Prevent Child Trafficking

About

Our mission is to uplift and empower young people to protect themselves and others from trafficking by providing dignity through connection, new clothes and anti-trafficking education. By building self-esteem in vulnerable youth, we enable the foundation for better choices which leads to transformative results. Our aim is to forge pathways for success, dignity, and lasting change.

We envision a community where children are protected, survivors are supported, and exploitation is eradicated through education, advocacy, and collaboration. Together, we strive to create a future where every child can thrive and reach their full potential.

The ultimate goal of the PREVENT CHILD TRAFFICKING VEGAS community initiative is to create programs that are so effective and easy to implement that the initiative is replicated in communities throughout the US

Board Members

Alicia Brown

Board Chair

Greg Lindsey

Secretary

Heidi Holly

kim laub

Kim Laub

Marie St. John Gray

Rhonda Sciortino headshot and logo 2023

Rhonda Sciortino

Tricia Justice

Yvonne Petersen

Treasurer

Sponsors

A Stranger's Kindness: Clothing as a Shield Against Trafficking

When I was eight years old, homelessness was my reality. Days blurred into months as I wore the same clothes, unable to escape the dirt that clung to me or the shame that weighed down my young shoulders. School became a battlefield of mockery, and the gaze of my teachers seemed to slide off me, unable to meet my eyes. But then, amidst the despair of a public park that I called home, a moment of kindness changed everything. A lady, a stranger with compassion in her eyes, handed me a box of clothes. The jeans were too short, the t-shirts hugged me tightly, yet as I emerged from that park bathroom, transformed into these ‘highwaters’ and snug shirts, I felt an indescribable shift within me. For the first time in a long while, I felt clean; I could lift my head high, buoyed by the simple yet profound act of kindness from someone who owed me nothing.

This encounter sparked a transformation not just in my appearance, but in my spirit. It empowered me to stand a little taller, to face the world with a newfound resilience. The generosity of a stranger armed me with a shield against exploitation, allowing me to evade the sinister intentions of traffickers not once, but twice. This profound impact of dignity, gifted in the form of clothing, is the heartbeat of our mission at VEGAS CARES CLOSET. We strive to be that beacon of hope and protection for others, using the power of connection and clothing to fortify the vulnerable against the shadows that lurk. Join us in weaving a fabric of compassion and empowerment, helping to transform victims into survivors, and survivors into champions of their own destinies.

Don't wait for change—be the change.

Alicia Brown

I spent a lifetime as an educator. I moved to Las Vegas and became a realtor. I’ve made Las Vegas, Nevada my home. It’s heartbreaking to know that my new home town has become a place where traffickers and buyers buy and sell children. It’s unconscionable to think that the children here not safe from traffickers.

I have served in the past with Teens Who Care, Relay for Life, the Symphony League, the American Heart Association, and on Rotary and Chambers of Commerce. All of those organizations do important work. But preventing the buying and selling of children feels different to me. With the life expectancy of a trafficked child estimated at only 7 years, the work of PREVENT CHILD TRAFFICKING VEGAS can literally be life saving.

My "Why"

I joined this effort because I want to lend my expertise and experience to the meaningful work of educating young people on the tricks that traffickers use to lure them into a life of slavery. By educating and connecting with vulnerable young people, we are empowering them to better protect themselves. That matters.

Greg Lindsey

Greg Lindsey has made Henderson his home for the past 25 years. With over 34 years of investigative experience, he specializes in civil rights cases as an investigator at a local law firm. Additionally, Greg co-owns and operates The Lindsey Real Estate Group, which is dedicated to helping seniors achieve their goals in selling and downsizing their homes, underscoring his commitment to the community’s elders. He is married to Ashley Lindsey, and together they are well-known figures in the Las Vegas community, balancing professional achievements with a committed partnership.

My "Why"

The catalyst for my commitment was a profoundly impactful film (Sounds of Freedom) that opened my eyes to the harsh realities of child trafficking. This film not only portrayed the brutal challenges faced by victims but also highlighted the extraordinary efforts of those working to combat this grave issue. It was a poignant reminder of the vulnerability of children across the globe and the critical need for protection and advocacy.

