LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – It does not take the Super Bowl coming to town to know that all the fun Las Vegas is having could come with some danger of being exploited and trafficked.
Las Vegas is a city that hardly ever quiets down. One former victim, Sarah Perkins spoke with FOX5 from her home in Oregon, as she remembered her first visit to Las Vegas.
“I had no idea what I was in for,” Perkins said.
In 2006, Perkins was working at a mall in Portland when a man approached her and asked her out on a date.
“I worked in a suits department and he would get fitted for suits and that was his way in talking to me, just small talk and build like a level of trust,” Perkins said.
Perkins said the date never happened, as that man took her to a house where she said she was raped by several men who would not leave her alone after.
“I think that I had walked into a situation that I had never been in‚” Perkins said. “I didn’t know how to respond.”
It was a situation that Perkins did not realize was human trafficking.
“I had never heard about this in my entire life,” Perkins said.
It didn’t end there, a week after she was raped, the man who pretended to take her out on a date, took her on a flight to Las Vegas.
Once in Vegas, Perkins said she was forced to find customers who would pay for sexual favors. FOX5 asked Perkins if there were any hints that people at the airport could have noticed.
“I think honestly TSA would be the first line of action or even agents at the front desk, when I went to the front desk and I was getting my ticket I remember her asking me a lot of questions and he handed her my ID and she thought it was weird but she never followed her instinct,” Perkins said.
Her ordeal went on for years, but Perkins was able to get away with the help of one of her Johns.
Now, she wants to share her story as Las Vegas heads into Super Bowl weekend.
“You are bringing a ton of people into a highly sexualized place and I think it blurs the line for people like what is consensual and what is human trafficking,” Perkins said.
It is a blurred line that she wants everyone to be aware of.
Perkins said there are messages that many of us see in the bathroom stalls at Harry Reid International Airport, which consist of hotlines for human trafficking victims. However, Perkins says that even those who aren’t victims can contact the hotline, especially if they spot someone who may be a victim.
Perkins continues to be an advocate for trafficking victims and has taken part in podcasts with other survivors called “Defying Destiny.”
She hopes her message can reach potential victims.
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