Nebraska Attorney General names Human Trafficking Coordinator
By Mike Tobias , Senior Producer, Nebraska Public Media
June 4, 2015, 12:30 p.m. ·
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A newly-created position in the office of Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson will focus on human trafficking.
Omaha attorney Stephen O’Meara is the state’s first human trafficking coordinator. For 25 years he was an assistant U.S. attorney in Nebraska and Iowa, prosecuting a number of major sex trafficking cases. He’s also been active with the Omaha Child Exploitation Task Force and numerous other organizations working on this issue. In Nebraska, the majority of human trafficking is sex trafficking; that’s when people, often minors, are forced or coerced against their will into commercial sex trade. O’Meara says one of his primary tasks will be development of a statewide human trafficking plan which will focus heavily on the victims of sex trafficking.
"New Effort to Fight Sex Trafficking: Training Hotel Workers" (May 2015 NET News story)
"Sex Trafficking Haunts Nebraska Events" (June 2014 NET News story)
Nebraska Governor's Task Force on Human Trafficking report from 2013, which includes information on trafficking in the state and recommendations.
“First of all to end up with a truly statewide system in which law enforcement, people engaged in services for individuals that are more likely to be victimized in human trafficking, and even the public, realize, recognize and respond,” O’Meara said.
O’Meara will also coordinate Nebraska’s efforts with nearby states and at times participate in human trafficking investigation and prosecution. A position of this type is a first for Nebraska, but it already exists in the attorney general’s office of some other states.
“I think having a named position first of all sends a message to the public to realize that this is a significant and substantial issue,” O’Meara said.
An issue O’Meara called tragic, because he said traffickers are doing business throughout Nebraska, and are stealing “the body, the mind and the spirit” of their victims.
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