While sex trafficking happens every day, large public events like the Super Bowl may temporarily increase the likelihood for trafficking in a host city. Amanda Koonjbeharry, Admin Manager- No Wrong Door Initiative shared with MetroIBA what we can do to spot the signs of sex trafficking and learn how we can help.

Visit the Polaris Project to spot the signs of sex trafficking and learn how you can help.

Sex Trafficking Happens 365 Days a Year.

As co-chairs of Minnesota’s 2018 Super Bowl Anti-Sex Trafficking Committee, the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota, Hennepin County, and Ramsey County are leading the statewide effort to confront the daily reality of sex trafficking and increase awareness of the issue. The committee is working in partnership with more than 40 anti-sex trafficking organizations, including advocates, victim/survivor service providers, law enforcement agencies, businesses, faith communities, cities, counties, and victims/survivors.

Research commissioned by the Women’s Foundation has shown that while the Super Bowl may temporarily increase the likelihood for trafficking in a host city, the event is no different than other large public events.

 

Together, they remain focused on ending sexual exploitation in Minnesota 365 days a year.

In 2011, Minnesota passed the Safe Harbors for Sexually Exploited Youth law. Safe Harbor increased the penalties for buyers and added the term “sexual exploitation” to the state’s child protection code, recognizing sexually exploited youth as victims, rather than criminals.

 

Minnesota Law Human Trafficking Definition

The “receiving, recruiting, enticing, harboring, providing, or obtaining” of a person by any means for the purpose of debt bondage, forced labor, slavery or “to aid in the prostitution of the individual” or “receiving profit or anything of value, knowing or having reason to know it is derived from [trafficking].” Minn. Stat. § 609.281 and 321, subd. 7a.

The public should be aware of both recruitment and trafficking situations.

Recruitment can occur at: bus stops, neighborhoods, social hang outs (bars, restaurants, clubs, etc.), online, and etc.

  • The exploiter is going to provide whatever is missing in the youth/ adult’s life (food, shelter, a sense of family, love and acceptance, etc.)
  • Victims can be forced to provide sexual services or to work for little or no pay in ordinary jobs
  • Venues where trafficking can occur: street based prostitution, private residences, rest stops, hotels/motels, strip clubs, bars, restaurants, street vendors

 

Indicators:

  • Actions or items may be controlled by someone else
  • Wearing clothes that are inappropriate for the season
  • Demeanor that is combative or distrustful
  • Tattoos or other markings referencing money or showing ownership by

 

Be vigilant of youth or adults who may appear to be experiencing homelessness as they are vulnerable to recruitment and/or may be being trafficked.

 

It is not always safe to interact or intervene with someone you suspect is being trafficked. It can put both you and the victim at risk.

If you encounter a suspected victim, do NOT say:

“You can trust me”

“We want to make sure what happened to you doesn’t happen to anyone else”

“The people who did this to you are criminals.”

 

Who to Call

Minnesota has a strong coordinated response not only for service providers but also for a law enforcement response. Individuals seeking help for sexual exploitation or trafficking may contact the Day One hotline at 1-866-233-1111.

 

If individuals would like to report suspicious activity or tips to law enforcement, they can contact Polaris Project at 1-888-373-7888 or text “HELP” or “INFO“ to 233733.

 

Hotline call specialists are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to take reports from anywhere in the state related to potential sex trafficking victims. All reports are confidential. Interpreters are available.

If you or someone is in immediate danger, please call 911.

Find more information about sex trafficking and what you can do to help at mngirls.org.

 

 

What You Can Do

REDUCE THE DEMAND

Talk to the men and boys in your life about the harmful attitudes and exploitation in the commercial sex industry. Take the Don’t Buy It Project’s pledge to end the demand for commercial sex in any form. Watch the PSAs online and take the action steps to end the demand by reducing every day examples of gender inequality and sexual violence.

 

Men As Peacemakers (MAP), based in Duluth, is engaging men and people of all gender identities as active change agents to create a culture where the demand for commercial sex is nonexistent. MAP’s Don’t Buy It Project includes a public awareness campaign and educational resources that move individuals, groups, and communities to a deeper understanding of the harm caused by sexual exploitation and empowers them to end the demand for commercial sex.

INCREASE AWARENESS

Visit the Polaris Project to spot the signs of sex trafficking and learn how you can help.

EDUCATE YOURSELF AND OTHERS

Learn more about the Don’t Buy It Project‘s educational resources. This free prevention curriculum can help increase awareness about commercial sexual exploitation, its root causes, and how men can help end demand in their own communities.

 

Support positive self-identity for youth of all ages. Within the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro-area, digital billboards, posters, bus shelter signs, bathroom signs, and a PSA share the message that “I Am Priceless.” The campaign, aimed at preventing sexual exploitation and trafficking among youth between the ages of 8 and 12, was created by youth (girls, boys, and transgender youth) from The Link’s programs who have experienced trafficking, in coordination with Minneapolis-based creative agency KNOCK. The Link is also working on developing a prevention curriculum that can be used in schools.

 

SHOW YOUR SUPPORT

Wear your support to end sex trafficking on a t-shirt, and be prepared to spread the word. A percentage of each My Sister purchase goes to nonprofit partners to help raise awareness, prevent, interrupt, and end the demand for sexual exploitation, and to educate and train victim-survivors with job skills.

 

Donate through the Rise Up Gift Registry where you can fund personal necessities to victims of sex trafficking and help them become survivors.

 

When you make a gift to the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota, choose the MN Girls Are Not For Sale Campaign designation and make a difference for the cross-sector Anti-Sex Trafficking partnership to prevent sexual exploitation and support victim-survivors.

OTHER THINGS YOU CAN DO

  • Support MN Girls Are Not For Sale’s work to end sex trafficking statewide and fund partners working to ensure safety for women and girls. Make a financial donationand spread the word about the campaign.
  • Contact your elected officials and let them know you are concerned about the issue and support efforts to end sex trafficking in Minnesota. Use the Minnesota District Finderto find out how to contact your legislators directly.
  • Deepen your understanding of sex trafficking in America. Read and pass along Rachel Lloyd’s memoir, “Girls Like Us,” which chronicles her story as a trafficked girl and her work now through GEMS, the nonprofit she founded in NYC to serve girls & young women who’ve been trafficked.
  • Talk to the boys and men in your life about sex trafficking and exploitation, and keep talking. To end sex trafficking and stop the demand, boys and men must be drivers of the solution.
  • Talk to your child’s school and ask that information that protects children from sexual exploitation to be included in the school curriculum.
  • Monitor your child’s use of the Internet, social media, and other sites visited.
  • With their help, schools tell teachers, social workers, counselors and others to look for the signs of a possible victim:
    – Multiple unexplained absences from school.
    – A repeated tendency to run away from home.
    – Frequent travel to other cities.
    – Older boyfriends or girlfriends.
    – A sudden ability to have expensive items.
    – Appearing depressed or suffering physical injuries.

 

For more information, please contact Amanda Koonjbeharry, MSW, MPP

Admin Manager- No Wrong Door Initiative

Government Center

300 South 6th Street, MC: 233

Cell: 612-386-5376

Fax: 612-321-3753

Amanda.koonjbeharry@hennepin.us

http://www.hennepin.us/nowrongdoor

Download: MetroIBA Sex Trafficking Resources, No Wrong Door Initiative