Las Vegas Metropolitan Police arrested 74 individuals in a sting operation.
“The reality is that sex trafficking happens in our city every day, and big events bring more people to our city — as well as more awareness,” Deputy Chief Nicholas Farese said in a news conference.
“I want the community to understand this is not a crime that is specific to our tourist corridors, it’s occurring in our neighborhoods beyond the strip,” said Captain Hector Cintron.
“During this operation, we arrested 36 individuals for pandering, or more commonly known as sex trafficking, 31 people who were trying to purchase sex for money, 7 individuals for luring a child or soliciting a minor. This was part of a covert operation where the sex buyer believed they were meeting an underage victim for sex,” he described.
Five minors were recovered during the operation.
“These are 5 juveniles that were reported as runaways that we came into contact with, in various operations both on the strip and then in other areas of town, that are running away from a bad situation and then they’re being preyed upon by human traffickers,” Farese stated.
There were 215 victims recovered in total.
“Most victims do not see themselves as victims, and it’s important to address the psychological component of this crime, whether it’s sexual abuse at a young age or a predator targeting an emotionally vulnerable person,” Cintron explained.
The police worked with the nonprofit Signs of Hope’s R.I.S.E. program, which offers resources for human trafficking victims.