The floors at The Embracing Project are loud, the hallways old. So are the problems that they fight here.
Inside these rooms are young girls, some are as old as 21 some as young as 10. They are all victims of sexual exploitation or trafficking. Many have nowhere else to turn.
Of the more than 200 they worked with last year, over half are homeless.
“I love Las Vegas, but can we please have alternatives for our children?", Executive Director Toshia Shaw told us. “You have to give them alternatives to the street.”
The Embracing Project is the only place of its kind in Southern Nevada. Every day, those young girls are free to come and seek shelter. They can take school classes to get their diploma. There are therapists and job placement programs. Some girls are sent here by the courts others just seem to find it.
We asked Shaw if the lack of resources is damaging to the Las Vegas community. “Beyond damaging,” she responded. “Now you’re bringing in professional sports teams and while that’s great for our economy, it’s not always good for our children. Unfortunately, people come here to use our children.”
The need is ever growing but, while Shaw is sure that everyday girls will come to find help, she’s never sure she’ll have the money to give them it.
Like all non-profits, The Embracing Project works off of grants and the kindness of others. Shaw works to give stability to the most vulnerable without the stability of a yearly budget.