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’Shine a Light on Trafficking’ event returns to Grand Island

Published: Aug. 29, 2020 at 10:59 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Dozens of people lined the streets of Grand Island Saturday night for the second annual Shine a Light on Human Trafficking event. People held signs to raise awareness and glow sticks to help shine a light on the issue.

The conversation around human trafficking has grown over the last few months, but organizers say social media doesn’t always send out an accurate depiction of the issues.

“I think that bringing more attention to sex trafficking is a positive thing,” Organizer Amber Smith told Local4 News. “The negative aspect is when we bring in these huge sensationalized stories that focus on kidnapping and brute force and selling kids locked in cabinets.”

Smith says that portrayal of trafficking can cause problems when it comes to raising real awareness.

“What happens is it takes away that this is happening in my community, this is happening to my people and turns it towards those people,” Smith said. “It really glorifies things that are not true.”

Human trafficking happens all across the United States, including in Nebraska, and Smith says it often looks much different than what more people expect.

“When we’re looking at human trafficking here in Nebraska, the kind of relationships that you’re going to see between traffickers and victims are going to be familial, boyfriend and girlfriend,” she said. “Almost always the victim personally knows who their trafficker is.”

To learn more about how trafficking in the Grand Island area, you can visit the Grand Island Area Coalition Against Human Trafficking website.

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