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New effort to combat human trafficking coming to Minneapolis

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A federal anti-human trafficking effort is coming to Minneapolis. According to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice, they've chosen six cities across the country to base new Anti-Trafficking Coordination Teams (ACTeams).

The teams aim to improve criminal investigations and prosecutions related to human trafficking, the Star Tribune reports.

According the the press release, Attorney General Loretta Lynch says the Department of Justice will work to support survivors and put an end to the crime.

"Human trafficking robs victims of their liberty, exploits them for labor and for sex, and infringes not only on their rights, but on their essential humanity. Through the ACTeam Initiative, we are harnessing resources across the federal government to ensure that our multi-agency fight against human trafficking is as comprehensive and effective as possible."

The other cities chosen are Cleveland, Ohio; Newark, New Jersey; Portland, Maine; Portland, Oregon; and Sacramento, California.

Human trafficking in Minnesota

The FBI lists Minnesota as one of 13 states with the highest rates of child prostitution. And Minnesota's Judicial Branch says Minnesota has the third highest rate of child sexual exploitation in the country.

According to a 2010 study, more than 213 girls are sold for sex an average of five times a day through the internet and other escort services alone, the Women's Foundation of Minnesota says. On average, prostituted girls are victimized between 12 and 14 years old, according to the foundation. They also say 75 percent of girls in prostitution are controlled by a trafficker or "pimp."

The International Labor Organization estimates human trafficking and forced labor is a $150 billion dollar industry, worldwide, according to the Polaris Project.

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