Our district is in the process of developing a strategic plan to address human trafficking in our District.  This is in response to a growing awareness of how serious this problem is in Nebraska and around the world.  A few of us met recently to discuss developing a strategic plan to combat this scourge.  Sharon Wherry is leading a committee to focus our energy as a district and see how best we can assist. 
The state has task forces set up by the Attorney General’s office to inform and involve law enforcement.  More recently there has been an effort to form coalitions throughout the states of Nebraska and Iowa comprised of agencies that work with people who have been abused or trafficked. 
It’s a difficult issue to address because trafficking occurs in secrecy.  One idea that is being promoted by Stephan Patrick O’Meara, a former State Investigator now involved in helping coalitions to form, is something called Hotel/Motel awareness.  This involves training hotel and motel staff to look for the signs of someone who may be trafficked.  It also involves posting information in bathrooms and other places where a trafficked person could learn how to get help. 
There is also interest in working with the schools to do awareness training for young people that would vary according to the age group.  Shockingly, many trafficked people are quite young.  They tend to come from families with a lot of disruption (maybe the parents don’t get along or are absent frequently). 
There is also a real problem of resource availability.  Being trafficked is life altering in a very bad way. To recover from being sold for sex multiple times by people you had grown to trust (due to the grooming process) people who have been trafficked need a great deal of support over several years to recover their self esteem and develop egalitarian friendships and job skills. 
We as a district are trying to determine how we can best help.  We think that assisting with prevention and awareness activities in hotels, motels, schools, youth organizations is one area where Rotarians can assist.  We also think that encouraging the schools and elected officials to address trafficking in age appropriate curriculum in schools is helpful.  We also think that long term helping to develop more resources to assist victims to recover will be helpful. 
One thing I would ask all clubs in District 5650 to do is have speakers and hold public forums to highlight awareness of this problem.  Sharron Wherry and I can recommend some excellent speakers.  A few clubs are looking at bringing in some internationally known speakers.  I urge them to invite as many people to attend these forums.  Again, like women’s empowerment this will be a long range initiative by our district.