West metro steps up to stop sex trafficking
According to statistics, exploitation, especially of youth, is increasing nationwide: even residents of otherwise law-abiding suburbs aren’t immune, according to law enforcement authorities.
Members and guests of the Northwest Metro Republican Women’s group met Oct. 27 in Minnetonka to learn more about the problem and what can be done to stop it.
“It’s becoming increasingly more of a serious issue,” said Sgt. Eric Fadden of the Plymouth Police Department. Fadden is in charge of a special investigations unit, formed in 2007, that deals with undercover work or other exceptional assignments.
Since 2016, the goal of the unit has been to become more effective in combatting human trafficking, Fadden said, working with the Minneapolis department to share information and strategies.
With the Superbowl coming to Minneapolis in 2018, the timing of the crackdown on sex trafficking is no coincidence.
“It is widely known to be the largest human trafficking event in the country every year,” Fadden said.
Trafficking worldwide involves more than 20 million victims, 2 million of them children, and is a $150 billion industry, according to recent statistics, second only to the black market drug trade.
“It’s a big money-making industry,” said Christine Erickson, director of the Children at Risk ministry at Grace Church in Eden Prairie.