Modern Slavery in Omaha

Dezi LaPierre, Kelly Alonzo, Chyla Floyd

Human trafficking is a problem that occurs in everyday life and around a sleepy Midwestern city of Omaha, Nebraska. The findings produced by the study conducted have provided behind the scene insights of human trafficking. To expand on that, human trafficking affects everyone on a daily basis. This effects everyone because it can happen to anyone in the most common places, especially within a city like Omaha. It could happen at a grocery store, the College World Series, various hotels, or even just walking down the sidewalk. Human trafficking is a serious matter that will continue to happen if someone doesn’t spread a light on the issues of human trafficking and the information in regards to it. This study examines this issue and how we analyzed it in Omaha.

METHODS: For this study, information was gathered about where and when human trafficking happens in Omaha and the multiple different aspects of human trafficking. As a group, research was conducted on human trafficking cases, found information about it, where it happens, and so on. At first the study started out broad with any where in the United States. Once the group found some articles that gave us insights to human trafficking and the definitions and important information to consider the study moved on to researching a little closer to home, literally. The research conducted then began to look up human trafficking in Omaha, Nebraska. After searching for quite some time, the group was able to find information the study was looking for. Each individual in the group conducted a search on different aspects when it comes to human trafficking. After gathering information, the orientation memo, where the study talked about what was found throughout the articles picked and also an overview of what was in the articles, was created.  Once all participants found a couple articles that related to one topic the research were looking for, the group sat down and read each others articles and found themes throughout them. After each of us came up with themes, the group then decided which ones were the most important when it came to talking about human trafficking. This is where the group started coding the information that was acquired. Through this coding the group looked for themes- meaning things that seemed to be coming up in multiple of our articles. To begin, all of us made an individual coding table with just the articles that the group found as an individual, then the research group created another table that was a group table that included the rest of the groups article with ours individually, and lastly the group made one more coding table that had our narrowed down searches. Lastly, the research study made one final decision on which article to use and what were the most important themes to use to add into the coding tables.

FINDINGS: Majority of the articles found were specific to Omaha dealing with human trafficking which is highly likely at places like the College World Series and the Berkshire Hathaway events. These events are not the only places human trafficking happens, but there has been many signs of human trafficking at these events. Throughout each of the articles used for research themes occurred that relate to human trafficking. This information was found from articles such as Omaha World Herald, WOWT 6 News, Task Force 2013 and 2015, Operating interstate Prostitution, and More harm than good. These articles provided insight to the information obtained and added to our research. Some of the major themes the group found were :

METHODS IN ABDUCTIONS: meaning the way the people in charge of the human trafficking rings go about getting people. Things that were found with the methods in abductions is  people will carry around large amounts of money, multiple hotel room keys, no form of identification, online, in person, at nail salons, social networks, fake messages, and a few others. Most victims, more than 80%, encounter a health care professional at least once in their time of captivity, according to Long’s case study article. All in all, our research pointed to a lack of education in all forms. The methods that captors use are usually done in secrecy and with great planning; and with the uprising of social media it makes it easier to know where a person could be at any time of the day which works in the favor of the enemy.

LEGALITY:  The talk about the legal aspects of human trafficking.  In regards to legality, quite a few discussed TVPA which stands for Trafficking Victims Prevention Act of 2000. One major act for social media is The Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act and Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (FOSTA-SESTA). Along with things legally to help prevent human trafficking from the article Interstate Prostitution Operation the man who committed the crime was charged with one count of conspiracy to use facilities in interstate commerce in aid of a racketeering enterprise (that is, a business enterprise involving prostitution) and to induce travel in interstate commerce with intent to engage in prostitution. Sentences a term of probation which consist of three years and to pay  a fine of $15,000. For a crime that was up and running for several years his only consequences is no time served.

