LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- The team at Saved in America gathered in their mobile command unit to debrief before an evening operation in Las Vegas on Friday.

The nonprofit says they have rescued 250 teens from sex trafficking since 2014.

“This is real. This is almost as prevalent as drug trafficking,” founder of Saved in America Joseph Travers said. “A drug trafficker can only sell his product once, but he can sell a girl over and over again."

Travers, a former Navy veteran, police officer and police commissioner, came up with the idea more than a decade ago when he discovered there was no group fighting sex trafficking of children.

"Law enforcement, through no fault of their own, can't go looking for runaways, because they have armed robberies and murders and rapes. We want to fill that gap,” Travers said.

Their mission in Nevada, they say, is to find seven missing teenage girls.

“A lot of these are going to be in gang infested territories," Travers said. “I would say probably a lot more dangerous than your average neighborhood.”

The organization is run by volunteers. The group of private investigators run strictly off private donations.

"I work 60 hours a week as a police officer and another probably 40 a week with Saved in America," Travers said.

Many on the team come from military backgrounds and are experts in special operations. They said the long, unpaid hours, are always worth it when they save a child.

"When you see the look on the child’s or parents face and just the gratefulness they show you," he said.

He shared a voice message on his phone from a mother of a teenage girl who was located by Saved in America in Reno last Month.

“Reno PD was able to apprehend Hannah … Thank you so, so much for everything you have done,” the mother said.

However, many of the missing children are foster kids. Travers said 60% of missing children are from foster homes.

The team gathered intelligence on three missing girls in Las Vegas on Friday. When Saved in America locates a child, they notify police who move in, remove the child and likely make an arrest of a trafficker, should that be the situation the child is in.

Travers said the organization is expanding across the country. They currently have 100 volunteers in reserves around the United States.

Locations

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