LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Several Las Vegas resort properties will display blue and you might notice people wearing blue on Tuesday. It’s a campaign to spread awareness about human trafficking and the efforts to prevent it.
The Department of State estimates there are more than 20 million adults and children trapped in some form of human trafficking around the world, including in the U.S. According to the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline, it saw an increase of nearly 20% in human trafficking from 2018 to 2019 and it’s believed the numbers continue to grow.
Especially during the pandemic, more teens have spent time unsupervised on devices which can be an easy way for predators to target them.
Advocates want to remind people that a predator isn’t always a stranger, it could be an associate or family member.
“When there is a lack of strong communities for the folks that we are working with they end up very vulnerable to trafficking situations. What we work to do is build community. We do that through support groups, community events, and many other things to bridge the gap from isolation to a strong community and healthy relationships,” said Amy Merrell, Cupcake Girls.
The Cupcake Girls has a fundraiser called Act Local. It’s a chance for local shops and restaurants to raise awareness and funds for the non-profit and help survivors. The businesses participating include Classic Jewel, For the Love, Frankies Uptown, Just Cupcakes LV, and Rick’s Rolling BBQ.
There is also Refuge for Women in Las Vegas which helps women escape sex trafficking. Last year, the group served 22 women in residential housing, helped 100 women with financial assistance, and held more than 500 group support sessions.