OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - An attorney with more than four decades of experience practicing law is stepping into a role within the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office to help in the fight against sex trafficking.
Stephen Patrick O’Meara will earn $78,750 a year in the newly created human trafficking coordinator position. He said his mission is to create a statewide plan for nonprofits, law enforcement and the public to use when helping victims and catching criminals.
Anti-human trafficking organization Shared Hope International gave Nebraska a D last year for its policies regarding the illegal practice, the Omaha World-Herald (http://bit.ly/1Qw7jXC ) reported. That grade was an improvement from the F the state received in 2011.
Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson said he hopes the new position helps increase the state’s rating.
“Stephen probably has the broadest and deepest amount of experience,” Peterson said of O’Meara. “He has the full scope of what’s involved in human trafficking.”
O’Meara has a three-part approach: Getting people to realize that human trafficking does occur in Nebraska, providing information to help the public and law enforcement agencies recognize the signs of potential victims, and encouraging those who do come across the illegal practice to report it.
O’Meara hopes to roll out his statewide plan in the fall. Peterson said he hopes O’Meara’s work puts everyone on the same page for combating human trafficking.
“A lot of people’s hearts were in the right place to do something to help,” Peterson said. “We needed a person to lead and organize.”