Human trafficking also known as today’s modern-day slavery is a global phenomenon that happens in every country. Victims of modern-day slavery are exploited and compelled into service for labor or commercial sex acts.
Anna Brewer made an appearance at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln campus on Tuesday, Oct. 9th, located at Andersen Hall, 147, Lincoln, NE 68508, to speak to students about her previous work in Nebraska–specifically focusing on sex crimes.
Brewer defined sex trafficking as “recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act…”
Brewer was a former FBI agent of 24 years and held assignments in Washington D.C., Reno, Nevada, and Omaha, Nebraska.
She also established and managed an Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force–a national network of 61 coordinated task forces representing the federal, state, local law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies that actively investigate and prosecute people involved in child abuse and sexual exploitation over the Internet.
Brewer emphasized how traffickers prey on people’s vulnerability by using “force, fraud and coercion”. She demonstrated these tactics by playing audio clips, during her presentation, of what traffickers would commonly say to lure their victims.
One example being: “I love you baby.” This is a prime illustration of coercion because, fake love between the trafficker and the trafficked, is a manipulation tactic used in order to keep the victim’s working–along with physical and mental abuse.
Alongside catching the Johns–men who buy sex and imprisoning the traffickers–people who sell the trafficked, Brewer conducted interviews with the trafficked victims in order to obtain data for further research on the issue.
One of her interviewees, stated how she loved “the smell of money”. The scent of cash was her opium. So the traffickers would manipulate her by giving her this ultimatum: if she sold herself for sex then the traffickers would feed her with the scent of money–and so the victim continued to sell her body.
“A lot of the time, traffickers go to malls, bus stops or public places where a lot of people congregate, or they’ll even go to schools. The older person knows how to manipulate and how to tell if a girl is insecure or has low self-esteem,” Human trafficking survivor advocate, Genevieve Hightower (Santa Rosa, CA rape crisis and sexual assault center) stated in the June 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report.
Although this statement is true, Brewer spoke about how traffickers can be ones neighbors, boyfriends and family. No one is safe from being trafficked.
The research from Dr. Mar Brettmann stated that “of the 104 charged with soliciting sex from children in King County, Washington, the majority work in local businesses, in a variety of industries”.
Brewer currently works as a Human Trafficking Training Consultant for the Women’s Fund of Omaha–a foundation that examines issues and conducts research to improve the lives of girls and women by investing grant money in local nonprofits and advocating for effective policy solutions.
Here, Brewer has trained over 18,000 law enforcement officials, prosecutors, advocates, health care providers and among many other groups throughout her career.
In order to stop human trafficking the demand for buying sex must stop. But until that happens, Brewer continues to spread awareness for human trafficking in hopes to equip the public with the resources they need to combat the issue.