In Child Sex Trafficking, Forced Prostitution, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking on January 27, 2013 at 1:18 pm
She was sobbing when she dialed 911 from a downtown St. Paul hotel.
“Hi, this is Barb. I’m a runaway from Des Moines, Iowa, and I’m in big trouble,” she told the dispatcher. “I’m afraid I’m about to get killed!”
Between frantic breaths, the young woman, who had just turned 18, reported that she was being held captive in Room 851 of the Hilton Garden Inn. She feared her captors would return to the room any minute.
The chilling audio recording only hints at the nightmare she was experiencing. Ramsey County authorities later learned that the teen runaway was forced to have sex with about 30 men over the course of a week at the hotel, according to a criminal complaint filed last January.
Fearing the worst, Barb had even scribbled the names of her two captors in a notebook.
For police and prosecutors in St. Paul, the case underscored a troubling link between teens who run away from home and the child-sex trade.
Research shows that Minnesota girls who run from their homes are not only more vulnerable to being sold for sex, but also face a higher risk of being raped or sexually abused in other ways.
Source: Park Rapids Enterprise
In Child Sex Trafficking, Forced Prostitution, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking on January 13, 2013 at 10:00 am
The hospitality industry in Hennepin County is the latest frontline against child sex trafficking.
Hotel employees received training from law enforcement Tuesday to spot possible cases of juvenile sex trafficking. Hospitality employees will be on the look-out for signs such as guests without luggage, rooms paid for in cash and young girls with significantly older males.
Last year, hotel workers in Ramsey County and Minnetonka underwent similar training to help spot suspicious activity and report it to law enforcement. Authorities said hotels and motels are often where underage girls are sold for sex.
Hotel workers are often the first to notice when something isn’t right, said Minneapolis police Sgt. Grant Snyder, who led the training.
“Nobody is better at recognizing problems in their hotel. Recognizing when something’s amiss, when someone needs help or when someone’s in danger. No one’s better at that than hotel employees,” Snyder said. “What we’re trying to do here is engage the hotel employees, engage law enforcement, engage our other partners into a collaboration that allows us on a very expansive, community level to be able to target this on the way that it should be targeted.”
Source: Minnesota Public Radio
In Child Sex Trafficking, Forced Prostitution, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking on December 20, 2012 at 2:14 pm
Accepting that truth was demonstrated this past Tuesday when the Redwood County Board of Commissioners adopted a resolution that urges the state legislature to amend what is known as the Safe Harbor Act in Minnesota.
That resolution would redefine all children under the age of 18 who have been involved in sex-trafficking as victims, not as juvenile offenders.
While Redwood County has not recently charged any sex trafficking crimes, Steven Collins, Redwood County attorney said the action to adopt this resolution is a step in the right direction, because it is sending a different message to those who truly are victims.
Source: Redwood Falls Gazette
In Child Sex Trafficking, Forced Prostitution, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking on December 17, 2012 at 2:26 pm
Federal authorities allege that a Rochester man and woman coerced a teenager into prostitution, giving her cocaine in return.
The FBI last week arrested Otis Willis, 30, and Tiffany St. Denis, 23, on charges of sex trafficking of a minor. The two are now jailed, pending a bail hearing on Wednesday.
In August, authorities allege, the two coerced a 16-year-old into prostitution by giving her free cocaine. When she tried to break from the two, Willis beat her up, authorities allege.
The girl alleged that Willis raped her and beat her, according to an affidavit from FBI Special Agent Barry Couch.
She “showed me several of the bruises on her body where Otis had hit her,” Couch wrote in the affidavit.
St. Denis originally gave the girl cocaine, then stopped, “telling (her) that she would have to prostitute for it,” the court papers allege.
Source: Democrat and Chronicle
In Awareness, Human Trafficking on August 26, 2012 at 4:06 pm
Some heavy hitters in the hospitality industry are trying to do their part to dismantle a common sex-trafficking pipeline.
In almost every recent case involving children sold into sex, the transaction “begins on Backpage.com and then ends up at a local hotel or motel in our community, often-times in a suburban location,” says the Ramsey County Attorney’s office.
Now the county attorney’s office is enlisting the help of hotels through a first-ever training session in Minnesota teaching hotel employees how to spot signs of trafficking within their businesses. Local investigators, prosecutors, and women’s advocates will lead the training Thursday afternoon in Roseville.
One of the featured speakers is Marilyn Carlson Nelson, chairwoman of Carlson, the Minneapolis-based hospitality and travel company. About 20 hotels/motels and 75 lodging-industry employees in Ramsey County will also be present.
Source: Minnesota Public Radio