The reason for my resolve goes deeper than the immediate emotional response to a film. As a member of Prevent Child Trafficking Vegas, I feel a moral obligation to protect the most vulnerable among us. The thought of children—innocent, defenseless, and devoid of any means to escape such horrors—being subjected to such exploitation is something I cannot silently tolerate.

Moreover, my desire to support anti-child trafficking efforts is fueled by the belief that every child deserves a safe environment to grow, learn, and thrive. The idea that any child would be deprived of their basic rights and freedoms is a stark contradiction to the values I hold dear. It compels me to act, to contribute in whatever way I can to ensure a safer, more just world.

Supporting Prevent Child Trafficking Vegas, which leads the charge in fighting child trafficking, is one way I believe I can make a substantial impact and create sustainable changes through education and advocacy that prevent trafficking from occurring in the first place.

Heidi Holly

Heidi Holly is the founder and CEO of Lifestyle LV. For the past 19 years, she has worked tirelessly on buying, selling, and managing Las Vegas properties for her clients.

Heidi believes that strong relationships with her clients are forged through hard work, perseverance, honesty, and trust. She helps clients manage the small details that ultimately add up to increased property values.

My "Why"

Growing up in a third world country, I’ve seen how kids are sold for sex. I vow to help unfortunate kids, especially in Las Vegas, be freed and saved from sex trafficking.

Kim Laub

I’ve lived in Las Vegas for over 50 years. My husband, Joel, and I married and raised our two children here. We love Nevada! I have been privileged to promote our beautiful state as Mrs. Nevada. We have enjoyed contributing to the development of Las Vegas through the years, including the current project which is transforming the old Bonnie Springs Ranch into The Reserve at Bonnie Springs. 

Over the years, I have been involved in Nevada Women’s Philanthropy, Ronald McDonald House, Junior League, the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Brain Health Center, and the Governor’s Black Tie Event that benefits many local charities. My husband has been served on the board of Home Builders, The Nature Conservancy of Nevada and others. We are committed to giving back!

My "Why"

I’m involved in Prevent Child Trafficking Vegas because for me, Las Vegas is not merely a vacation destination, it’s my home, and I am rising up to announce to the world that OUR CHILDREN ARE NOT FOR SALE.

Marie St. John Gray

Marie St. John Gray was a model who created a clothing line that became a global luxury brand. Her clothes were worn by successful businesses women all over the world, including Hillary Rodham Clinton and Madeleine Albright.

In the beginning, Marie was the designer and creator of the clothes and her husband was the sales person and the shipping clerk. They grew the business from the two of them with one order of 200 dresses to 4,800 employees and $365 million in annual sales. 

My "Why"

As a young girl, I didn’t have the right clothes. I felt that I didn’t belong. Other girls looked so pretty and stylish. I joined the PREVENT CHILD TRAFFICKING VEGAS board because I know how empowering it is to have the right clothes and to feel good about how you look.

About Rhonda

Rhonda Sciortino was in the child welfare system after being abandoned by her mother as a young child. She was raised by a mentally ill man and an addicted woman—her maternal grandparents. She emancipated at the age of 16, became the youngest licensed insurance agent in California at 17, launched Child Welfare Insurance Services to help manage risk of child welfare organizations, and became a national child advocate. Rhonda spent the next 30+ years analyzing the ways that children and caregivers get injured or killed in out-of-home placement. From the tragic data gathered, Rhonda and her team created risk management trainings to prevent tragedy in foster care. 
 
Rhonda sold her company and founded Successful Survivors Foundation, an educational 501 c 3 organization that is dedicated to helping survivors of childhood trauma mine the lessons out of their experiences and use them to create good lives while helping others. The primary initiative of SSF is the Love Is Action Community Initiative, which helps people in communities throughout the US fight the societal ills that harm children and families. 

Her "Why"

Rhonda helped to launch the PREVENT CHILD TRAFFICKING VEGAS Community Initiative because child trafficking is preventable if citizens rise up and announce that OUR CHILDREN ARE NOT FOR SALE. We can educate the community on the 4 most common signs of possible trafficking and the 1 action to take. We can, and must, educate children on the 5 most common tricks of traffickers so that they are empowered to protect themselves. But that’s not enough. 
 
