Human Traffic Watch

Posts Tagged ‘Minnesota’

Cheerleader Accused of Sex Trafficking, Prostitution of 16-Year-Old Teammate

In Child Sex Trafficking, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking on June 16, 2013 at 4:18 pm

Parker also took the victim out of school on March 6, calling into the school and pretending to be her mother, the complaint stated. The victim’s mother eventually began to notice her daughter was acting differently, according to the document.

When she found out that she had an unexcused absence from school on March 5, she checked the teen’s cell phone, the complaint stated. When she saw text messages between Parker and her daughter revealing that Parker convinced the teen to prostitute herself, she contacted the police.

Authorities uncovered the Backpage.com ad featuring the teen in the pictures she had sent to Parker, as well as Parker’s contact information on the page, the complaint stated.

When Parker was interviewed by police on April 4, she admitted she knew the victim from cheerleading, created the Backpage.com ad for her, and drove her to perform sex acts on two separate occasions, for which she pocketed the payment, according to the affidavit.

“She really didn’t deny any of the allegations,” Minnetonka Police Chief Mark Raquet told ABC News.

Source: WPRO

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Funding for sex trafficking victims called ‘incomplete’

In Awareness, Child Trafficking, Human Trafficking on May 31, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Advocates for children who have been victims of sex trafficking say the Legislature handed them an “incomplete and underfunded victory.”

They had asked for $13.5 million to pay for housing and services for underage victims. The Legislature allocated $2.8 million, about a fifth of what they were seeking.

On any given night, 50 shelter beds are needed, and this will pay for about seven, said Lee Roper-Batker of the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota.

“Our hearts are very heavy because we know there are 43 children who we can’t get off the streets, who we can’t get them health and services they need,” Roper-Batker said. “What we feel from our law enforcement partners is they are beyond frustrated and feel incredible anguish because these girls just disappear into the night again.

Source: MN Public Radio

Runaway girls focus of fight to curb sex trafficking

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

Mpls. Police Stepping Up Efforts To Thwart Sex Trafficking

In Child Sex Trafficking, Forced Prostitution, Human Trafficking, Prostitution, Sex Trafficking on January 25, 2013 at 12:25 pm

On Wednesday, the Minneapolis City Council got their first report on the latest efforts to stop child sex trafficking in the city.

“We expect this to be the first of a series of progress reports,” said Susan Segal, Minneapolis City Attorney.

The city has partnered with other organizations and agencies to put a stop to child prostitution. Police say that over the last year they’ve used a different approach to combating sex trafficking and it’s led to promising results.

Minneapolis reports that since February 2011, 19 defendants have been charged; including 14 for felony sex trafficking, four for hiring a minor for prostitution and one for manufacture of child pornography. Also, 18 juvenile females have been rescued in the process.

Source: MN CBS Local

Police enlist hotels in fight against sex trafficking

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

County adopts resolution addressing sex trafficking

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

Rochester couple facing sex trafficking charges of a minor

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

Hotels take a stand against sex trafficking

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

Mpls. tells ‘Backpage’ owner to stop sex ads

In Awareness, Child Sex Trafficking, Forced Prostitution, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking on August 5, 2012 at 8:53 pm

Minneapolis leaders, stirred by recent arrests and disturbing stories of teenage girls swept from city streets and sold for sex on a popular website, on Thursday called upon the owner of Backpage.com to stop running exploitative ads that enable juvenile prostitution.

City Council members unanimously approved a resolution demanding that New York-based Village Voice Media end its “adult services” section of Backpage.com. Minneapolis police report that all 20 child sex-trafficking cases they have investigated so far this year involve juvenile victims being prostituted on this website.

Advocates say the sex trafficking of young girls in the Twin Cities is on the rise. Vednita Carter, founder and executive director of Breaking Free, an organization that helps victims of abuse and commercial sexual exploitation, said more than 70 girls under 18 came to seek help in the past year, up from about 50 or so in the past year and around 25 in years past. She said that about 40 percent of them said they had been advertised on Backpage.com.

Source: Star Tribune

New Minnesota law charges Johns for soliciting prostitution

In Child Sex Trafficking, Forced Prostitution, Human Trafficking, Prostitution, Sex Trafficking on June 25, 2012 at 9:35 am

On Tuesday, June 19th at 2:45 p.m., one Mickey Albert Cupkie, 36, of Dogwood Drive in Elko, Minnesota, was charged with one felony count of Soliciting Child Sexual Conduct, (F-CSC) (36) under Minnesota Statutes. This is the first time a “John” has been charged under the new statute. [https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=609.321]

There is a new effort to fight human trafficking in Minnesota, and part of this initiative involves a law where child prostitutes under 16 do not face criminal charges. Jeff Bauer, public policy director of the Family Partnership has said that the new laws view these trafficked children not as delinquents, but as victims. [http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2011/07/22/law-protects-child-victims-of-sex-trafficking/]

In addition to the solicitation charge, Mickey Cupkie was also charged with four felony counts of engaging in prostitution with a minor, for having sex with two prostitutes, ages 15 and 17. Cupkie was arrested for these charges in Minneapolis, then transferred to Ramsey County Jail, Case Number 12083330.

Source: Examiner

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