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This article explores the Las Vegas Metro Police Vice Division routine use of material witness holds to detain young prostitutes. The Juvenile court places the girls on material witness holds seeking their cooperation in the prosecution of their traffickers and pimps. The girls languish in detention awaiting the outcome of the adult cases in which they are the central or only witness. The use of material witness holds is reviewed through the historical perspective of government response to prostitution and the history of material witness holds. The article then argues that the detention of the girls, sometimes without charges, is a form of secondary victimization. Many of the girls are from abusive homes and the system that is meant to protect them further victimizes them. The article surmises that the use of United Nations drafted protocols in dealing with trafficked women and children is a more humane approach. The women and children are not seen as persons who aided and abetted in their sexual exploitation but are seen as victims of human rights violations. The article concludes that the Las Vegas Metro should observe the international standards set forth by the United Nations and recognize a new paradigm in dealing with sex trafficking and sexual exploitation cases.

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