The number of juvenile sex trafficking investigations conducted by the Minneapolis Police Department has tripled in recent years, from 8 cases in 2008 to 24 cases in 2013. A press conference was held at City Hall in connection with a new study of the 'business' of juvenile sex trafficking in Minneapolis. The study is the work of Lauren Martin, director of research for the University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC), and Alexandra Pierce, president of Othayonih Research.
“The findings offer a birds-eye view of the ‘who, where, and how’ of juvenile sex trafficking in Minneapolis,” Martin said. “As we pulled the lens back away from the areas particularly affected by this, it became clear that this is a problem involving people of every background, in communities both in and around Minneapolis.”
Driven by buyers, the juvenile sex trafficking market in Minneapolis is fueled by systematic violence toward victims throughout the recruitment and retaining process. Buyers of wide-ranging backgrounds travel from around the metro area to access this complex system, which features varying business models and whose facilitators consciously place victims in different parts of their businesses based on demand.
“The research is unique in that we integrated survivor and advocate voices with law enforcement and court records to illuminate the operational structures found within an illegal industry,” Pierce said. “There is much more to be learned through replications of this study in other geographic regions and cities across the country.”
KFAI's Christina Cerruti has more.