Sex trafficking, including that of girls as young as 11, is on the rise in the Reno area. The exploitation happens every day in hotels, casinos and in the front seats of cars — called “car dates.” Pimps use intimidation and violence to make the girls work for them and then turn over the money they make.
The Nevada Legislature has passed a measure that made human trafficking a serious offense that carries tougher penalties. The new law, which went into effect July 1, made trafficking an adult a category B felony that carries a three-to-10-year sentence. Exploitation of a child is now a category A felony that carries a maximum life sentence. Parole eligibility for those cases depends on how young the victim is.
The next step will be a change in the public’s perception of the crime as well as the prostitute’s perception of herself and her predicament, experts say.
Tiffany Short, an FBI victim-witness specialist in Reno who works as a counselor for these women, said things can begin to change for the better as the community learns the depth of this problem. “People are acknowledging that youth and adults are being sexually exploited in our city, on our streets, in our hotels, and our community is standing up to say this is not OK, and we need to meet the needs of the exploited and prevent this from happening,” she said.
Learn more at Reno officials working to stop sex trafficking.