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Omaha, Nebraska is situated along the Missouri River, close to the Iowa border. Omaha is the seat of Douglas County, which contains over one-fourth of the Nebraska’s residents (585,000), most living in Omaha (population 487,000+), the county seat and the state’s largest city. Prostitution has generated numerous community complaints for decades, and sex trafficking has been well documented in the city or decades in the city of Omaha, including child sex trafficking. For example, in 2011 an investigation revealed a sex trafficking ring that operated out of a midtown Omaha home for about three years, from 2007-2010. Girls and women had been held captive and sex trafficked, and beatings were supplemented with intimidation (such as threatening to cut out a woman’s unborn baby) in order to compel service. Federal and local authorities said the ring’s operators exploited women and runaways as young as 13 years of age. In July, 2021, an Omaha man who pleaded guilty earlier that year to a single count of sex trafficking of a minor was sentenced to more than 20 years in federal prison. Federal agents uncovered the crime the prior year after an Omaha foster child was reported missing, and the investigation showed the offender had been trafficking the 16-year-old victim for money, including provided hotel rooms, advertising and transportation for the girl to be sexually abused by sex buyers. In April, 2023, an Omaha man was sentenced to 27 years in federal prison for sex trafficking a 17-year-old girl for paid sexual abuse. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, he advertised online for commercial sex, kept any money exchanged, supplied the minor with cocaine, and also sexually assaulting the girl. The man was arrested in November 2021 at an Omaha hotel, where investigators found him with an adult woman who was being sold for sex. In 2019, the man was previously convicted of unlawful sex acts with a 16-17-year-old girl in Leon County, Florida, and failed to register as a sex offender in Nebraska after leaving Florida. In addition to the 27-year federal prison sentence, the offender will also serve 10 years of supervised release, pay $1,300 in restitution, and be required to register as a sex offender. In addition, numerous prostituted women have been murdered in the city, leading to speculation that some may have been the victims of a serial killer. Other prostitution related crimes known to occur in the city include drug trafficking, violence, and child sexual abuse materials (CSAM)
Various agencies and organizations in the city have targeted the demand for commercial sex in their efforts to reduce the prevalence and impact of prostitution and sex trafficking. A number of tactics have been used, including reverse stings and shaming, which began in 2005. For example, in April 2014 a web-based operation resulted in the arrest of 12 sex buyers; another in June 2018 produced the arrest of nine sex buyers. Police have also sent “dear john” letters to the homes of alleged sex buyers. The city has had at least one john school program (and probably two) for men arrested for buying sex.
Some arrests of sex buyers occur through means other than reverse stings using undercover officers and fictitious ads posted online, but are instead the result of investigations about alleged offenses against real sexually exploited persons. For example, a Homeland Security investigation begun in January, 2021 into sex trafficking that netted a federal indictment on the ring’s leader also yielded the arrest of a man who had traveled from South Dakota to Omaha to purchase access to sexually abuse a teenage girl. The man’s identity was included in news reports.
Loss of employment is another consequence of buying sex that has occurred in the city. For example, in March, 2010, the firing of an Omaha firefighter amid allegations that he was involved in soliciting prostitution was upheld. A grievance filed by the man was denied. He had appealed his firing and the matter went into arbitration. The man was arrested the prior year of soliciting prostitution after he was arrested in a reverse prostitution sting conducted in a Council Bluffs motel. He had paid the woman, who was an undercover informant, $150 before he was arrested.
- Omaha Police Department
- Ford Birth Site Association
- FBI’s Omaha Division
- Innocence Lost Task Force
- Omaha Woman’s Fund
- Omaha Fire Department
Street-Level Reverse Stings:
- “11 Arrested in Prostitution Sting”, NBC/WOWT-TV 6, July 15 2010.
- “35 More Prostitution Arrests”, Omaha World-Herald, April 27 2012.
- “Six Men Arrested for Allegedly Soliciting Prostitutes”, NBC/WOWT-TV 6, November 12 2013.
Web-Based Reverse Stings:
- “Craigslist Ads Lead to More Arrests”, ABC/KETV-TV 7, March 5 2009.
- http://www.1011now.com/content/news/Metro-prostitution-sting-nets-12-arrests (2017)
- https://www.3newsnow.com/news/local-news/nine-arrested-in-online-prostitution-sting (2018)
Arrest of Sex Buyer, Identity Disclosure:
Neighborhood Action, Identity Disclosure:
- “Billboard Names Anger Some”, NBC/WOWT-TV 6, August 7 2004.
