Bill aims to fight human trafficking in Nebraska

By: Ashley Harding

A new bill aimed to fight human trafficking in the state have made it in to the Legislature. Advocates say this is a great step but we need to continue  raising awareness.

Senator Amanda McGill wrote this bill because she believes we can do better to fight trafficking. Monday, advocates sat down to discuss taking that next step.

It's a terrifying thought, forcing a human into slavery against their will. With billions of dollars generated worldwide every year, it's one of the most lucrative yet horrifying businesses. Many advocates say there's just not enough being done to fight it or to help the men, women and children who are victims, even here in Nebraska.

“They just can't have a way out and people should be on the same page with us. It's been such a fight which has been very surprising,” said Liz Stewart, an advocate for the cause.

That's why victims' rights advocates from all over joined in the capitol to talk about the issue. Among them is State Senator, Amanda McGill, who says she was moved to act when she learned that Nebraska ranks among the lowest in terms of fighting and reporting human trafficking.

Her bill aims to up the penalty for pandering as well as provide more training for law enforcement. If passes, posting the human trafficking hotline number around town will be mandatory.

“If somebody does see a situation that they think could be human trafficking, then they could pick up the phone and call and let authorities now about this situation. Whether it's sex trafficking or labor trafficking,” said Senator McGill.

Advocates say even though this problem isn't likely to go away anytime soon, just keeping your eyes open and knowing your options can make a world of difference. “The hotline is a great tool and I don't know why we haven't posted that hotline everywhere for these girls. They're just crying out for help and they don't know where to go.”

Amanda McGill's bill is still in committee but it will be voted on this coming Wednesday.