Sex Trafficking: A Serious Problem in Northern Nevada - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Sex Trafficking: A Serious Problem in Northern Nevada

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Two weeks ago, we brought you a story about a crackdown on child sex trafficking in the United States. It's a very real problem here in Northern Nevada with some girls as young as 12 being forced into prostitution.

Today a seminar was held at the Atlantis Casino to help raise awareness among members of the casino and hotel industry.

The numbers are hard to accept, but every year - right here in the United States - tens of thousands of children and young women become modern slaves – victims of sex trafficking.

“Sex trafficking comes in when there's an exploitation, when that individual who's selling sex is being exploited by another individual, either through coercion, though fraud, through physical abuse.”

A great many of those being forced into prostitution are just little girls. Experts tell us most begin when they are only 12 to 14 years old.

“When we talk about minors involved in sex trafficking, they're not minors from other states, they're not kids from other countries - they're our kids.”

Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto spoke at the seminar. Masto, along with Reno Police Sgt. Ron Chalmers directed their presentation to members of the hotel and casino industry.

“(Obviously) a lot of this behavior does take place on the casino floor. We've done several casino floor operations and been very, very busy as well.”

Chalmers says the key component is education - the more awareness there is in the community, the easier it will be to identify a victim and hopefully get her help.  

Masto says parents may be surprised how easily girls can get lured in to sex trafficking. “We also see it from kids who are coming from good homes. Because they can be approached at the mall, they can be approached at the school. Particularly, but a good pimp who grooms them who makes them think that he's their boyfriend.”

Masto tells us awareness campaigns in Southern Nevada have been very successful in recovering victims of sex trafficking.

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