Local News


Local group mobilizes volunteers to find missing children

Posted at 6:48 PM, Jan 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-01 10:32:08-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — There's a significant movement to get missing kids off the streets this weekend. It's aimed at preventing human trafficking in the valley.

Friday, an army of volunteers dressed in green hit the streets of Las Vegas with a mission - locate missing kids.

They were armed with flyers, showcasing 30 different children.

"Once these flyers are out there, the community is aware that these children are missing," Margarita Edwards, executive director of Nevada Child Seekers, said.

It's all part of the "Big Search" by the nonprofit as more than 350 volunteers will mobilize over three days.

Most of the missing kids they're trying to find are local and were reported missing within the last six months.

Edwards says in the four years the group has done this; there has been an impact.

"The three days… we usually get about six to ten kids over the weekend," she said.

Edwards also said about 90% of the children featured for the "Big Search" are eventually found within one to four months of the event. She believes the tips volunteers receive is a difference-maker as timing is critical.

"One in three children that go into the streets or run away, within 48 hours, will be approached by a predator, a trafficker, or someone intending harm," she said.

"If you're 13 or 14, you don't have any means for a car, a place, or anything. Some of these kids are running, some are sold," Michael Riva, a volunteer, said.

The nonprofit says every year, there are 8,000 children reported missing in Nevada.

"It could be abuse at home. It could be trafficking. It could be rebellion," Edwards said.

Ultimately, she says it about making sure these kids have a stable future.

"Once they're found and offered help, then they're safe and can make better choices, and we're an advocate for our children," Edwards said.