Prostitution is an issue in many cities, but prostitution in Minneapolis and St. Paul does have a higher instance of prostitution happening on some of its streets. In fact, there are times when law enforcement conducts stings in order to catch those who are soliciting, those who are gaining financially from the solicitation of others, and those paying for it.
The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office is now urging citizens to report signs of sex trafficking and child prostitution to police. Even if a person suspects, they are encouraged to contact law enforcement or call 911.
The FBI has stated that the Twin Cities area is among the top 13 places in which child prostitution is occurring. There are perpetrators who are pushing minors into prostitution. Citizens have been asked to look for signs of the crime, citing the following as warning signs:
- No identification or luggage when someone is staying at a hotel
- A person who is not being allowed to move or communicate
- A person showing signs that they have been physically abused
- Young people who are dressed to look older and wearing significant amounts of makeup
- Young people with boyfriends or significant others that appear to be much older
- Different men coming and going
- Ads that look like they advertise questionable massage services or escorts
- Individuals soliciting in or loitering in certain areas, as well as monitoring certain areas
- Money exchanges that look suspicious
Sometimes activity can look suspicious and it turns out it was innocent, but law enforcement is looking to crack down on these activities as the sex trade in Minnesota, the United States, and the world continues to increase. Law enforcement has warned that any of the above signs does not necessarily mean that an illegal activity is occurring, but that the possibility of sex trafficking or any act of prostitution may exist.