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Rescuing Teen Prostitutes in Las Vegas

A 17-year-old jailed for prostitution reads a Danielle Steele novel in jail in Clark County where Las Vegas is located. The child allegedly had a history of abuse. Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Times.

Cheers to the Los Angeles Times for this profile of social worker Marisela Quintero, who does the heroic job of  saving teenagers from a life of prostitution in Las Vegas.

The job is especially hard because pimps used psychology, threats and other tricks to keep teenagers enslaved. Quintero has rescued some girls only to have them go back to the streets to sell their bodies.

And one of her clients was murdered.

The article follows Quintero’s interaction with one child prostitute in particular, 16-year-old “Maria.” Maria eventually decides to leave prostitution, opting to become a dancer to support her son.

For Quintero, the only social worker in the county assigned primarily to child prostitutes, having Maria become an exotic dancer is the lesser of two evils. At least she is not dead on the street, murdered by her pimp or some cusThanks to National Association of Social Workers member Loretta Lavine for telling us about this article.

Social workers often help young people overcome life’s challenges, including sexual abuse and neglect. To learn more visit NASW’s “Help Starts Here” Kids & Families Website by clicking here.

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