EMOTION: As far as the emotional theme, more of our articles gave personal stories and quotes from victims who were in a human trafficking ring. Some evidence said that the victims could have been enslaved for so long that the abuse they experienced can feel and seem normal to them. Other victims have stated that they have been raped, strangled, physically and mentally abused. These victims have stated that support is an important part for victims coming out of the human trafficking rings. It is generally a tough transition in order to integrate back into the world of “normal society” after facing immense physical and emotional trauma. Living in captivity, and serving the needs of another person out of terror must be emotionally tolling.  women who have lived in these type of situations “must build themselves from the ground up in the face of society’s judgmental upbringing and in the face of horror” (Pomeroy). These victims have to fight for their lives back.

PREVENTION: Is our fourth theme and the group talks about the ways people can help prevent human trafficking from happening and or continuing. For prevention, four out of five articles discussed ways to help prevent human trafficking. Some of the articles mentioned a phone number to call if someone were to happen to see signs of human trafficking and also mentioned to just take precautions when using driving services. Some of the other things that the article mentioned was if you see someone who seems timid, has scars and bruises, or a hard time focusing to call the National Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888, Crime Stoppers at 402-444-STOP or 911 (Nelson). The Trafficking Protection Program funded by the government tries to implement protective measures such as putting up posters with phone numbers listed above, however, there is no education classes or measures similarly being taken in order to easily recognize situations as serious as human trafficking.  

STATISTICS: The final theme our group had was the statistics of Omaha when it comes to human trafficking.  Lastly, we have statistics and our articles gave statistics for a couple different things. One of them being how many people are trafficked in Nebraska every month, along with how many people didn’t know about human trafficking. It was stated by the women’s fund of Omaha that “900 people are sold for sex online in Nebraska every month; about 75% of them show signs of being trafficked” (Nelson). Along with “1362 of 1500 indicated no knowledge on human trafficking” (Ricketts).

ANALYSIS: The way in which a society is structured and the means in which it deals with situations is how problems occur or are confined. In human society, human trafficking occurrences are becoming increasingly more frequent which, in many cases we researched, numbs our thinking of the severity and emotional consequences that follow the crime. The systematic development of human interactions and the laws have very distinct lines between them. For instance, the law and police institutions are made to protect the people. However, in our study we have concluded that Nebraska and Omaha specially are inadequately implementing laws that protect the people of Omaha from the dangers of human trafficking. This ultimately results in more frequent incidences of sexual assault or labor distributions furthering the world-wide problems of mental health. The articles that were found at the beginning of this project pertaining to the world’s problem on human trafficking, relates very closely to how Omaha is adapted to handle these situations. For example, in a qualitative study done around Nurses’ perspectives on victims of human trafficking, it can be tough to spot human trafficking in its earliest form but not impossible. Omaha needs to do a better job regarding educating medical health professionals and active police officers to ensure the safety standards of these young individuals are being met. Another example is that police officers are being held accountable and blamed for not being able to identify the human trafficking cases. (Farrell). If Omaha were able to properly teach their police officers there could be a chance of less cases of human trafficking and be able to stop them sooner and or completely. Our group wanted to find statistics involving the rescue rate of human trafficking victims but could not find that data within our articles.

CONCLUSION: In conclusion, human trafficking is an epidemic that the city of Omaha seems to be unaware about. Male dominated events such as the college world series and Berkshire Hathaway’s events make easier targets for males to scout out victims. The emotional strain put usually upon those women usually goes unreported causing a lack of official documentation. It all comes down to the power aspect. Human trafficking needs to be addressed more in Omaha and education needs to be provided to everyone in order to prevent further cases. Alternative measures for women who feel that there is no there is no other options than to deal with being put into human trafficking need to be implemented. In the past decade the world has shown a lot of progress in attempting to combat human trafficking; new laws such as the TVPA have been enacted. Human trafficking can take form in many shapes and it needs to be recognized that there are multiple warning signs that the police and bystanders can recognize. There is always more to be done in regards to this epidemic.



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