The information presented in this report is drawn from one-on-one, in-depth interviews with 22 local survivors of sex trafficking in the Omaha and Lincoln areas. The study amplifies the voices of survivors of sex trafficking in Nebraska, who shared their experiences and beliefs in their own words.
This first-of-its-kind research report aims to put a human face to this often overlooked and misunderstood topic. By delving in deeper, and listening to the voices of survivors, the research provides context of sex trafficking in Nebraska, outlines the immediate and long-term needs of trafficked individuals, and identifies solutions proposed by survivors—all outlined with input from local survivors.
“We realize that we can only make a true impact on this issue by actively listening to and engaging with those who have lived the life. We want to walk with them in their journey, honor their stories, and gain an overall better understanding of their unique experiences and needs. The ultimate goal is for this research to begin unifying the community—including service providers, law enforcement, policy makers, and the general public—in creating a robust, survivor-informed approach to systems change,” says Meghan Malik, trafficking response coordinator for the Women’s Fund of Omaha.
The report is filled with insights and experiences from local survivors and calls for community-wide action. The research shows that preventing, identifying, and serving survivors of sex trafficking and addressing demand (buyers of commercial sex) requires a multisystem, coordinated and collaborative approach. Efforts need to focus on prevention, protecting survivors, providing services, and prosecuting perpetrators.
In order to be effective, service providers must honor and recognize the complex reality of the lived experience of sex trafficking survivors. To best meet the needs of survivors, services need to be:
• Easy to access, coordinated support, with few barriers to entry
• Holistic (addressing multiple needs including mental, physical, and social)
The research illustrates that it is the demand for commercial sex that drives the sex trade industry. An effective strategy to combat sex trafficking must include a comprehensive approach to end demand, including:
• Preventative education that focuses on raising awareness about sex trafficking in order to foster a community-wide investment in ending commercial sexual exploitation;
• Increased penalties for purchasing sex to deter both potential and former buyers;
• Increased recognition of the signs, vulnerabilities, and risk factors of trafficking, while teaching the importance of consent and respect in all relationships.
And finally, if you see something, say something. If you suspect sex trafficking, report it to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 888-373-7888 or text HELP to BEFREE (233733).
To request hard copies of Nothing About Us Without Us, please send your request to Info@OmahaWomensFund.org