My family is from the Eastern plains of Colorado and the sand hills of Nebraska. I have driven through Nebraska so many times and traveled up and down I-80. In fact, my first road trip alone took me on I-80 when I was only 17-years old.
To say the least, I was a little shocked by a news headline I saw over the weekend about sex trafficking Nebraska’s I-80:
Sex Trafficking In Nebraska: Kids Bought & Sold Along I-80
I know sex trafficking is a problem all over the world and in no way am I naïve enough to think that it doesn’t exist on the quiet plains of Nebraska, but it still takes my breath away.
“There is evidence that hundreds of girls, some in their early teens are being sold as sex slaves in truck stops in our area.”
Early teens. This isn’t just sex trafficking—although that’s bad enough—no, this also includes child sex trafficking. Thankfully, there are organizations like Truckers Against Trafficking who are doing all they can to stop it.
Many truck stops have become a hotspot for trafficking. Not only is the Interstate highway system a great way to transport girls quickly, it is also primed for the selling of sex as well. Lonely men, alone, on the road, away from their families, days and sometimes weeks at a time, truckers have become a target market for the sex trade.
Although Truckers Against Trafficking is working hard to stop this business, getting involved by trying to rescue a girl can be dangerous for those involved:
“Owens said the sex trade is a violent business. Many girls have to have facial reconstruction and false teeth put in from being beat up or held hostage by their pimps. She said when it comes to helping these girls, you never know who is watching. The best thing you can do is give them a word of encouragement, hand them a phone number they can call for help, or call local law enforcement.”
We need more pro-active organizations who are strategically approaching trafficking, more individuals who are willing to show their financial support towards these organizations, as well as a cultural shift against the over sexualization of young girls.