Human trafficking is a brutal crime that lurks in the shadows and thrives on secrecy and isolation of victims. Victims of human trafficking are threatened, beaten, raped, starved, locked up, or psychologically manipulated- all for the financial profit of traffickers. In Minnesota, a recent study by the Shapiro group found that 124 girls were exploited for prostitution in the month of August 2010.
House Bill 556 would explicitly define sexually-exploited youth as children in need of protection and services, ensure that these youth are not categorized as juvenile delinquents, require the Commissioner of Public Safety develop a statewide model to serve sexually-exploited youth or youth at risk of sexual exploitation, defines “prostitute” as only those over 18 (2014), and increases penalties for those who purchase children for sex.
The Minnesota House of Representatives needs to hear that explicitly defining sexually-exploited youth in the law and mandating the development of a statewide service model for sexually-exploited youth or youth at risk of sexual exploitation are important to you. Minnesota can achieve this by passing House Bill 556!