Lawmakers discuss plan to help human trafficking victims

There are roughly 100,000 children trafficked across the U.S. each year.

For 10 years, Omaha resident Rachel Pointer was one of them.

“All I saw was the harsh reality of someone coming in, and wanting me to do things for them, treating me like I was some item on the shelf,” said the 32-year-old.

Pointer says she had a support system strong enough to eventually pull her out of human trafficking—which unfortunately, is not the case for many victims.

But the state is looking to change that.

Attorney General Doug Peterson and Congressman Jeff Fortenberry hosted a round table discussion Wednesday to develop better treatment and programs for victims of human trafficking.

“There’s a lot of people doing various good things,” said Fortenberry.  “But now that it will be coordinated through the Attorney General’s office potentially, I think that make a lot of sense.  A lot of other states have done that, particularly Iowa.”

The goal is to give different agencies the resources they need to remove girls from human trafficking, and keep them from going back to it.

“I would say that I wasted a good 15 years of my life trying to muddle through it on my own.  I had to encounter a lot of things that I wouldn’t have had to if we had services in place,” said Pointer.

Peterson said the state has talked enough about how to strengthen Nebraska‘s response to human trafficking—and believes now is the time to start taking action.

“Putting those services in place—like therapy, different kinds of things to help with safety, recovery, addiction—those things are imperative so that we don’t continue to waste time and livelihood,” Pointer explained.

Peterson wants to have an entire strategic plan mapped out in the next six months.