Sex trafficking survivors focus of new study

Posted By: Sarah Fili

sfili@klkntv.com

"When I was six I was trafficked here in Omaha until I was about 16 years old,” Rachel Pointer, a sex trafficking survivor, said.

Victim’s stories just like these make up a report released by the Women’s Fund of Omaha.

The first of its kind study, details the enormity of Nebraska’s sex trafficking problem- from the mouths of more than 20 survivors.

"A crime like human trafficking really strips you of your humanity,” Pointer said.

It details the struggles of women and girls forced into a life of being bought and sold for sex, only to make it out of the trade with no help.

"There aren’t a lot of hands out there to help you, trustworthy hands and people that will say I’m here, tell me what you need and I’ll help you where I can.” Pointer said.

“The psychological damage that is done to somebody who as a young age or an old age it doesn’t really matter is such that it makes something as simple as breathing difficult."

Researchers outline the 3 P’s to combat the issue: prevention, protection of survivors and persecution of perpetrators.

"Well there need to be laws to protect them as well as laws to prosecute the men who buy them. They need education in the schools that will help them to understand what’s going on and what’s happening and that they did not have to be victimized. That nobody should have control of their body, and sell them, and make money off them and drug them out and abuse and use them, I mean they are our Nebraska girls,” Professor Syriani Tidball, a researcher, said.

Sex trafficking is alive and well in Nebraska, according to the report. Survivors say it’s time to put an end to it.

"We didn’t get here overnight, we’re not going to fix this overnight., And its going to take all of us recognizing what’s happening and stop being okay with it, before anything happens. I’m going to be on the ground fighting for as long as I possibly can,” Pointer said.

She also mentioned that survivors have a real need for a safe environment, not just a physical space, but a trustworthy support system and a community that does not victim blame.

To read the full report, click here: http://www.omahawomensfund.org/wp-content/uploads/Nebraska-Sex-Trafficking-Survivors-Speak.pdf