The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) arrested nearly four dozen people on child sex-trafficking and related charges during the Final Four weekend in Minnesota.
The final games of the NCAA’s basketball tournament were hosted at Minneapolis’ U.S. Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings. The BCA, with the assistance of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Minneapolis and St. Paul police departments, conducted a four-day sting operation during the tournament.
According to a press release from ICE, a total of 47 people were booked into Hennepin, Anoka, or Ramsey county jails on probable cause solicitation of a minor or solicitation of prostitution of people under 16 years of age. Of those 47, 11 were booked on charges of probable cause sex trafficking or promotion of prostitution.
The operation also rescued 28 victims from sex-trafficking situations, including one minor.
“This operation is an example of the aggressive steps necessary to stop traffickers and johns who buy and sell people for sex in our communities,” BCA Superintendent Drew Evans said. “We can’t let this crime continue, and we must work together to stop it.”
The operation was a part of HSI’s Operation Predator initiative, which has arrested more than 19,000 individuals for crimes against children since its launch in 2003. In 2018 alone, more than 3,000 child predators were arrested by the program’s special agents, and more than 850 victims were rescued.
“Preying on vulnerable children in our communities is perhaps the most despicable act possible,” Special Agent in Charge Tracy Cormier of HSI St. Paul said. “Sex trafficking victims pay a price that lasts a lifetime. I’m extremely proud of our HSI special agents, and our excellent state and local law enforcement partners, who work to bring justice to those who seek to victimize children.”
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