- “Street Prostitution (2nd Edition)”, Michael S. Scott & Kelly Dedel, Problem-Oriented Guides for Police, Problem-Specific Guides Series No. 2, U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), November 2006. [NOTE: See page 34]
- https://www.issuelab.org/resources/1191/1191.pdf (2008)
Proposed Vehicle Seizure:
Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:
- “FBI Arrest Man for Overseeing Prostitution”, NBC/WOWT-TV 6, December 18 2008.
- “Iowa Man Convicted of Human Trafficking, Sold Teens in Prostitution”, FOX News, December 22 2008.
- “Man Sentenced in Prostitution Case”, Omaha World-Herald, July 24 2009.
- “4 Guilty of Sex Trafficking”, Omaha World-Herald, October 26 2010.
- “Violence Kept Women as Prostitutes”, Omaha World-Herald, February 6 2011.
- “Omaha Man Sentenced on Sex Trafficking Charge”, Press Release, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa, U.S. Department of Justice, April 12 2011.
- “Prostitution Ring Patrol Gets Jail”, Omaha World-Herald, May 20 2011.
- “Three People Sentenced on Sex Trafficking and Prostitution Charges”, Press Release, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa, FBI, February 22 2012.
- “Prostitution and Trafficking Omaha”, Today’s Omaha Woman (15: 2), Omaha Woman’s Fund, Spring 2012.
- “New Jersey Man Convicted of Sex Trafficking Charges”, Press Release, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa, FBI, November 21 2012.
- “FBI Recounts Horrors of Sarpy County Teens Caught in Sex Trade”, Omaha World-Herald, October 11 2013.
- “Police Investigate Sex Trafficking in NW Omaha,” CBS/KMTV-TV 3, October 7 2015.
- “FBI Announces Sex Trafficking Arrests in Omaha,” ABC/KHGI-TV 13, October 14 2015.
- “Man Arrested on Sex Charges Involving Underage Girl,” NBC/WOWT-TV 6, October 31 2015.
- https://www.siouxlandproud.com/omaha-man-sentenced-to-prison-for-sex-trafficking-minor/ (2021)
- https://www.3newsnow.com/organization-works-with-omaha-businesses-to-raise-awareness-of-human-trafficking (2022)
- https://kfab.iheart.com/omaha-man-sentenced-for-transporting-minor-for-prostitution/ (2022)
- https://omaha.com/two-omahans-sentenced-for-sex-trafficking-of-minors (2022)
- https://www.ketv.com/article/omaha-man-federally-sentenced-for-sex-trafficking-a-minor-by-force (2023)
- https://rivercountry.newschannelnebraska.com/omaha-man-sentenced-to-27-years-prison-sex-trafficking-minor (2023)
Background on Prostitution in the Area:
- “Homes for ‘Fallen’ Women and Girls”, Elia Peattie: An Uncommon Writer, an Uncommon Woman, Center for Digital Research in the Humanities, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
- “Prostitution Moving from Street to Internet”, NBC/WOWT-TV 6, February 11 2008.
- “Another Omaha Prostitution Sting”, NBC/WOWT-TV 6, August 19 2009.
- “Prostitution Sting Nets Eight Women”, NBC/WOWT-TV 6, March 31 2010.
- “Iowan Gets Prison in Nebraska Prostitution Case”, CBS/KMTV-TV 3, November 7 2011.
- “Omaha Prostitute Speaks Out”, Omaha World-Herald, March 12 2012.
- “Local Group Gives Sex Victims & Prostitutes a Second Change”, NBC/WOWT-TV 6, August 26 2013.
- “Ex-Manager at Omaha Spa Used as Front for Prostitution Gets 33 Months”, Omaha World-Herald, December 12 2013.
- “Texan Sentenced in Omaha Prostitution Case”, Omaha World-Herald, January 24 2014.
- https://www.ketv.com/article/omaha-indictment-pace-jack-olson-lpoa-fundraiser (2023)
Local Prostitution-Related Violence, CSAM:
- “Suicide Victim Suspected in Other Killings”, Lawrence Journal-World, November 19 2006.
- “Iowa Man Arrested in Sex Assaults”, Omaha World-Herald, August 12 2010.
- “Prostitutes Vulnerable as ‘Invisible’ Part of Society”, Omaha World-Herald, August 29 2010.
- “Serial Rapist Gets 110 to 140 Years”, CBS/KMTV-TV 3, September 9 2011.
- “Omaha Man Guilty in Shooting Death of Pimp,” Omaha World-Herald, June 25 2015.
- https://www.wowt.com/federal-court-sentences-omaha-man-15-years-producing-child-porn/ (2022)
Local Prostitution Ordinance: