The Nebraska Family Alliance joined state officials Monday at the state capitol for a signing ceremony declaring January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month.

Gov. Pete Ricketts, Attorney General Doug Peterson, several state senators and other anti-trafficking groups attended.

Human trafficking happens everywhere, even in Nebraska, NFA Policy Director Nate Grasz said

“Human trafficking is modern day slavery in which people profit from exploiting others through force, fraud, coercion, or deception,” Grasz said.

While Nebraska is not isolated from the scourge of human trafficking, we are grateful for the broad coalition of legislators, service providers, advocacy groups, churches, and diligent citizens who make our state a leader in combating human trafficking, he said.

Human Trafficking Awareness Month is recognized each January, creating an opportunity for Nebraskans to learn about the issue.

Grasz said a 2015 report from the Governor’s Task Force on Human Trafficking found at least 47 Nebraska school girls are known to be trafficked each year, and a 2017 Human Trafficking Initiative study from Creighton University found that 900 individuals are advertised for sex online each month in Nebraska.

Thankfully in recent years, Nebraska has enacted substantial anti-trafficking laws to deter and prosecute traffickers, increase criminal penalties related to trafficking, target trafficking rings, and expand access to services for survivors, Grasz said.

The Nebraska Family Alliance supports efforts to prevent trafficking, increase awareness, provide rescue and restoration to victims, and punish those who attempt to sell and purchase human beings as commodities.