Sex Trafficking in Minnesota
Trafficking of girls, women, and boys for sex is occurring in every county of our state and every suburb of the Twin Cities Metro area. Based on information coming to us from sex trafficking police officers and former victims, people being prostituted are under the complete control of their pimps, who demand a minimum amount of cash each day from their victims and provide only the minimal food, clothing, and shelter that will keep their victims functional.
Buyers are mostly men who range in age from 20’s to 60’s and most times travel 30 to 60 miles away from their home to remain anonymous. Most of the buyers are middle to upper class, married, and many of them have children. [Study by Dr. Lauren Martin, UROC, Univ of MN, 2018]
Victims of sex trafficking have most times experience sexual or other abuse in their past, and they see very little of the money they earn, all of which is controlled by their pimp. The average lifespan of victims of prostitution is 7 years, and the average age of recruitment in the United States is between 11 and 14 years old.
Victims may be recruited at shopping malls, restaurants, coffee shops, or other places where teenagers frequent. One of the biggest venues for recruitment today is on the internet, through social media sites and chat rooms. The internet has also become the largest brothel on earth, with online ads appearing in dozens of websites accessible to buyers. However, street prostitution still exists, and truck stops are also commonly used, especially if there is a hotel and restaurant in the same area.
Sexual exploitation also occurs when perpetrators get teenage boys and girls to send them nude pictures through deceptive techniques. Often times they pose as a teenage girl or boy, sending their victim’s nude pics of their “cover identity” and asking for the teens to return the favor. Sometimes they also pose as modeling agency executives and offer the teens a chance to make some easy money. They then proceed to blackmail or otherwise exploit the victims by demanding more pictures, money or to meet them for sex. If the teens don’t comply, they threaten to post the compromising photos the teen’s social media sites. [Based on actual case studies from Minnesota Police officers and parents of victims, 2016-17]