Hotels and motels recruited to fight human...

Posted at 11:11 PM, Jan 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-28 09:12:36-05

Spotting signs of young women forced into prostitution, police, city and state officials join forces with local hotels and motels to but an end to human trafficking.

"The statistics available on human trafficking can only be described as shocking, even sickening," said Omaha mayor Jean Stothert.

Trying to combat this distrubing issue head-on, city leaders renewed their efforts to crack down on the sex trade.

"My goal and with the help of this task force, that the city of Omaha becomes a hard target so that it becomes known throughout the country this is not the place to come to do your human trafficking," said Omaha police chief Todd Schmaderer.

The latest statistics show the average age of sex trafficking victims is 12-14 years old. To help expose this problem, these leaders are targeting where many of these pimps and victims so-hotels and motels.

"It is happening here in Omaha I can testify to that," said Tim Darby, General Manager of the Magnolia Hotel in Downtown Omaha. Darby said his crew participated in the free training provided by the human trafficking coalition in order to fight this crime.

"I decided to take a lead and provide that training to my associates and it's starting to kind of catch on," said Darby.

Darby said they learned not to allow cash transactions, looking for specific tattoos and looking for things out of the norm, "Looking for things that may seem a bit odd, that you have a 2 double bed, you have 2-3 people that are utilizing the room, there's one bed that a mess-the other is made, what the training says, that's a business bed that's the bed they will sleep in."

At this point, Darby said they haven't caught anyone in the act but his goal is to show everyone his hotel is not a place for selling sex and hopes others will follow in his footsteps.

"Our first and foremost priority is the safety and security of our guest," said Darby, "When it brings it into our community and you hear real-life statistical information about Omaha and Council Bluffs, it really opens your eyes and brings it to a more realistic situation".