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Recognize the issue and learn the signs.

About Sex Trafficking in Minnesota

Many believe the sex trafficking of girls is something that happens only in other countries. Or, they believe that if it does happen in our state, it only involves girls smuggled in from those faraway countries. However, the prostitution of American girls is happening right here, right now, in Minnesota.

Some facts from the Minnesota Women's Foundation

  • The FBI has identified the Twin Cities as one of 13 U.S. cities with a high incidence rate of child prostitution.

  • By very conservative measures, a November 2010 study found that each month in Minnesota at least 213 girls are sold for sex an average of five times per day through the Internet and escort services. This number does not include hotel, street or gang activity.

  • A November 2010 study found that on any given weekend night in Minnesota, 45 girls under age 18 are sold for sex through the internet classified websites and escort services.

  • In 2010, investigators from three states determined that Minneapolis was the home base of a large domestic prostitution (sex trafficking) ring comprised of three generations of one Minnesota family that was prostituting (trafficking) mostly young girls across the United States.

  • About 50% of adult women interviewed as part of a 2010 study focused on North Minneapolis stated that they first traded sex when they were under the age of 18, with the average age at 13.

  • In just one 72-hour sting over the summer, an FBI-led operation rescued 105 children and netted 152 pimps in 76 cities nationwide, including four alleged pimps in the Twin Cities.

For a more complete understanding of the issue of trafficking in Minnesota, please see the Education and Resources provided by the Minnesota Human Trafficking Task Force. 

Do you know someone who might benefit from our programs?

Make a referral today.

Minnesota law defines sex trafficking as the “receiving, recruiting, enticing, harboring, providing, or obtaining by any means, an individual to aid in the prostitution of an individual; or by receiving profit of anything of value, knowing or having reason to know it is derived from [the sex trafficking of an individual].” Minn. Stat. 609.321, Subd. 7a.

For a more complete understanding of the issue of trafficking in Minnesota, please see the Minnesota Human Trafficking Task Force Principal Positions.

To learn more about this issue on a national and world-wide level, check out our list of books and movies we recommend and share with your friends.

Know the Signs

The average age-of-entry into the sex trade is 12-14 years old. Although each has a unique story, they all share certain commonalities about how they were recruited by traffickers disguised as friends or romantic partners.

To best protect yourself or someone you love from being a sex trafficked victim, know the signs before it’s too late. View a list of common warning signs from our our partner, Shared Hope International.

Warning signs that an individual is being trafficked:

  • Signs of physical abuse such as burn marks, bruises or cuts

  • Unexplained absences from class

  • Less appropriately dressed than before

  • Sexualized behavior

  • Overly tired in class

  • Withdrawn, depressed, distracted or checked out

  • Brags about making or having lots of money

  • Displays expensive clothes, accessories or shoes New tattoo (tattoos are often used by pimps as a way to brand victims. Tattoos of a name, symbol of money or barcode could indicate trafficking)

  • Older boyfriend or new friends with a different lifestyle

  • Talks about wild parties or invites other students to attend parties

  • Shows signs of gang affiliation? (ie: a preference for specific colors, notebook doodles of gang symbols, etc.)


Reporting Sex Trafficking

If you believe you have information that needs to be reported, it’s important that you take action. Even if you are unsure, it’s best to reach out to a professional. Reports can be made on both a local and national basis.

How to Report Trafficking

To report a tip or connect with anti-trafficking services in your area, contact your local MN Regional Navigator or use the following:

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

Call: 1-800-843-5678

If you have information about a missing child or suspected child sexual exploitation, call to report it or visit their website.

National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline

Call: 1-888-373-7888

The National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) is a national, toll-free hotline, available to answer calls from anywhere in the country, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year.

Mission 21 can assist you further in making these life saving reports. Call our office at 507-208-4600 and ask to speak to an advocate.

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