ST. CLOUD -- Stearns County Attorney Janelle Kendall recently attended a juvenile sex trafficking conference in New Orleans. She says about a dozen professionals who work to combat trafficking in our community attended.

One of the things they learned was how to use technology in the fight to stop juvenile trafficking...

Good news/bad news about the internet is it's all right there and it doesn't go away.  We have the ability to get to that information.  But, knowing who is on the other side of the communication is the part you have to connect for criminal prosecution beyond a reasonable doubt.  So part of the grant, for example, is a data analyst that you then do search warrants on the phones.

The grant is a $500,000 request from the state legislature to fund two new full-time officers specifically charged with combating sex trafficking in our community, and a data analyst to work with the technology side and compiling evidence to bring the traffickers and sex buyers to justice.

Kendall says they also learned when an advertisement is placed selling an underage girl, the replies to those ads triples compared to adult ones.