Omaha, NE

Tactics Used

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

Omaha is a city in the U.S. state of Nebraska, on the Missouri River close to the Iowa border. Omaha is the seat of Douglas County, NE, Douglas County contains over one-fourth of the Nebraska’s residents (571,000), most living in Omaha (population 480,000), 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.  Also, 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.

Key Partners

  • Omaha Police Department
  • Ford Birth Site Association
  • FBI’s Omaha Division
    • Innocence Lost Task Force
  • Omaha Woman’s Fund
  • Omaha Fire Department

Key Sources

Street-Level Reverse Stings:

Web-Based Reverse Stings:

Arrest of Sex Buyer, Identity Disclosure:

Employment Loss:

Neighborhood Action, Identity Disclosure:

Proposed Vehicle Seizure:

Sex Trafficking and Child Sexual Exploitation in the Area:

Background on Prostitution in the Area:

Local Prostitution-Related Violence, CSAM:

Local Prostitution Ordinance:

State Nebraska
Type City
Population 479579
Location
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