County Attorney Gives Feds Update On Sex Trafficking

County Attorney Gives Feds Update On Sex Trafficking Click to Enlarge Photo: KNSI News

(KNSI) - A year after a Federal grant was issued to start a pilot program to combat human trafficking in Stearns County, leaders were in the Nation's capital to give an update.

County Attorney Janelle Kendall was in Washington D.C. last week to talk with lawmakers about what the area's human trafficking task force has accomplished in its first year.

"We've had as many investigations in the last eight months as we've had in the last four years combined. Now that we have enough resources to know what's out there, we need to decide which direction to go."

She says they have to decide if it's best to help the victims of sex trafficking turn their life around, target the Johns who pay for sex, or work on arresting the pimps who profit from the illegal activity.

Kendall says the most important thing in busting sex trafficking is electronic evidence, but that kind of work takes a lot of time.

She says sex trafficking is linked to a lot of other crime in the area.

"The people that we're seeing are career criminal for the most part, they're selling people, they're selling drugs. The victims of sex trafficking have been through some of the most horrible things that I've seen as a prosecutor in 30 years."

She says the public has been important in efforts to stop sex trafficking.

The County Attorney’s office says if you see something that seems suspicious or out of place, report it. Last year, they got 147 tips about sex trafficking.

The county still has another year left on the grant and is hoping to get it renewed for another two years.

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