Human sex trafficking is a disturbing crime affecting both children and adults in the state. Officials say cases of sex trafficking have been on the rise since at least 2012.
The latest numbers show 2018 is on track to be another record year. Throughout the years, sex trafficking data shows that it affects people of all races, ages, sex, and economic status.
The latest numbers are no different, but what it doesn’t show is the many families affected by the heinous crime.
“Baby, come home; please, come home,” pleaded Carolyn Minggia, a local grandmother whose granddaughter has been missing for a month and a half.
Dasia Sanders was last seen just days after her 16th birthday.
“We’re the ones who love you, and you know it,” said Minggia.
Minggia believes Dasia was manipulated into running away with a much older man she met online. They found pictures of the two not long after she disappeared.
Dasia’s grandmothers have raised her since she was in kindergarten; they are fearing the worst.
“You worry about anything that can be happening to her,” said Dianna Ferrari, grandmother. “Life’s not the same.”
It’s believed that one in seven endangered runaway children reported in 2017 were likely sex trafficking victims. In the first half of 2018, 169 human trafficking cases were reported in Nevada. During the same period, Metro Police identified 147 sex trafficking victims: 79 adults and 68 children. The majority of the kids were black girls between the ages of 14 and 17, and almost half were reported as prior runaways.
“You go through periods where you’re a little bit angry because she left and she’s not reaching out to us,” said Ferrari.
Dasia has cut all communication with her loved ones and hasn’t shown up to school. Her family is one of many in the valley wondering where their children are, wondering if they’re ok and who they’re with.
“He’s using you, baby girl,” said Minggia. “You’re gold.”
Dasia’s family says they went to the police but were told they couldn’t do anything because the teenage girl didn’t appear to be held against her will.
Nevada Child Seekers is circulating a flier with her picture, name, and information on it. They hope someone will come forward.
For more on Human Trafficking in Nevada, go here.