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Fairy-Tale Night for Girls in Rio Slum

A teenage girl from the Santa Marta slum puts on a pair of high heels for a debutante ball organized by the Pacifying Police Unit from her neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Aug. 29, 2014.

The ball, which relied on volunteers who coiffed and made up the girls and a formal wear shop that loaned the dresses, helped build goodwill between pacified favelas' residents and the officers who patrol them.

Silvia Izquierdo / AP

Jaqueline, right, and Monique take a selfie before the ball. The 15-year-old girls were escorted to the ball held in a Copacabana dancehall Friday night by members of the Pacifying Police Unit from their community. The police units have re-conquered slums ruled for decades by drug-dealing gangs.

Silvia Izquierdo / AP

A teenage girl takes the hand of an officer who patrols her neighborhood as she arrives at the venue in a police car.

Silvia Izquierdo / AP

A police officer kisses the hand of a teenage girl at the ball. Debutante balls have been a custom among upper-middle-class and wealthy Brazilian families. They mark a girl's transition from childhood to adulthood.

Silvia Izquierdo / AP

Jaqueline dances with a police officer during the debutante ball.

Silvia Izquierdo / AP

A teenage girl holds a pair of high heels before the start of the ball.

-- The Associated Press

Silvia Izquierdo / AP