Former Memphis Teen Prostitute On Way To New Life
(Memphis) We’re On Your Side with the story of a teen prostitute and the big change you are helping her make.
You first met her when we told you about a new Tennessee law designed to target those who force teens into this deep dark world.
Among those most surprised by what she was doing is the man who helped raise her.
She’s only 18 years old and already Leedora McKinley is looking for a fresh start.
It’s a sign of the rough life she’s been exposed to working the streets of Memphis as a teen prostitute.
“It’s like a relief that I’m getting away. I’m getting the chance to go back to school and do something with myself and get a job,” said Leedora McKinley, 18 years old.
She is headed to a Job Corps program out-of-state. Her uncle, Vernon Cavitt, who raised her comes to take her to the bus station.
He and his wife opened their Bartlett home to Leedora but she repeatedly ran away.
“It got to a point I couldn’t control her so I had to let the court handle her,” said Vernon Cavitt, McKinley’s uncle.
Juvenile court couldn’t help either.
They placed her in foster care and she ran away from there, too.
The north Memphis street where she ended up is where we first met her in February.
Her abusive pimp boyfriend almost twice her age had beaten her up.
“We were going together. He wanted me to do it. I was scared,” McKinley told us in February.
News Channel 3 viewers called to see if they could help. That lead to Leedora landing a meeting with Job Corps counselors in Mississippi.
Checker Cab provided the transportation for free for the initial interview.
“We see it in our business a lot where people just want a fresh start and that’s sort of the American story isn’t it,” said Ham Smythe IV, Checker Cab Company.
Fast forward to seven months later and this time Leedora is leaving her old life behind. Her family hopes it’s for good.
Cavitt said, “Job corp will help you out. I know they will. You got to put something in it to put something out of it.”
Leedora says she’s determined to make the most of this opportunity and not just for herself. She told us she is six weeks pregnant.
“Hopefully I can be a mother but at first I’m going to go to school. Do school. Get me a job and then carry on with my life,” said McKinley.
Job Corps is making sure it’s all out-of-state. It’s one of the only ways Leedora can escape the man who forced her into prostitution.
She plans to get her GED at Job Corp and earn her license in cosmetology.