Human trafficking is a form of modern day slavery impacting our most vulnerable populations, and it is a serious international problem that warrants our full attention and consideration. It is a brutal, complex, and widespread crime in which children are used in commercial sex and adults are targeted through force, fraud or coercion to engage in activity against their will.
Human trafficking happens all over the world. The statistics are alarming: According to the Polaris Project, as many as 27 million people worldwide are currently victims—1 million of which are sexually exploited children. Perpetrators have discovered that human trafficking is big business, generating up to $32 billion a year in profits.
Unfortunately, this horrific problem also affects Nevada. In the Silver State, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has recovered 2,229 victims of sex trafficking since 1994. Just last year, Metro recovered 107 children victimized by human traffickers, while the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline has received 496 calls statewide since 2009.
Human trafficking is a crime that can be difficult to identify and track. The Internet and websites such as Backpage.com have only exacerbated this problem by taking the sex trade off our streets and into hotel rooms - out of sight of law enforcement and social services. Computers provide access to a variety of sites that promote prostitution, which make millions of dollars by offering anonymity to traffickers, further facilitating the victimization of children.
Former Attorney General Masto spearheaded a campaign to tackle human trafficking head on in 2013. During the 77th session of the Nevada Legislature, she introduced and helped pass Assembly Bill 67, which was signed into law and takes effect on July 1, 2013. This law establishes the crime of sex trafficking of children and adults, makes victims eligible for State assistance, and allows them to sue their traffickers. Read our press release. Since then, much work has been done to meet the needs of victims, and hold traffickers and purchasers accountable.
Click the links below for information and resources designed to highlight the important work being done across the state to raise awareness, serve victims, bring perpetrators to justice, and create a future without human trafficking.