As we surmised in the week leading up to the Final Four in Minneapolis, we expected local police and even the FBI to be involved in the prevention of sex trafficking and prostitution ahead of the final games. It appears we were right about the crackdown, and statistics from the bust suggest there’s a significant issue in the Twin Cities.
According to Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), which had assistance from the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations and 31 local law enforcement agencies, nearly four dozen people were arrested and charged for attempting to solicit children for sex following a four-day sting operation during the Final Four weekend. In all, 47 individuals were charged.
Preventing Child Sex Trafficking
Investigators from the Human Trafficking Investigators Task Force conducted a sting operation from April 4-8 in several Twin Cities communities. During the operation, law enforcement officials posed as minors or sex buyers on numerous websites and social media platforms. Authorities would set up a rendezvous and then place the suspect under arrest once they arrived for an encounter. All suspects were booked into the Hennepin, Anoka or Ramsey county jails.
Here’s a closer look at findings from the operation:
- 47 people were arrested on charges of probable cause felony solicitation of a minor or solicitation of prostitution under 16 years of age.
- 11 individuals were booked on probable cause of sex trafficking or promotion of prostitution.
- 28 victims, including one minor, were rescued from trafficking situations.
“This operation is an example of the aggressive steps necessary to stop traffickers and johns who buy and sell people for sex in our communities,” said BCA Superintendent Drew Evans. “We can’t let this crime continue, and we must work together to stop it.”
We expected there to be an increase in prostitution-related crimes over the Final Four weekend, and that seems to be the case based on these findings and the calls we’ve received in the last week and a half. But it’s also surprising to see a rather large arrest total for underage sex solicitation and trafficking. It’s very concerning, but at the same time it’s clear that these agencies did a good job working to help get victims the help they deserve.
If you’ve been victimized by sex trafficking or don’t know where to turn, reach out to us at Appelman Law Firm. Even though the laws are designed to protect victims, there are still instances where those solicited for sex end up being charged with a crime. If you need help because you’ve been charged even though you’ve been victimized, or you just want help escaping the world of sexual exploitation, reach out to the criminal defense team at Appelman Law Firm today.