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Agencies across Las Vegas team up to fight sex trafficking

Posted: 6:23 PM, Feb 07, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-08 02:53:06Z
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LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The Southern Nevada Sex Trafficking Multidisciplinary Team is spearheaded by the Clark County District Attorney’s Office.

The announcement of the new team was made during a press conference Thursday afternoon.

STMDT is made up of more than 15 different public and private agencies whose goal is to strengthen the fight against sex trafficking in Southern Nevada.

The team addressed the growing problem of both children and adults being recruited, and sometimes forced, to perform sexual acts for money in Southern Nevada.

“The devastation of sex trafficking on both victims, who are many times children, and their families, is becoming far too prevalent in our community," said Chief Deputy District Attorney Jim Sweetin.

This will be accomplished by coordinating resources from multiple agencies, rescuing victims of sex trafficking, investigating and identifying sex traffickers, and prosecuting sex trafficking offenders to the full extent of the law.

Prior to the team’s formation, agencies did not always collaborate on information related to the identification and prosecution of sex traffickers, openly discuss their needs, or share their resources.

"We determined that without coordination many agency efforts and resources were wasted," said Sweetin.

The goal is to increase the efficient use of resources and decrease, and eventually eliminate, the duplication of efforts across the agencies.

In 2018, Clark County District Attorney’s Office filed charges 70 related cases to sex trafficking, 40 of those involved minors.

STMDT will go a long way to making the most of the resources by focusing on the victims.

"This Multidisciplinary Team approach will now break down and address the minor gaps that had existed in the past," said Captain John Leon with Las Vegas Metropolitan Police.

Brittany Hopballe, Director of the Salvation Army Seeds of Hope program which addresses the needs of sex trafficking victims in Southern Nevada, said “Sex Trafficking is a problem which is only going to grow if not addressed.

The agencies involved include: the Clark County District Attorney, Nevada Attorney General, U.S. Attorney, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD), Henderson Police Department (HPD), North Las Vegas Police Department (NLVPD), University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) and College of Southern Nevada Police Departments, Clark County School District Police, Nevada Department of Parole and Probation, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Southern Nevada Children’s Advocacy Center, Salvation Army Seeds of Hope Program, The Embracing Project, Rape Crisis Center, and others.