NORFOLK, Neb. -- It's a topic that's happening right under our noses in Nebraska, and that is human trafficking. Whether it's for sexual or labor purposes, it can happen to anyone, and it doesn't matter your age or race or even your gender.

"Trafficking goes across the spectrum, " Norfolk Police Captain Mike Bauer said. ”You have males, females, boys, girls, anyone can actually be trafficked depending upon the situation.”

Human trafficking is happening all over Nebraska and is a multi-billion-dollar operation that happens illegally. This modern form of slavery coerces individuals into acts that are not consensual for another person’s benefit. 

“Well, human trafficking is actually the use of threats or fraud or coercion to obtain some type of labor, commonly they are often thought of as prostitution labor or sex act labor, " Bauer said.

But what are some of the signs you can identify if you were to see a potential trafficking situation in public? 

According to, the victim may look abused or submissive. They may look malnourished or in poor health. When asked questions, they may come across as scripted. The individual may also not be allowed to communicate with other people without another person present.     

“Some of the red flags will be a person initiating a relationship with you," Bauer said. "They might offer you a job that has unrealistic benefits or pay.” 

According to Bauer, that is when the isolation begins. That typically includes controlling behavior, finances, and social control. 

“You know, if you build your house on a bad foundation, it's always going to have problems," Pastor Will Perrigan said, Executive Director of the Norfolk Rescue Mission. "And sometimes, the only way to do a really nice remodel is to tear everything down and start over.” 

If one finds themselves in this situation, there are resources to help. The Norfolk Rescue Mission offers shelter and services for many people who potentially have been victims of human trafficking. 

“So yeah, if a lady came in from a situation having been trafficked; if she just simply wanted a safe place to start over and get a job and move into her own apartment, she could do that," Perrigan said. "If she wanted, you know, a whole new life in Christ and to have people mentoring her and speaking into her life for about a year, she can go that route as well.”

It all begins with recognizing the potential areas you could face these dangers. According to, a website that can help identify signs of trafficking, include bars, motels, playgrounds or any other type of social setting. 

“I would encourage people to really play it smart and be situationally aware," Perrigan said. ”Look around and consider who's there, who looks like they belong, who doesn't? Who would you consider to be maybe the greatest threat in the room?”

The human trafficking hotline in Nebraska is: 1-833-PLS-LOOK.