On Monday, April 22, the Nebraska Human Trafficking Summit was held at UNL to highlight sex trafficking and exploitation in Lincoln. Various speakers were brought in by Nebraska University Students Against Modern-Day Slavery (NUSAMS) to give testimonies and share what they are doing to help with this problem. Students, faculty, and people with a general interest of the topic were asked to attend.
The event opened with Kathryn Bolkovac, a former police investigator, international speaker, and author of Whistle Blower who shared her experiences of uncovering human and sex trafficking while working in Bosnia.
After Bolkovac spoke, a new website was launched by NUSAMS, The Red Shawl. “The Red Shawl is committed to educate, document, and raise awareness of the true extent of trafficking in Nebraska. It also aims to provide a statewide network, encouragement, and awareness for all Nebraskans, with an emphasis on vulnerable populations.”
In the afternoon, a panel of experts spoke on sex trafficking in Lincoln, and what is being done to stop it from occurring. Those on the panel included Allie Busch, Student President of NUSAMS; Mike Smith, Director of The BAY; Christopher Webster with Lincoln Public Schools and the Homeless Coalition; Pastor Tom Barber, CEO of People’s City Mission; John Freudenberg, Assistant Attorney General, Nebraska; Anna Shavers, Cline Williams Professor of Citizen Law, and Member of the UNL Research Team on Human Trafficking; and Jessica*, survivor of sex trafficking. This panel gave the audience an inside look at human and sex trafficking in Lincoln, and the ways that all of these different organizations and groups of people are working to change the situation. FBI Agent Kevin Hytrek also gave a presentation on how the FBI is trained to approach human trafficking situations.
Our Director of Outreach, Nikki Siegel, was also interviewed by Cole Miller with Channel 8 news to give information about I’ve Got A Name and the work that we do in the community.
The summit concluded with the viewing of the movie, The Whistle Blower, that was based on the experiences of Kathryn Bolkovac in Bosnia.
The summit was a huge success and all of us at I’ve Got A Name are looking forward to having another summit on human trafficking in Nebraska in the future! Make sure you check out photos from the event.
Photo credit: Liana Katherman & Sarah Stirling