Sex Trafficking: A Small-Town Scourge

Jun 22, 2016

Interstate 80 contributes to the spread of sex trafficking throughout Nebraska.
Credit David Koehn / NET Nebraska

If you think sex trafficking only happens along the border or in major cities, think again. A recent report by NET Nebraska shows that sex trafficking is thriving in rural America. It’s believed that hundreds of people are sold for sex in Nebraska each year. And many of those cases occur in small towns.

Jamie Manzer of Nebraska’s Spouse Abuse Sexual Assault Crisis Center says they once helped women being trafficked in a town of just 500 people. Sometimes trafficking is tied to rural events, like the Adams County Fair, Kearney Bike Night and the State Fair in Grand Island.

Isolation of victims in rural areas is a common tool used by traffickers. It’s a challenge for trafficking victims to find discreet help in communities where everyone knows everyone.

Classified ad trafficking sites have been located for Grand Island, North Platte and Scottsbluff.