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Volunteers find 'overwhelming joy' when women leave prostitution

October 02, 2013|By Nicole Santa Cruz
  • Greg Reese, president of Clear Image Investigations, exits the hotel room of a girl he had contacted through backpage.com. A group of about a dozen people meet every other Friday night to try to reach out to and rescue women engaged in prostitution.
Greg Reese, president of Clear Image Investigations, exits the hotel room… (Rick Loomis / Los Angeles…)

Greg Reese knows that the work he does trying to convince prostitutes to get out of the life is hard and sometimes thankless.

He went on more than 60 missions, or undercover stings, to try to convince women to leave prostitution before one decided to take him up on his offer.

A few months later, the group helped to convince a 17-year-old woman in Kentucky not to fly to Las Vegas to work as a prostitute, all via telephone.

IN-DEPTH: Volunteers try to get prostitutes off streets 

Over the last few months, he and the other volunteers he works with as a part of Safe Passage OC have also set up what he calls an “after-care” program with a nonprofit in the area.

Now, if a woman decides to leave prostitution, Reese and the other volunteers will be able to take her to a designated place where she can recover and receive services.

That’s what the organization did recently with a 22-year-old woman who decided to leave when Reese paid her a visit.

Reese said he’s hopeful about the future of the organization and their work, even if the success rate is low.

“It’s very emotionally draining having the contact with the girls over and over when they don’t want to come out,” he said. “But then it’s just overwhelming joy when one of them makes that decision to come out.”

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Twitter: @nicolesantacruz

nicole.santacruz@latimes.com

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