Over 70 arrested in Las Vegas sex trafficking sting operation during F1 weekend

Las Vegas police captain Hector Cintron announced that during the course of the operation, 36 individuals were arrested for pandering, 31 were arrested for soliciting services, and 7 were arrested for luring a child.

Katie Daviscourt Seattle WA
The Las Vegas Police Department arrested more than 70 individuals following a sex trafficking sting operation during Formula 1 (F1) weekend.

Las Vegas police captain Hector Cintron announced that during the course of the operation, 36 individuals were arrested for pandering (or trafficking), 31 were arrested for soliciting services, and 7 were arrested for luring a child, according to KTNV.

Capt. Cintran said that all of the suspects arrested thought they were "meeting a child for sex."

"Though my bureau is relentless in pursuing predators... we cannot do this alone," Cintran said.

The Las Vegas Police Department coordinated with R.I.S.E, an organization that provides intensive and comprehensive services to human trafficking victims, and set up a 24-hour resource center on the strip. The police department has also educated more than 100 casino workers to learn how to spot potential human trafficking victims, according to the outlet.

Deputy Chief Nicholas Farese said that law enforcement officers rescued five juveniles identified as potential victims during the operation and that 20 more potential victims were provided resources. He said that combatting sex trafficking is one of the top priorities of law enforcement agencies across the city.

"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," Farese said, the outlet reports.

Capt. Cintran also emphasized the "victim-centered approach" his team took to this operation, which called for the accompaniment of a victim advocate on the scene in addition to the officers in order to offer the victim urgent services. These resources ranged from emergency lodging to financial support for individuals looking for quick protection from their traffickers.

"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," Capt. Cintran said.

Only 21 victims, or 10 percent, who were contacted by officers accepted services, said Deputy Chief Farese, who explained that this is "not uncommon."

"It often takes multiple contacts with these victims before they decide they are ready for help," he said.

In addition, Deputy Chief Farese emphasized the value of community education on the identification of possible victims of human trafficking, emphasizing the necessity of coordinated efforts throughout the Las Vegas Valley.

Deputy Chief Farese advised parents to talk to their children about their relationships and point out any warning signs. In addition, he stressed the significance of frequently looking through kids' phones to identify who they might be talking on social media or sending texts to.

Farese also said law enforcement agencies will be coordinating with the NFL to prevent possible human trafficking during the Super Bowl.
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