Box Butte County, NE

Tactics Used

Auto Seizure
Buyer Arrests
Community Service
Employment Loss
Identity Disclosure
IT Based Tactics
John School
License Suspension
Neighborhood Action
Public Education
Reverse Stings
SOAP Orders
Web Stings

Box Butte County has a population of about 11,000 residents and is located in southwestern Nebraska, near the Wyoming border. Its county seat is Alliance. Authorities at local, state, and federal levels have identified the county’s proximity to Interstate 80 (specifically, located on a highway connecting Interstate’s 25 and 80) to be the primary factor in the level of prostitution and sex trafficking activity in the area. Traffickers generally operate along Interstate 80 and in larger cities, although  their reach extends statewide. Reports have identified major trafficking hotspots in Omaha, Lincoln, Grand Island, North Platte, Scottsbluff and surrounding communities, with much of the activity in smaller cities such as Alliance and occurring at numerous truck stops throughout the state. According to the human trafficking coordinator for the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office, “Even if you just followed the major interstate system all the way from Omaha out through Scottsbluff, there is measurable sex trafficking that occurs virtually all the time. Particularly during major events, but all the time, across all of Nebraska.” Former FBI agent Anna Brewer, who investigated trafficking cases for more than 20 years, including work out of the Omaha-area office, said the Interstate drives trafficking in Nebraska because “… they can just stop at a rest stop, knowing that they don’t have to move, that the business is going to come to them… with cellphones or smartphones, all the buyer has to do is look on his phone for particular cities, states, rest stops, exits, and see if there’s a person for sale.” In one case, investigators alleged two women had recruited a victim in Arkansas, brought her to central Nebraska, advertised her on, and sold her for sex at a motel near a truck stop in the area.

To address consumer-level demand that drives both prostitution and sex trafficking markets, at least one web-based reverse sting has been conducted in Alliance, resulting in three men being arrested on prostitution charges in October 2018. During the operation, the three men allegedly contacted an undercover officer to perform sexual acts in exchange for compensation. The men were expected to be formally charged with solicitation of a prostitute, a Class I misdemeanor. The Alliance Police Department conducted this operation targeting sex trafficking in conjunction with the Nebraska Human Trafficking Task Force, Nebraska Attorney General’s Office, Box Butte County Attorney, Nebraska State Patrol, Box Butte County Sheriff’s Office, Western Intelligence Narcotics Group (WING), Scottsbluff Police Department, Sidney Police Department, Chadron Police Department, Gering Police Department, and Scotts Bluff County Sheriff’s Office.

Key Partners

  • Box Butte County Sheriff’s Office
  • Box Butte County Attorney
  • Alliance Police Department
  • Scottsbluff County Sheriff’s Office
  • Scottsbluff County Attorney’s Office
  • Nebraska Attorney General’s Office
  • Nebraska Human Trafficking Task Force
  • Nebraska State Patrol
  • Western Intelligence Narcotics Group (WING)
  • Sidney Police Department
  • Chadron Police Department
  • Gering Police Department
State Nebraska
Type County
Population 10772
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