Power 2 Parent
Published: January 12, 2024

Parents Need To Know: Child Sex Trafficking in Nevada

By Rachel Caldwell, Power2Parent

Rachel Arroyo Caldwell, Power2Parent

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department recovered 124 children who were being trafficked locally in 2023.

Detectives from the Vice Bureau presented to a room of approximately 80 community members at a Human Trafficking Prevention Event held at the Centennial Hills YMCA on Wednesday.

The event was hosted by Las Vegas City Councilwoman Nancy E. Brune and Councilwoman Victoria Seaman.

Power2Parent partnered with community leaders to publicize that Nevada ranks second in the United States in human trafficking.

Broken down per capita, six cases occur per 100,000 people according to a 2024 report by World Population Review. Nevada trails only Mississippi in the amount of trafficking cases.

“We want to equip parents with the information and tools to keep our children safe,” Seaman said. “Our children are not for sale.”

A decade ago, individuals looking to exploit children approached them in parks and malls, but now social media is the main means of contacting victims. Groomers are largely preying on children through apps such as Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook, detectives said.

They establish a connection with the victim through social media and then slowly work to establish trust over time, eventually luring the victim into performing sex acts for money. Most children are more likely to be trafficked by someone they already know than a stranger, according to the Polaris Project, which operates the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline.

The short film “Groomed” by Travis Plunkett was screened at the event. The film showcased that sexual exploitation often begins with a groomer befriending a lonely child. The child believes her new ‘friend’ or ‘boyfriend’ has her best interest at heart, gains her trust and then isolates her from family and friends. The child is then controlled and exploited.

Kimberly Miles, founder of non-profit B.E. A S.H.E.R.O., was sexually exploited as a child. Her organization works to assist young girls who have been exploited and abandoned.

“It’s tough to see, it’s hard to feel. It brings up some memories, but, I’ve got to say, I wouldn’t do anything else,” Miles said of her work.

As Las Vegas gears up to host the Super Bowl, the community should be on alert for signs of human trafficking. Large events like the Super Bowl usually yield an uptick in the amount of trafficking that takes place within the city, such as in the case of the Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix races held in November, which resulted in the arrest of more than 70 individuals and the rescue of five children.

According to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, signs of child trafficking include but are not limited to:


  • Repeat runaway situations
  • An older boyfriend
  • Unexplained new possessions such as cell phones, jewelry or clothing
  • Secretive behavior regarding text messages
  • Unexplained absences from school
  • Difficulty providing date of birth
  • Clothing that is inappropriate for the weather
  • Bruises and other signs of physical abuse
  • Someone else speaking on behalf of the child

Traffickers are looking to exploit children who are runaways or delinquent, have low self-esteem or limited life options, and who are generally naïve, detectives pointed out.

If you know are suspect someone is being trafficked, please do not hesitate to contact the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Vice and Sex Trafficking Investigations Bureau at (702) 828-3455 or the US National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1 (888) 373-7888. You can also text ‘BeFree’ to 233733.