojana)

On a gray morning in Calgary, Alberta, Stephanie Larsen, 32, sits at her tidy kitchen table studying a family photo album. She lingers on a portrait of a mother and daughter in their Sunday best, then turns to a black-and-white image of a woman, circa 1930, bundled up in a dark wool coat on a Chicago street. "Bette Davis eyes," says Stephanie's mom, Lorrie Johnson, gazing wistfully at the Depression-era beauty. The whole scene is warm, familial, normal -- until Stephanie holds up both pictures and asks, "Do these women really look like prostitutes to you?"

Lorrie absently fondles the small ruby dangling from her necklace, an heirloom that belonged to her late grandmother, and pulls more photos from their cellophane sleeves. There's a blond sporting a Jackie Kennedy bob, Stephanie's grandmother Joyce; a striking redhead, Stephanie's great-grandmother Anna; and the Bette Davis look-alike, Lorriane, her great-great-grandmother, born to a strict Baptist preacher in Kentucky. And one by one, Stephanie ticks them off: prostitute, prostitute, prostitute. "This," she says, "was the family business."

Suddenly Stephanie waves a picture in front of her mother -- "You in your pink jammies!" Without a word they both acknowledge a searing truth: Lorrie worked the streets too. But unlike the generations before her, she broke the chain, making a better life for her daughter. As a result, Stephanie is the first woman in her family in the past 100 years not to sell her body, and now she wants to protect other young women the way her mother protected her. "Girls are being purchased in our own neighborhoods, but no one sees them," she says. "As a society, we have got to open our eyes."

She hopes her family drama, as raw and unforgiving as it is, will be a wake-up call for all of us.