Human trafficking is the umbrella term that encompasses both the exploitation of individuals for labor as well as exploitation for commercial gain through sex. Acts of commercial sex with anyone under the age of 18 is de facto sex trafficking.
Contrary to what most believe, there is a thriving commercial sex industry in Nebraska, and it is important to identify where trafficking may be occurring within the industry while also developing a comprehensive approach to combatting sex trafficking.
The Women’s Fund of Omaha is committed to the long-term outcome of achieving a reduction in sex trafficking through decreasing demand, increasing services and supports, and preventing new and continued exploitation. To achieve a reduction of sex trafficking in our state we focus on the following strategies:
- Strengthening survivor leadership
- Creating coalitions & networks
- Building provider capacity
- Increasing education & awareness
- Changing policy & practice
Here are some important statistics, found in our recent published research, Nebraska’s Commercial Sex Market Report:
- Every month, 900 individuals in Nebraska are purchased for sex online, often multiple times.
- Individuals from 27 states are purchased for sex throughout Nebraska on a monthly basis. These individuals are located in other states as far away as New York, Massachusetts, Florida, Oregon and California.
- African Americans represent only 5% of Nebraska’s population, and yet they make up half of all individuals purchased for sex in the state.
- In Nebraska, 11% of those being purchased for sex online are advertised as under the age of 21.
The research in this report was gathered by the Human Trafficking Initiative (HTI), conducted through the Heider College of Business at Creighton University. HTI is supported by the Women’s Fund of Omaha and funded by The Sherwood Foundation. The research of HTI uses data science to collect, analyze and evaluate the scope of sex trafficking across the United States and to identify effective policy solutions.
In Fall 2016, the Women’s Fund of Omaha hosted a series of meetings with local service providers and survivors focused on developing a road map for a network of services for victim-survivors of sex trafficking as well as guiding principles and values to inform the work and service provision. This was followed by 26 listening sessions with service providers with a goal to analyze the gaps, needs and barriers in the Omaha service provider network when it comes to sex trafficking victims-survivors.
The Women’s Fund of Omaha also released a research report giving voice to local sex trafficking survivors. Nothing About Us Without Us includes information 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 research was gathered by professors at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
In addition to the research, we worked with Senator Patty Pansing Brooks to introduce legislation in 2017, LB 289, that increased penalties for trafficking and solicitation. Learn more about LB 289 here.
During the current Nebraska Legislative Session, we are working again with Senator Pansing Brooks to champion legislation, LB 1132, to provide relief from criminal convictions for victims of sex trafficking. Learn more about LB 1132 here.
We partner with the Nebraska Human Trafficking Task Force which is focused on stopping traffickers, eliminating the market and developing a state-wide, victim and survivor centered system. The task force is comprised of partners across disciplines and across the state.
An evaluation report of our work was recently completed regarding our efforts which defined our theory of change for this project.
If you see something, say something. If you suspect sex trafficking, report it to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 888-3737-888 or text HELP to BEFREE (233733).
Additional resources are available via:
You can find more information regarding sex trafficking at the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at https://humantraffickinghotline.org/.