LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Last year, Metro police found 123 victims of sex trafficking younger than 18 years of age locally.
The victims can be approached anywhere, a mall, a park, even in their own neighborhood.
The Las Vegas Summerlin Rotary Club held a sex trafficking awareness forum to shed light on a growing problem in Nevada — and warn parents what to watch out for.
Las Vegas is a top destination for sex trafficking with roughly 5600 victims statewide.
Tuesday night’s child sex trafficking forum was meant to educate and inform the public on what is going on here locally in places most wouldn’t expect.
“I think part of the problem with sex trafficking is what Hollywood shows and what we are trying to convey is that it is happening in our community and can happen at people’s homes and in schools so it’s not always that kidnapping situation,” said Dr. Christina Vela, CEO of St. Jude’s Ranch for Children.
The conversation must start with your child. Be upfront with them as to why you are checking their electronics and monitoring their behavior at school.
“Being immature and young, they don’t know what they are getting themselves into and when they do get in, they usually are in too deep and it’s difficult for them to get out of it,” said Michael Turner, President of Las Vegas Summerlin Rotary Club.
Another important tip, pay attention to where and how your child gets new things. Sex traffickers will use gifts to lure your child.
If you suspect a friend or community member might be a victim of trafficking, contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-373-7888 or text BEFREE to 233-733.