Sarah Williams said she was shocked when she learned from author and journalist Benjamin Skinner that slavery is a modern day occurence. Inspired, Williams dug deeper into the subject to see how she could make a difference.
It was after further research that she learned that human trafficking is an epidemic she can prevent. Both realizations began Williams’ career in preventing human trafficking.
Williams works as a patrol officer on the Lincoln Police Department’s southwest team, and focuses on prostitution and human trafficking. She shared her police experiences preventing human trafficking at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Andersen Hall on Nov. 20 in an event hosted by the Nebraska University Students Against Modern Slavery.
She discussed factors that contribute to human trafficking, like family dysfunction and mental illness. She also shared stories of human trafficking that ranged from children forced into human trafficking to an attorney accused of soliciting prostitutes.
Williams said those factors and stories fit into a larger picture of human trafficking in Nebraska.According to the Omaha Women’s Fund, 900 people are sold in Nebraska each month — 200 of which are from Lincoln.
Williams discussed human trafficking victims’ reluctance to speak with the police, especially when the victims are not from the United States. She said their unwillingness presents a significant hurdle against prevention.