Stearns County Attorney Details Washington D.C. Trip on Sex Trafficking
ST. CLOUD -- Stearns County's sex trafficking problem took to the national stage this week. County Attorney Janelle Kendall was invited to a national roundtable discussion on human trafficking in Washington D.C. to talk about the efforts here.
We had the executive directors of Operation Underground Railroad, American Hotel and Lodging Association, Uber, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children...I mean, the whole world that's been working on this for 20 years, was there. And, the reason they asked me to come was to talk about what we had found in a community of this size with no additional resources...just by starting to ask the questions.
Kendall's office has been working closely with law enforcement to arrest and prosecute the pimps who traffic women. She says once they learned what was happening, they were able to make some in-roads into the problem...
The rest of the world has been on to this for a long time. And, this has been (one of the words I heard people use is) hiding in plain sight. There are lots of folks around town that could have told you this has been going on for a long time but, nobody has been asking the questions. We didn't know what questions to ask. Now we're asking those questions every time.
Kendall says they've identified 200 prostitutes working in the St. Cloud area. They've prosecuted eight pimps so far and have worked with the victims to get them the help they need to get out of the business.
For an in-depth look at the problem, click on the link below to watch a video story on sex trafficking in Stearns County.