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Speaker Seeks to ‘Set Free’ Trafficking Victims 10/15/18  10/21/18 9:38:58 PM Printer Friendly VersionPrinter Friendly Version

Stephanie Olson presents a rapid-fire presentation on sex trafficking to a room filled with those who work with children and families, including agency professionals, attorneys and interested stakeholders.
(Photo by Lorraine Boyd)

Speaker Seeks to ‘Set Free’ Trafficking Victims
The fourth and final installment of the 2018 Youth Impact! Brown Baggers featured the Set Me Free Project president and CEO Stephanie Olson on October 10. While her presentation could easily run two or three hours, she cut it down to one hour to acquaint the audience with the basic facts about sex trafficking, especially of minors, in Omaha including how to recognize it, report it, rescue victims, and more importantly, prevent it.
One main area of concern was the use of social media to recruit and groom victims. She said at least one of three components needs to be present – force, fraud or coercion – for trafficking to be proven.
“We need to change laws to change the culture,” she said.
Three recently-passed laws are a good start: LB1132, LB843, and LB1120. High risk factors for young people include previous sexual abuse, and being homeless, especially if they are LGBTQ. Shockingly, she said, the life span of a victim, if not rescued, is seven years. And if rescued, “the restoration process is even longer.” Her organization is willing to go to any school, organization or company to make a presentation, she said.
The series is co-chaired by Hon. Douglas Johnson of the Douglas County Separate Juvenile Court and Nick Juliano of Boys Town. It is free and open to any interested parties. The lunch-time meetings are held at the Omaha-Douglas Civic Center.
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