Shining Light on Human Trafficking - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

Shining Light on Human Trafficking

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A Nebraska woman warns about human trafficking, saying it happened to her and it could happen to others.

Children or adults can be taken advantage of and sold into slavery here in the United States.

It doesn't just happen in the movies, it doesn't just happen somewhere else. It can and does happen close to home. That's the message of Central Nebraska Human Trafficking Outreach who spoke out at the Dawson County courthouse.

The group marked a big red 'X' on people's hands in hopes of striking up conversation. The goal, get people talking about how human trafficking happens where people least expect - even right here in Nebraska.

Rachel Davis was among those forced into the world of human trafficking at the young age of six. She suffered for ten years in Omaha and said the first person to sell her was someone she knew - her next–door neighbor.

"Once you are vulnerable, being exploited, it only takes a second for the wrong person to walk in at the wrong time to notice that they can exploit you and take that next step to make a profit off of you," said Davis.

Advocates say her story isn't unique and human trafficking is far too common in Nebraska.

"I–80 is a main corridor for drugs and guns and it's a main corridor for selling of human beings as well," said executive director for Central Nebraska Human Trafficking Outreach, Leticia Bonifas.

Local advocates are doing whatever they can to draw attention to the issue. Recently a man was shackled and trapped in a glass box as part of a live display to spark curiosity in those walking by.

"I want people to acknowledge that it happens, educate themselves on the issue and get involved," said Bonifas. Those who went into the box were silent, representing those for sale and bonded into slavery. Their biggest hope is an involved community that can serve as a voice to those that are suffering in silence.

After escaping from her life in human trafficking, Rachel Davis hopes that sharing her story can save someone else from going through what she did. Now with the help of organizations like the "End It Movement," she has dreams of a slavery free Nebraska.

"What gives me hope now is seeing people beginning to engage the issue and start to see how serious of an issue it is," said Davis.

The movement's goal is for people to take action and be the voice for the 27 million people they say are trapped in slavery around the world. Another awareness movement is expected in April.

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