Cindy McCain in North Dakota, Minnesota to talk about combating sex trafficking

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Cindy McCain – wife of former presidential candidate and Arizona Sen. John McCain – will be touring North Dakota and Minnesota over the next week.

But it's not political rallies and speeches bringing her to the region.

McCain, who has become a highly visible voice in the war on human sex trafficking, will hold several meetings with community leaders on the exploitation of young women and girls – a growing problem in the midwest.

According to the Forum News Service, McCain will talk about her experiences with the McCain Institute and as co-chairwoman of the Arizona Human Trafficking Council, fighting what the group describes as "modern day slavery."

The paper says the roundtable discussions, which will be held in Bismarck, Williston and Watford City starting on Friday, will focus on the strategies McCain's organization learned as it helped bring together tribal leaders and law enforcement agencies to combat trafficking.

The events are open to the public.

Next week, McCain will also appear in St. Paul at an "Our Children Are Not For Sale Event," according to the McCain Institute.

The topics of discussion there will be "current legislation and new technology trends" aimed at preventing child sex trafficking.

A regional problem

McCain's trip highlights a recent rise in sexual exploitation in the upper midwest, where the oil boom in North Dakota's Bakken region is apparently driving demand for prostitution.

This is believed to be due largely to an influx of young, single oil workers into oil patch communities, making them lucrative targets for pimps.

Poverty in tribal communities is also cited as a cause.

Neighboring Minnesota has seen its share of homegrown problems as well; human trafficking convictions in the state more than doubled from 2012 to 2013, with many involving the sexual exploitation of minors.

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