Salvation Army to raise sex trafficking awareness during CWS


OMAHA, Ne (FOX42KPTM) - In just days, hundreds of thousands of people will come to Omaha for the College World Series. Unfortunately, that means the bad guys might use this opportunity to commit crimes.

Here's a number: 300,000. That's not an estimate of how many people will show up for the College World Series. That's how many victims of sex trafficking there are a year, according to the federal government.

Don't think this can happen in Nebraska, think again. An Omaha task force recently revealed that more than 200 people got trapped in this dark world between 2010 and 2015. It's a problem so big hotels in Nebraska have trained its workers how to spot signs of trouble. Omaha's Magnolia Hotel was among the first to get this training in a partnership with a trafficking coalition.

With a big event like the College World Series coming to town, one set of eyes after another will be paying close attention to more than just the games. That includes personnel with the Salvation Army. They'll have a presence down at TD Ameritrade Park and hand out informational pamphlets to the people who go to the stadium.

"Sex trafficking is happening literally right underneath our eyes," said Dr. Linda Burkle with the Salvation Army.

Dr. Burkle told FOX 42 News you can help put the brakes on the sex trafficking problem. There are warning signs to look out for. If someone has poor physical health and shows lack of control, for example. Also, abnormal behavior and no sense of time.

"I think people sometimes feel like in the midwest we're immune to some of these things that are egregious, but that's totally not true," said Dr. Burkle.

Law enforcement will also be watching. Since 2014, investigators have busted dozens connected to sex trafficking during the College World Series.

Sex trafficking is an issue investigators don't take lightly either. They were keeping a watchful eye even during the leadup to last year's solar eclipse. They say when a large number of visitors show up to a certain place there's always the possibility of an increase in bad behavior.

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