Today in the Nebraska State Capitol Rotunda, Attorney General Doug Peterson was joined by Stephen Patrick O’Meara, AGO Human Trafficking Coordinator, announcing the Attorney General’s Strategic Plan for combatting human trafficking.
Since taking office, Peterson has expressed commitment to battling against human trafficking. This effort began with his legislative package including a bill to strengthen penalties related to human trafficking. LB 294 was sponsored and prioritized by Senator Jim Scheer of Norfolk, and signed into law by Governor Pete Ricketts on May 19, 2015.
Peterson was joined by Congressman Jeff Fortenberry in March of this year for a Roundtable discussion with recognized leaders concerned and working to combat trafficking in our state. During the Roundtable, the Attorney General committed to structuring a Strategic Plan. Attendees of the discussion provided input of ideas they believed would benefit the construction of the Plan.
Following the Roundtable, Stephen O’Meara, recently retired Assistant U.S. Attorney, agreed to commit his experience and expertise towards serving the State in the Attorney General’s Office as Human Trafficking Coordinator. His first project was the completion of an application for a $600,000 federal grant by the Office of Justice Programs from the U.S. Department of Justice. The AGO was awarded the three-year grant, which began October 1, 2015.
Today’s announcement was attended by two dozen people including partnering organizations and members of several state agencies, as well as numerous honored guests.
“Today is not about any one of us, but rather, all of us joining together to unite in our efforts to preserve the value and dignity of human life in our state,” stated Peterson.
Stephen O’Meara unveiled the overview of a 69 page Report and Recommendations Regarding Establishment of the Nebraska Human Trafficking Task Force (NHTTF). The NHTTF consists of an advisory group as well as three working groups and three operational components. The working groups include Service, Law Enforcement, and Community Partner. The NHTTF will be a coordinated, multi-disciplinary, victim-oriented, statewide response to human trafficking, which will have Response Teams providing the necessary support and service in implementing the work designated by the NHTTF.
The Attorney General provided all in attendance with the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline information: 888-3737-888. The NHTRC takes confidential calls and provides interpreters 24 hours a day, seven days a week.