Agencies collaborate to fight human trafficking in Northern Nevada

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RENO, NV. (KOLO) You wouldn’t have had any luck finding a place to park outside the Public Safety Training Complex on Wednesday morning, and inside, you wouldn’t have had any much luck finding a seat.

That turnout, shows the severity of the problem of human trafficking.

“By the turnout today it’s a great sign that the community knows that we have a problem,” said Sheriff Darin Balaam of Washoe County, “and by working together we are absolutely going to address this problem.”

Solutions were discussed at a seminar put on by ICE, and Homeland Security Investigations.

“It’s unacceptable,” remarked Reno Police Chief Jason Soto. “ It will not be accepted and will not be tolerated and we will put forth efforts until we no longer have to.”

Sparks Chief Pete Krall says collaboration between law enforcement agencies is critical.

“The approach to these things gets a little fragmented,” he explained. “When you collaborate this way and bring things together it makes for a much more effective operation.”

As was made clear at the seminar, the problem of human trafficking begins at an early age, sometimes as early as ten years old.

“It really plays on kids basic needs which is why it can happen in any demographic,” said Shontell Brewer of Awaken, who explained the sad reality of how this type of thing typically works.

“They are sending in someone that is just a little older than the girls and they will partner with them for months,” she remarked. “But then they can flip it to a trafficking situation. These girls are so flattered that they are 12 and have an 18 year old boyfriend that they become willing to do anything and that anything ends up leading to a terrible situation.”

And its terrible situations like that which Wednesday’s seminar, looks to help prevent.

Copyright KOLO-TV 2019