LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — It’s Super Bowl weekend and while some will be celebrating, others have a more serious mission.
Several Las Vegas-based nonprofits are using the next few days as an opportunity to track down missing children around the valley.
It’s called The Big Search led by F.R.E.E. International and Nevada Child Seekers. The organizations do this work year-round, but Super Bowl weekend kicks off a three-day city-wide search with teams of volunteers dispatched to different areas of the valley.
“We chose this week for a reason. There’s going to be a huge increase in activity in this town and we want to take advantage of that activity to be able to find the kids we’re looking for,” said Michael Bartel, co-founder of F.R.E.E. International.
Bartel said places like Fremont Street and The Strip are busier than usual on weekends when major events are happening. Experts say Las Vegas has several hotspots for human trafficking activity.
According to Nevada Child Seekers, more than 8,000 children go missing every year in our state. That’s about 20 children a day. The goal is to track down the children before it's too late.
“Everywhere we’ve done this, we’ve seen great success because once a city starts looking for their kids, they find them,” Bartel said.
After a youth returns home, he or she is offered the opportunity to participate in monthly meetings and is referred to workshops or mental health options.
The tips gathered by volunteers are forwarded to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.