Skip to main content

Fight against sex trafficking in Minnesota and North Dakota stepped up

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

Campaigners want 2015 to be the year they win the fight against the growing problem of human and sex trafficking across Minnesota and North Dakota.

The issue has dominated the news in recent days, with the Pioneer Press among those reporting on the link between sex trafficking and the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota, where missing women and girls from the Twin Cities are sometimes found.

And today, WDIO reports steps are being taken to highlight the problem within communities among those most at risk from sex traffickers – American Indian tribes.

In Duluth Monday night, the Native Sisters Society announced it will be providing training to 11 different tribal communities over the next three years to increase awareness of the issue.

Society spokeswoman April Smith told a meeting at Trepanier Hall: "It's time to take action as a community. Let's move together with survivors at the forefront ... they have voices and we need to make space to hear them."

According to the Bismarck Tribune, human trafficking is causing a "crisis" among Native American communities across Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.

The poverty levels among tribal communities, coupled with the huge levels of money earned by workers in the Bakken, is tempting young women and girls – some of whom are even encouraged to head to the oil patch by their relatives, the newspaper notes.

In downtown Fargo this Saturday, a candle-lit "Walk for Freedom" will be held to protest against the exploitation of women and girls in the human trafficking industry, which will follow a panel discussion at the Fargo Theater at 4 p.m., the Fargo Forum reports.

Growing problem – and not just in the cities

In October, a report by Minnesota's Department of Justice found that sex trafficking convictions in the state had doubled from 2012 to 2013, which also saw a rise in the number of minors being discovered in sex rings.

The Pioneer Press focused on the sex trafficking link between the Twin Cities and the Bakken Oil Fields, where the high concentration of unmarried men apparently makes it a potentially lucrative target for traffickers.

One former prostitute told the newspaper she could earn $1,000 a night in Bakken.

But the Brainerd Dispatch notes that the problem isn't just limited to these two areas, with traffickers also said to be operating in Duluth and Brainerd, partly because of the former's major shipping industry, and the latter's numerous hunting and fishing spots.

Crow Wing County commissioner Rachel Nystrom told the newspaper she's seen online postings for dates with "18-year-old women" in the Brainerd area, many of whom turn out to be underage.

She said: "13-year-old girls and 14-year-old girls, I couldn't believe it."

According to The Covering House, sex trafficking generates $9.5 billion in the USA every year, with an estimated 300,000 children at risk of being prostituted across the country.

Next Up

8470850644_ccecdfb7ed_b

Ringo Starr's late cancellation of MN show was because he has COVID-19

The Beatles drummer was due to perform in Minnesota Sunday.

Screen Shot 2022-10-03 at 4.32.58 PM

Fire destroys cafe, two other business properties in downtown Fairfax

A former pizza joint was also destroyed, while two other properties were damaged.

Hennepin County Medical Center, HCMC

Woman dies from injuries in crash that killed her husband, another man

The couple in their 80s died in the collision near Lake Lillian.

CPAP masks

2 Park Nicollet employees convicted of embezzling $500,000

The pair worked at a CPAP clinic in St. Louis Park.

Concert

No Jingle Ball this year? Twin Cities left off iHeartRadio holiday tour

The annual touring event usually visits the Xcel Energy Center.

Target store

Target gives first look at some of its Deal Days discounts

The Minneapolis retailer is holding its Deal Days event earlier than ever, in an attempt to drive sales after a turbulent year.

Screen Shot 2022-10-03 at 11.03.12 AM

Man dies after crashing truck into western Wisconsin lake

The victim was unable to make it to shore despite being able to get out of his truck.

ATV, all-terrain vehicle

Sheriff: Man who didn't return to campsite died in ATV crash

It happened at the Foothills State Forest and Spider Lake ATV Recreation Area

Richard Liu, aka Liu Qiangdong

Chinese billionaire settles lawsuit over alleged rape in Minneapolis

The tech billionaire was accused of sexually assaulting a University of Minnesota student in 2018.

US Navy Flickr - COVID hospital PPE nurse

Frontline worker payments: Over a million Minnesotans to get $487.45

Gov. Tim Walz says the payments will start going out on Wednesday.

19050650853_a4a6377429_k

Ed Sheeran to bring North America stadium tour to Minneapolis

It's the second show announced for the Vikings stadium in 2023.

Related