Sex Trafficking: A Crime Without Borders

March 18, 2019 06:20 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- In Minnesota, 213 kids per day are sold for sex.

Imagine how much higher that number is when adults are added.


"Human trafficking ... is the second largest industry behind oil and gas," said Rose Korabek, executive director of Mission 21 in Rochester. "And obviously, if people stopped consuming, there wouldn't be a need for the demand."

Korabek has a heart for children, and is now helping those who are at risk, or survivors of sex trafficking in our area.

Olmsted County is third in the state for the highest number of cases; getting public opinion changed is part of her mission.

"Where before they might have gotten arrested for prostitution, we helped get legislation passed for Safe Harbor, so they can grow up and be kids and this isn't a cycle of their life," Korabek said.

Many are trying to get that extended to include adult prostitution, because so many of the women are not willingly trading sex for money.

Another shift in the trend is at the local women's shelter, where victims of domestic abuse are often also getting out of sex trafficking.

"With trafficking, they are looking for people that are vulnerable, and I find that as well with domestic violence relationships; there is a very close link there," said Jeanie Thompson, director of youth programming at the Women's Shelter and Support Center.

She shines the light on the bigger issue, where both pimps and abusive spouses use power and control to manipulate.

"People say, 'well, why doesn't she just leave if it's that bad?' Well, the problem is the most violent time for a woman is the few weeks before she has left, and the few weeks following," Thompson said.

In addition, "a lot of them have children with their pimps," Korabek said.

And "an abuser will use what is available to him," Thompson said. "And the problem is, access to the children is often that link."

The women can also be micro-chipped, being tracked like a GPS.

Korabek says while we may never be able to erradicate sex trafficking, we can help reduce the numbers through awareness: Knowing what to spot, and programs that help break the cycle and start the healing process.

"Once someone enters trafficking, their average lifespan is seven years," she said. "That doesn't mean seven years in trafficking: That means seven years on the planet. So we have this small window to get them out."


Hannah Tiede

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