Combatting Sex Trafficking
Sex trafficking is modern day slavery and it is occurring in all communities throughout the United States, including here in Ramsey County.
The most vulnerable women, men, and children are targeted by exploiters to engage in sexual exploitation and sex trafficking. Sexual exploitation is the exchange of sexual activity for some form of consideration (for example, money, shelter, drugs). Sex trafficking is when a third party is involved in exploitation, which may be through recruiting, controlling or profiting. Sex traffickers often use manipulation and violence that results in long-lasting harm for victims.
County Attorney John Choi is a national leader in the fight against sex trafficking and has driven results in Ramsey County and at the statewide level:
- Convened county attorneys across Minnesota to publicly declare that we would no longer prosecute children for prostitution, but instead treat them as the victims they are.
- Identifying more sex trafficking victims and bringing their traffickers to justice, achieving the highest sentences for sex trafficking in state history.
- Implementing a victim-centered approach to working with children who have been sold for sex, which has not only helped victims, but also increased our ability to identify and prosecute exploiters and traffickers.
Advancing statewide change
- Advanced legislation at the Capitol to fund a new statewide system to support victims, provide housing options and improve our systems.
- Directed training for law enforcement and county attorneys across the state, through more than 100 presentations and conferences, as well as videos, guides for patrol officers and other resources.
- Strengthened Minnesota’s Safe Harbor system with regional multidisciplinary convenings, as well as partnerships with tribal nations.
- Partnered with the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault to develop Safe Harbor Protocol Guidelines for communities to respond to sexual exploitation.
- Developed materials for hotel staff to identify and respond to sex trafficking, in partnership with the Minnesota Lodging Association.
- Curbing the demand for sex trafficking by engaging men to understand and combat sexual violence and exploitation.
- Working with the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota to raise awareness with kids, parents and community leaders to help prevent sex trafficking and rescue kids who are already trapped.