Authorities investigate a sex trafficking situation, and possibly stop a girl from being put into the vicious cycle.
The Nebraska State Patrol is investigating a 16-year-old girl possibly being sex trafficked in the Midwest. Court documents indicate early this month the teen told clerks at the Cubby's off of Interstate 80 and Greenwood Exit that she worried she was in danger. Authorities arrived and got her to safety.
Bob Schulte with Cubby's helps train employees at their stores to watch for prostitution usually near the semi lots. He says they watch for warning signs and call police or the sex trafficking hotline.
"The person on duty followed the guideline. They listened,” Schulte explained. "I believe we're doing our part to stop it. It's certainly a scourge and it's hard to believe it happens."
Documents say the teen met a 20-year-old man through a couple of friends on Facebook and they planned a trip from Illinois to Colorado. The teen girl was the only one who came and she told trooper the male wouldn't let her make calls, told her to give a fake name if they saw police, and to say she wasn't being kidnapped.
Alicia Webber with the Salvation Army's Safe-T Program, which fights to end trafficking, says the controlling scenario has a bunch of red flags. She says parents need to teach what can happen in these situations.
"It sounds like she felt that maybe this was happening to her because maybe she had some awareness of what sex trafficking really is so I think preparing kids and giving them that knowledge first of all,” Webber described.
In 2016, the National Sex Trafficking Hotline says 43 cases were reported in Nebraska.
The man in question has been release by police but the investigation is on-going.
If you'd like to report a tip or need services call the National Human Trafficking hotline at 888-373-7888.
For more information on the Safe-T Program visit: http://centralusa.salvationarmy.org/western/SAFE-T
Trucking Against Trafficking says they watch for signs of possible sex trafficking at truck stops:
If an RV pulls up to lot and they go off to side and you see people going in and out of vehicle
Young kids coming into story with dead or scared look on face with older person
If you see tattoos on them it could mean they’ve been “branded” by their pimp
If you see a car pull up to the semi lot
If you see kids knocking on doors in lot
If a young person comes in store not dressed for the current weather