Minnesota police say that in the week leading up to the Super Bowl, 36 individuals were arrested for attempting to solicit sex with a minor, and seven others were arrested for sex trafficking. Police also said that 14 women were rescued from trafficking operations. The women were not arrested, and instead were referred to social service agencies to help them get the support they need.
The Sex Trafficking Task Force runs sting operations throughout the year, but they were very vocal about their presence leading up to the Super Bowl in hopes of deterring providers or clients from partaking in the activity. Clearly, more than 40 men missed that message, or they thought they were smarter than law enforcement.
A Closer Look At The Sex Trafficking Sting
Police released some details about the sting operation and who was caught. Here’s what we know:
- The vast majority of men arrested for allegedly soliciting children or women were from Minnesota, which suggests that trafficking sex crimes were a problem throughout the state well before outsiders arrived for the Super Bowl.
- The Task Force said they did not make specific ads trying to find solicitors; Instead the men were “already online trying to target children” on websites or social media and they happened to encounter undercover officers who were posing online as children.
- The Task Force described the men as “very up front in their pursuit” of people they thought were children. At least one man tried to entice a 14-year-old to take nude photos and consider a “physical experience” with the man under the guide of being a talent scout for a modeling agency.
- Over 17 law enforcement agencies participated in the sting operation.
- As we mentioned earlier on the blog, one man up from Missouri tried to trade two tickets to Super Bowl Live in exchange for sex with two teens.
- Attendance was up at women’s shelters in St. Paul, as 31 women between the ages of 17 and 45 came through the Breaking Free drop-in shelter, and 14 of them stayed at the overnight shelter. The majority of youth whom outreach personnel talked to on the streets said they were from Minnesota and not in town from the Super Bowl.
Sex trafficking is clearly a problem in Minnesota even when were not hosting the big game. If you or someone you know is stuck in a abusive situation and they can’t escape on their own, reach out to Appelman Law Firm or other resources in the community.