Event raises funds to end child sex trafficking

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) -- Child sex trafficking is a growing problem around the world, and even in Nevada.

"I can't sleep at night knowing this is happening," said Jennifer Baker, who helped rescue a trafficking victim.

Baker wasn't a victim of the crime, but a few years ago she was involved in successfully getting a south Reno girl back home safe after the girl was manipulated into leaving her home.

"My heart is broken. Any normal person with a heartbeat should be concerned about what is going on," said Baker.

People like Baker are concerned because the problem of child sex trafficking continues to grow.

"This is the plague of our generation right now," said Tim Ballard, founder of Operation Underground Railroad.

Operation Underground Railroad is a nonprofit group that rescues trafficked kids in 15 countries.

"A lot of people don't want to think it's real or they don't want to believe it's real," said Ballard.

Ballard has seen the problem first-hand; for 12 years he was a special agent with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and exposed sex trafficking rings.

He started the nonprofit in 2013 to support law enforcement agencies throughout the world to combat children sex trafficking.

"Especially the smaller jurisdiction, they just don't have the resources and to no fault of anybody other than the system doesn't provide what is needed," said Baker.

He says in five years, the nonprofit helped remove more than a thousand people from trafficking rings and help arrest nearly 400 people participating in the crime.

February 8, 2018, supporters of the nonprofit held a gala fundraiser with nearly 800 people in attendance at the Silver Legacy Resort Casino to raise funds to continue the fight against child sex trafficking fight.

"We have to do something, we have to help these kids, who can't help themselves," said Baker.

If you want to learn more about the nonprofit, click here.