To build a protective fence around the children in our community, we must identify the most vulnerable children, beginning with those who are homeless and unaccompanied, and provide healthy connection, new clothing in a shame-free boutique, and information on designated Safe Places, the tricks of traffickers, and give them a blueprint for their own Safety Plan. These things will empower them to protect themselves and equip them to educate their peers in a way that adults never could. 

Tricia Justice

Tricia is a big picture-focused HR leader and executive coach, known for optimizing talent and teams to maximize business results. She ensures everything she does from a people perspective related to her business strategy. This synergy between strategy and people helps her produce high-performing and engaged employees to meet any challenge and cultivate success. Tricia leverages her innate ability to find the best people, to create high-growth, collaborative, and empowering environments. She currently works for the nation’s leading commercial landscape company with a mission to make the world a more beautiful and livable place. In her role as VP of Human Resources, she serves as a strategic executive partner, sought-after for advice, and serving as a sounding board for problems and challenges. Tricia focuses on achieving positive results across the organization with a high concentration on enhancing change management, succession planning, and diversity and inclusion initiatives. She believes that coaching is all about supporting growth and helping others become their ideal self. A coaching journey with Tricia fosters unimaginable achievement and being able to deliver higher excellence in all aspects of life. She prides herself on contributing to the betterment of peoples’ lives in a meaningful way.

Her "Why"

Tricia is very philanthropic and is passionate about giving back by utilizing her spiritual gifts. She believes that it was part of God’s plan that brought her and her husband Mark to Las Vegas. Since arriving here she is focused on leaving this city and the people in it better than she found them. She is serving this mission through her board work with Refuge for Women and Prevent Child Trafficking, She also serves through this mission by volunteering in the care ministry at The Crossing in Las Vegas. In the past she served on the board of the Make-A-Wish Foundation for 12 years. Tricia also supports Tim Tebow’s Foundation volunteering for their “Night to Shine” proms for special needs kids. Lastly she donates to the Gary Sinise Foundation that serves our veterans.

She believes in working hard and playing hard and infusing fun in everything she does. In her spare time, you will find Tricia putting hiking boots on to enjoy and be one with nature, be curled up with a good book, exploring the world, or learning more about the complexity of making wine and talking to winemakers.

Yvonne Petersen

Yvonne Petersen was adopted at the age of 2 months old by her foster parents who could not have children of their own. Yvonne’s biological mother was only 16 years old when she was sexually abused. Her mom was taken advantage of by someone she trusted. She didn’t tell anyone about her pregnancy until her 9th month and once she admitted it, she was sent to a home until baby was born. Yvonne grew up in a very diverse household full of children and teenagers throughout her whole life. All of whom had been through a lot. 

Yvonne has always had a passion for working with children. She volunteered to teach Sunday School classes and worked over the summer at the local grammar school as a teacher’s assistant. Yvonne planned to be a teacher, but her plans changed when she married at a young age and started a family. When Yvonne and her husband separated, she and her three children lost their car and home. Thankfully an aunt was willing to take them in. After her divorce, Yvonne went back to work and to school at night and earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration. After working as an Executive Assistant for Southern California Edison for 14 years, Yvonne joined forces with her new husband, and has managed their business for the past 25 years. Yvonne now dedicates time to working with agencies that reach out to children, pregnant teens, and foster families.

Her "Why"

There are many babies, children, and young people who are not fortunate enough to have been brought up in loving homes. Having seen the many cases that were brought to Yvonne’s home throughout her life, it made her realize what a great lack of care and love there is for so many young people. Being a part of starting the Prevent Child Trafficking Vegas and Vegas Cares Boutique is a great avenue in educating the young people who are most vulnerable. The boutique offers a safe place for the young people to shop and learn about being safe. It gives dignity to those who don’t have much if any and provides an ear to those who have so much to say. Being a part of this group is a small step to help prevent our children from being exploited. Bringing awareness to the most vulnerable will hopefully empower the young people not to be taken advantage of and to help others who they see might be in danger. If I can make just a small difference in this initiative, then hopefully the world will become more aware of what is going on and work to reduce this awful crime. 

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