Updated:
Original:

Report shows how many victims sought help through new sex trafficking law

Author:

More than 150 minors sought help for sexual exploitation in the first full year of Minnesota's Safe Harbor Program, according to the Safe Harbor First Year Evaluation Overview released Tuesday.

The state's Safe Harbor law – which went into full effect in 2014 and was used as a model for federal law to combat sex trafficking – aims to ensure that minors who are sold for sex aren't viewed as delinquents, but are treated as victims and given assistance through various services across the state.

"There's this myth that trafficking happens in other countries or to youth from other countries who are brought into the United States," Laura Schauben, one of the authors of the evaluation, told MPR News. "And I think this data makes clear that ... this is happening to our youth, in our schools and in our neighborhoods across the state."

Findings from the evaluation

The evaluation of the first year of the program was done independently and published by Wilder Research, and paints a picture of the victims of sexual exploitation who have sought help through state-funded programs.

From April 2014 to April 2015, 163 minors – ranging in age from 9-17 years old – received services through the Safe Harbor Program, including 74 youths who received housing and 121 who received services.

Here's a look at who these victims are:

  • Mostly female: 97 percent of those served were female: All people served in the metro were female, while four boys sought help in greater Minnesota.
  • Where they live: 60 percent of victims served lived in the Twin Cities. Those in the metro area were slightly older, with the average age being just under 16 years old, than those in greater Minnesota where the average age was just over 15 years old.
  • Race: 45 percent of victims identified as black, 39 percent as white and 25 percent as other. In the Twin Cities area, 82 percent of victims identified as black, while the majority of victims (55 percent) in greater Minnesota identified as white.
  • Common risk factors: 69 percent of victims had a history of running away from home, 59 percent had a history of drug use, 63 percent have a history of depression or post-traumatic stress disorder and 28 percent had been in foster care.
  • What they were victim of: 65 percent of victims were identified by a professional as "sexually exploited," with more people in the metro (81 percent) being victims of sexual exploitation than those in greater Minnesota (57 percent). The report found that 56 percent were trafficked, 41 percent were involved in "survival sex" and 20 percent posed for nude photos, pornography or videos.

Recommendations made

The evaluation also made 11 recommendations for improvements to the program, including:

  • Increasing funding for the program (more than $8 million has been invested into the program per biennium).
  • Expanding the age limit of the law to include those 18 years and older (18 percent of those who sought services were deemed ineligible, with the main reason being they were too old).
  • And providing more transportation and housing services for victims, especially in greater Minnesota.

Next Up

coronavirus, covid-19

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Friday, October 22

COVID-19 hospitalizations have dropped four days in a row, but capacity remains tight.

Michael Edmund Richmond

Charges: MN man recorded himself sexually assaulting toddler

The 33-year-old man is facing decades in prison if convicted.

FLickr - minneapolis police - Tony Webster - Feb 2020 - crop

Minneapolis cop charged in crash that killed innocent man during pursuit

Charges say he was traveling nearly 90 mph when he slammed into an innocent man's vehicle.

Case Keenum

Matthew Coller: Case vs Teddy is a reminder of Vikings’ 2018 decision

Matthew Coller's work can be found daily at Purple Insider.

snow in May

It's here! Minnesota sees its first snow flurries of the season

Also, watch out for water spouts on Lake Superior.

Wikimedia Commons - COVID vaccine, pfizer, shot - Martin G

Pfizer to seek emergency use authorization to vaccinate kids ages 5 to 11

Pfizer says clinical trials have revealed positive results.

champlin car prowlers

Police remind people to lock car doors after prowlers spotted on camera

These thieves checked the car doors, which were all locked, and were gone within a minute.

Screen Shot 2021-10-21 at 5.14.36 PM

Mayor Carter announces COVID vaccine mandate for St. Paul city workers

It comes after Minneapolis announced the requirement for vaccines or regular testing for city workers in September.

two twelve medical center chaska GSV

Ridgeview cutting hours at 2 Minnesota urgent care locations

Hours of operation at a third location are also being shifted earlier.

Flickr - QFamily - Ben Jerrys

Latest to wade into Mpls. Question 2 debate is ... Ben & Jerry's?

The ice cream business said it supports the creation of a Department of Public Safety.

Related