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Human trafficking campaign rightly targets demand
Those of us who grew up in small-town Nebraska may conjure up a scene straight out of Andy Griffith when we think back to our childhoods.
While much of rural Nebraska may be more like Mayberry RFD than Los Angeles, we have our share of crime and depravity, and authorities are dealing with far more than Barney’s misadventures.
That’s why it’s appropriate that officials have targeted child sex trafficking through the Demand An End public awareness campaign.
Not only do main corridors like Interstate 80 carry legal commerce from city to city, but we hear what seem like daily reports of drugs seized during traffic stops, and, less often but more alarmingly, human trafficking.
The Human Trafficking Hotline reported 116 calls in 2017, and 34 human trafficking cases reported.
That’s a tiny number compared to places like California or Texas, but one case is too many, especially when it involves children.
Like the federal raids this week on a national chain of convenience stores, which targeted demand for illegal workers, the Demand An End campaign targets those who would purchase the chance to exploit a minor.
They need to know there will be a heavy price to pay when they are caught.
According to the Human Trafficking Initiative, 11 percent of those sold for sex online are advertised under the age of 21.
Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson is partnering with numerous individuals and agencies, including state and local officials, the Department of Transportation, Nebraska Trucking Association, Nebraska Latino American Commission, League of Nebraska Municipalities, Nebraska Council of School Administrators, non-profits and countless private citizens to attack the problem.
A concentrated effort targeting Interstate 80 is designed to bring awareness to those traveling through our state that trafficking will not be tolerated.
“Although it is very troubling to know that young people are being trafficked in Nebraska, I am encouraged that so many Nebraskans have united to fight child sex trafficking,” Attorney General Peterson said. “Together, we must demand an end to this form of slavery.”
No, we don’t live in Mayberry, and it’s up to each of us to contact authorities if we suspect someone is being exploited.
View a YouTube PSA here.
Learn more about the Demand An End campaign here.
Find statistics about the problem here.