Minnesota law enforcement agencies arrested more than three dozen people on prostitution and child sex-trafficking charges in the week leading up to the Super Bowl, according to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
Undercover officers, coordinating through a regional task force, communicated with suspects and arrested them when they arrived at an arranged meeting place, the BCA said Wednesday.
According to the BCA, authorities arrested 36 people were during the "sting" operation and 7 people were booked on sex trafficking and promoting prostitution charges.
The agency also identified 14 women believed to be human trafficking victims.
“Now that the Super Bowl is past, these arrests should serve as a stark reminder that what drives the exploitation and trafficking of vulnerable people is the demand,” said Ramsey County Attorney John Choi in a statement. “Notably, as shown by these arrests, the demand is a local problem and involves men from our own community who want to exploit very young girls and boys.”
Many of the suspects live in the greater Twin Cities, the BCA said. They are being held in Ramsey, Scott and Washington County jails, pending criminal charges.
Criminal charges for promoting prostitution and soliciting a minor for sex are both felonies.
The sting was part of the BCA’s newly-formed human trafficking task force, whose members includes state, federal and local law enforcement agencies.
The recent operation included participation from the Carver, Crow Wing, Dakota, Pope and Ramsey County sheriff’s offices, the Belle Plaine, Chaska, New Prague, North St. Paul, Savage and Shakopee police departments, as well as the Scott and Washington County attorney’s offices.
To report suspected trafficking situations, call the BCA at 877-996-6222 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.