F1 Las Vegas: Rescue Operation During Race Sees 14 Missing Children Found

Posted on: November 21, 2023, 10:38h. 

Last updated on: November 21, 2023, 02:57h.

A search-and-rescue operation for missing children turned up 14 individuals during the F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix last weekend, according to a report from KLAS-TV/Las Vegas.

The Sphere displays the animated image of a young girl.
An F1 crowd catches some prerace entertainment as The Sphere displays the animated image of a young girl. (Image: oversteer48.com)

While most eyes on the Strip were trained on the racetrack, officials with F.R.E.E. International — a nonprofit working to end human trafficking in the U.S.– had theirs on the crowd, as they do whenever a large public event takes place in Las Vegas.

We live in a city where there are a lot of predators in it,” said Michael Bartel, who founded the Vegas-based nonprofit in 2007 with his wife Denise after working with Project Rescue in Southern Asia.

F.R.E.E. International worked alongside Clark County School District Police (CCSDPD) and private security officers during the operation.

When there are large events like this in our city, unfortunately, the likelihood of juveniles being sex-trafficked can go up,” CCSDPD lieutenant Bryan Zink told KLAS.

Children Reunited

Details of the rescues were scarce, including how many of the 14 children were returned to their families, though the report stated that F.R.E.E. International would follow up with the families of those who were returned, and deliver a holiday meal.

A study published in 2019 in “The Journal of Experimental Criminology” found “no evidence to suggest a statistically significant increase” in crime, including sex trafficking, caused by the 2018 F1 Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.

In February, F.R.E.E. International will return to the Strip to conduct a similar operation during Super Bowl LVIII at Allegiant Stadium.

Anyone who suspects their child is missing is urged to contact police immediately.