(January 8)--Metro police have their hands full trying to crack down on prostitution in the Valley. In many of their cases the prostitutes are younger than 16 years old.
Right now a special unit with the Metro Police department is focused on finding the pimps who lure young girls and boys to prostitution. Police aren't alone in trying to rescue youth from this lifestyle.
"North of the Las Vegas Strip, off of Sahara, in and around anywhere North of Maryland Parkway," says Doug Datka, with Stand Up for Kids.
These are the areas where at least a third of the Valley's runaway youth dwell.
"Ninety percent of them have left because of child abuse," says Datka.
These are the areas where most of them also make money--selling sex.
"It's their way to get by, and unfortunately it's just a fact of life..once they get in a pattern and sustain themselves they don't see a way to get out," says Datka. Datka runs Stand Up for Kids, an organization that rescues kids from homelessness and prostitution.
"We've seen a dramatic explosion in the Juvenile prostitution in the last year," says "Scott", an undercover investigator with Metro Vice.
There have been more than 700 juvenile prostitution cases since 1994. In one case, the juvenile was an eleven year old girl.
"A lot of times the juvenile victim is like any other victim," says Datka.
He says helping teens escape this lifestyle isn't always easy.
"They are like...Oh, he kidnapped me he brought me to Vegas, he kicked my ass, he put me out on the street to work as a prostitute. Those are the easy ones. The hard ones are the juveniles who have been with this Pimp for a year....and loves this Pimp, may be pregnant by this Pimp," says Datka.
Each week, a group from Stand Up For Kids takes to the streets handing out coats and other necessities.
Many times they are not successful. But they say if they can help just one, they've at least made a difference.
There is a number to call if you are a homeless teen in trouble. You can contact Stand up for Kids at 204-4KID, (4543) or 1-800-365-4KID.
They offer youth food, clothes, and housing.
To email Yetta Gibson, click HERE.