Human Trafficking a Problem in Northern Nevada

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Updated: 9/28/2011 11:23 pm

Reno, Nev -- A former UNR professor and IRS agent is under arrest for human trafficking -- and experts say it's a growing problem here in Northern Nevada.

Experts say it is a form of modern day slavery... and the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the 21st century, as a $9 bllion dollar a year global industry. And they say the State of Nevada is not immune to this troubling problem.

The U.S. Attorney's office says this 58-year old Reno man, Kemp Shiffer, is charged with bringing a California woman into Nevada in order to prostitute her. The retired IRS agent and former UNR professor is indicted for human trafficking.

Coincidentally on Wednesday, that indictment came down the same day UNR students held a forum on campus on Human Trafficking. Nevada Assemblyman from Las Vegas John Hambrick was one of the speakers. Hambrick says human trafficking for sex and labor is a huge problem in Vegas, and don't think it's not happening here.

"Last November you had 14, 15 year old girls who came to law enforcement seeking help and they were trafficked by someone from the Bay Area, so yes it is prevalent here," said Hambrick.

Beni Hernandez, who came in from Los Angeles to speak to students about her work with the Coaltion to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking, also says human trafficking is happening here.

"Definitely areas like Reno and Las Vegas where it's a major destination for tourists, you'll see individuals brought in for forced prostitution and forced labor," said Hernandez.

To combat this growing problem, the speakers called on Congress to reauthorize the Trafficking Victim Protection Act, and Assemblyman Hambrick called for an increase in penalties on traffickers and on those who come to our state and commit this crime.

"This is something that's a sick individual coming to our community, buying bodies of young girls, we must stop it," said Hambrick.

The speakers added that if the community wants to get involved in combatting human trafficking, one thing you could do without too much trouble is to contact local and national politicians, and ask them to make a pledge to address this troubling issue.

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ddunkley2 - 9/29/2011 4:49 PM
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Way to Go! I heard about this forum before it happened and I really wanted to go. Women's Federation for World Peace (or WFWP) led by Sarah Canak has done a wonderful job putting this together! Why was Sarah not mentioned more in the report? You should help us do one of these in Las Vegas! Way to go Sarah Canak!

Dougster - 9/29/2011 11:25 AM
1 Vote
Interesting Report; Let's hear it for UN Reno student Sarah Canak and her friends who spent weeks organizing a very professional academic discussion of this growing problem. The Women's Federation for World Peace in Reno is doing some heavy lifting to rescue girls as young as 14 who are being forced into the sex trade by pimps. Lot of male students in Reno think denial is a river in Egypt. Doug Burton
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