Human Trafficking in Nebraska

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.

  1. 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. Attorney General’s Office Report
  2. 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.” Omaha World Herald Article
  3. 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.  KETV Video Report
  4. January 2011: Jared Rosenow, a 42 year old registered sex offender from Friend, NE, was arrested for trying to coerce a girl to have sex with him by threatening to report her to the police for posting an ad for a “female encounter” on Craigslist. KETV Article
  5. 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

News Articles

  1. Bills would crack down on local human trafficking — January, 2013 KLKN-TV
  2. First step for human trafficking task force: Gauge the problem — December, 2012 Lincoln Journal Star
  3. Local authorities search for solution to human trafficking problem in Nebraska — December, 2011 NET Nebraska
  4. Human trafficking exists in Nebraska, even in Lincoln — April, 2010 Daily Nebraskan
  5. UNL Professors estimate 2,000 slaves are in Nebraska- October, 2009 10-11 News

If you think you have come in contact with a victim of human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-3737-888 or visit www.polarisproject.org for more information and resources.