Advocates for sexual assault victims are being recognized for their presence in fighting sex trafficking in the Brainerd, Minnesota area. The focus of these advocacy groups has shifted from helping victims once they are found, to a more proactive approach that involves tracking cases of sexual exploitation and finding victims.
Law enforcement in Brainerd has partnered with advocates in an effort to find a more holistic approach to catching perpetrators and helping victims. Earlier in May 2015, law enforcement officials arrested nine men involved in a prostitution ring in Baxter, Minnesota. The operation involved the Brainerd Police Department as well as the Crow Wing Count Sheriff’s Office and was a major step towards uncovering the leaders in sex trafficking within the Brainerd Lakes area.
In order to catch those involved in the ring, law enforcement officials have placed fake-ads for escorts in hopes of luring in men who have direct access to the sex trafficking ring.
Baxter Police Chief Jim Exsted said that the ultimate goal of involving law enforcement in this is to not just bust “johns,” but to stop trafficking at its root. “I think what becomes very concerning is the trafficking piece of it, and as we get better educated… we recognize the need for us to step in…” Exsted explained.
Law enforcement officials in the Brainerd Lakes are determined to end trafficking with the help of advocates. Progress has been made in fighting the problem but there is still a long way to go, at least in northern Minnesota.