Think human trafficking doesn’t happen in Nebraska? Think again. Here are a few examples of people being bought and sold right here in our state.
- December 2008: Leonard Russell was convicted in Iowa of harboring, transporting and coercing two Nebraska girls ages 15 and 16 to perform commercial sex acts including performances at strip clubs. They ran away from a group home in Fremont and he picked them up and told them they had to earn money by “getting dates” in exchange for the food, shelter, transportation and clothing he provided them with. The 15 year old was eventually recovered by police in Washington, D.C. Fox News
- April 2010: Richard Costanzo, president of an escort company called Dream Girls Inc., was arrested for running a prostitution ring in NE & Iowa. He had underage girls working for him. He advertised his girls on several different escort websites claiming “Our girls are available 24 hours a day, and can be at your doorstep within one hour to accommodate any situation.” Federal Bureau of Investigation
- February 2011: Mary Crane Horton (32) and Nate Horton (35) were sentenced to 17.5 and 14.5 years in prison in February for human trafficking 6 women. They coerced a 15-year-old girl to perform commercial sex acts. The 15-year-old met another prostitute who worked for them through friends at high school. They used violence & threats on girls to keep them in line. Federal Bureau of Investigation
- January 2013: Michelle Randall (35) of Upland, Nebraska was sentenced to up to 90 years in prison for felony conspiracy to commit first-degree sexual assault of a child and felony possession of child pornography. Randall was arrested after meeting with an undercover officer she believed to be a customer willing to pay $150 to $200 to have sex with her and a 14-year old girl. The ensuing investigation revealed Randall had pornographic pictures of 14- and 7-year-old children on her cell phone and had arranged numerous sexual acts with the two children in several counties. Kearney Hub Article
Nebraska Commission on Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice
Task Force on Human Trafficking Reports