What Happens in Vegas

FILE UNDER: Advocacy, Impact, Intervention, Prevention

From March 5-12th, iEmpathize, Annika Huff, and Norma Bastidas teamed up with Las Vegas Fire and Rescue, Metro Police, and the Southern Nevada Human Trafficking Task Force to Empower Las Vegas. The event included six days of training for first responders and frontline workers, an educators’ workshop, and the Las Vegas premiere of Be Relentless.

It all began when Matt Driscoll of Las Vegas Fire and Rescue attended an iEmpathize event last fall and was moved to action. He became the catalyst for Empower Las Vegas. Survivor leaders and iEmpathize partners Annika Huff and Norma Bastidas joined us in the vision to engage the city.

Annika, who survived the crime of human trafficking in Las Vegas, led trainings on a victim-centered approach. We trained more than 900 first responders and frontline workers to more effectively recognize and respond to human trafficking. The cross-agency training included interactive learning through our exhibit and films along with training sessions by law enforcement, advocates, and survivor leaders. In all, the trainings spanned more than six days for a total of 20 sessions. ER staff, fire and rescue, medical students, cadets, educators, social workers, and more were in attendance at the World Market Center throughout the week. We also hosted our Prevention Approach Workshop for educators.

On March 12th, we premiered Be Relentless at The Smith Center with more than 500 in attendance. Be Relentless is the story of Norma Bastidas shattering the world record for the longest triathlon in history to fight human trafficking. Norma, who is touring with the movie, received a standing ovation after inspiring the crowd as our keynote speaker.



  • During Matt’s first shift after the trainings, his response crew put their training into practice by identifying a potential human trafficking victim and safely intervening.
  • Our priority is prevention and getting the Empower Youth Program to youth serving professionals is how we accomplish that. We built numerous relationships with community partners representing thousands of youth. We are working with those organizations on developing a prevention strategy and implementing our prevention and outreach tools.


This is what happened in Las Vegas… And partners and tools to protect vulnerable youth are staying in Las Vegas.

Click HERE to read the full Impact Report!