Las Vegas: Growing Hub For Sex Trafficking

The recent raids at several brothels are shedding light on a serious problem. Authorities say Las Vegas is one of the worst cities in the world for sex trafficking and they promise these raids won't be the last.

Cruise down certain Las Vegas streets and you're bound to find hookers trolling for johns. For many of these women, sex is part of the allure of this city. But away from the bright lights and openness of the Las Vegas streets are places in residential areas -- homes turned bordellos -- where women are smuggled and kept as sex slaves.

They're not working in the world's oldest profession by choice. But rather, they are victims in a criminal ring that's exploding in Las Vegas.

Terri Miller is the director of Metro's Anti-Trafficking League Against Slavery, which formed in February of this year. "We feel there are human trafficking elements that exist," she said.

There's a reason that task force is now active.

"Las Vegas is known to be one of seventeen cities that is at high risk for human trafficking because of the nature of Las Vegas, because of the sex industry that exists here," Miller continued.

A new campaign exposing human trafficking is being launched in Las Vegas.

Law enforcement agencies say they are serious. They're not just going after pimps and others allegedly involved in prostitution rings. They're crackdowns could lead to the arrests of those who do business with the underground outfits.

Metro's Terri Miller said, "Just to let the cabbies know they can be prosecuted under federal statute."

The women from this past weekend's sting -- forced into this modern day slavery -- are getting treatment at the Salvation Army for now.

Lauren Hermosillo, of the Salvation Army, said, "They are going to be emotionally traumatized and they have also been brainwashed."

It can takes years for victims to become survivors.

Metro says there are many more houses of prostitution operating where women and children are forced into a life of sex.

One thing to look for in your neighborhood would be taxis and limos arriving at all hours of the night.  If you suspect a human trafficking operation is in your neighborhood, you're asked to call CrimeStoppers at 385-5555.

Email your comments to Reporter Aaron Drawhorn.

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