Human Trafficking

Young person standing in front of mirror looking back

If you are a victim of human trafficking or you suspect someone is, contact the East Metro Human Trafficking Task Force at 651-430-7825.

All calls can remain anonymous. In an emergency situation, call 911 immediately.

What is Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking is a form of modern day slavery in which person(s) engage in sexual or labor exploitation through the use of force, fraud or coercion. It occurs in all communities throughout the United States, including Washington County. 

Traffickers target most vulnerable women, men, and children victims by using violence, threats, lies, false promises, debt bondage, or other forms of control and manipulation to keep victims involved in the sex and labor industry for their own profit. Sexual exploitation is the exchange of sexual activity for some form of compensation, (for example, money, shelter, or drugs). Trafficking is when a third party is involved in exploitation, which may be through recruiting, controlling or profiting. The East Metro Human Trafficking Task Force is working with community and state partners to end the practice of human trafficking and to provide services and resources for victims. 

Minnesota Sex Trafficking Law

MN. Stat. § 609.321 subd. 7a  Sex Trafficking means (1) "receiving, recruiting, enticing, harboring, providing, or obtaining by any means an individual to aid in the prostitution of the individual," or, (2) "receiving profit or anything of value, knowing or having reason to know it is derived from [sex trafficking]."

Minnesota Labor Trafficking Law

MN. Stat. § 609.282 subd.1  Labor Trafficking means (1) "Whoever knowingly engages in the labor trafficking of an individual who is under the age of 18 is guilty of a crime and may be sentenced to imprisonment."

Where is human trafficking found?

Human trafficking victims can be hiding in plain sight, with victims being commonly found in:

  • Commercial sex (online, hotels, casinos, and strip clubs).
  • Domestic situations (nanny or housekeeper).
  • Labor industries (farming and landscaping).
  • Door-to-door sales and panhandling.
  • Hospitality services (restaurants and hotels).
  • Massage parlors.
  • Social media.

By the Numbers in Washington County

In 2022, Washington County and the East Metro Human Trafficking Task Force:

charged

4

human traffickers

recovered

15

trafficking victims

arrested

36

people for solicitation of a minor for sex

pursued

73

cases and tips


Human trafficking is a problem hiding in plain sight.

During a underage sex sting in December 2022, 159 people answered an advertisement for sex with a person who was identified as a minor; seven people were arrested.


Students in Washington County

In 2019, the Minnesota Department of Education surveyed students in grades 9 and 11. Nearly 1 in 70 students responded that they had traded sex for something in exchange.