ST. PAUL, Minn. - A sex sting operation conducted as Minnesota's Super Bowl celebration ramped up will lead to charges against dozens of would-be Johns. As important, says the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), the sting also resulted in the rescue of more than a dozen sex trafficking victims.
The BCA-led Human Trafficking Investigators Task Force conducted the operation from January 26 through February 3. Suspects unknowingly chatted with undercover agents and investigators on several social media platforms, then were arrested as they arrived at an arranged meeting place for an encounter with what they thought would be underage girls.
All those arrested were booked into the Ramsey, Scott or Washington County jails and are awaiting charges. Most are from the greater Twin Cities area, and do not appear to be visitors in for the Super Bowl.
Here is what the sting yielded.
- 36 people were booked on probable cause felony solicitation of a minor.
- 7 people were booked on probable cause sex trafficking, promotion of prostitution.
- 14 women were rescued from trafficking situations.
“This operation represents our collective commitment to eradicate sexual exploitation in our communities and to rescue those being trafficked in our state,” said BCA Superintendent Drew Evans.
The sex sting was part of the ongoing work of the Human Trafficking Investigators Task Force. It is led by the BCA, and also includes investigators from the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office, the St. Paul and Minneapolis police departments, Department of Homeland Security Investigations, and the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office.
“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. 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,” said Ramsey County Attorney John Choi.
The BCA urges anyone who is in immediate danger of being trafficked, or knows of someone who is, to call 911. To report a suspected trafficking situation, call the BCA at 877-996-6222 or email email@example.com.