Early Intervention to Avoid Sex Trading + Trafficking of Minnesota’s Female Youth
A Benefit-Cost Analysis
Setting the Stage
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) identified Minnesota as one of a dozen states with notable sex trafficking activity, particularly of juveniles.1 Sex trading, prostitution, and sex trafficking are all terms used to reflect the act of exchanging sexual services for something of value. We use the term “sex trading” to include all these forms, including sex trafficking. When the individual providing these services is under the age of 18, this activity is a federal crime under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA). Thus, according to Federal law all juvenile sex trading is, by definition, sex trafficking.
In the summer of 2011, the State of Minnesota passed the Safe Harbor for Youth Act. The Minnesota Safe Harbor Act views youth under the age of 16,2 who are involved in any form of sex trading (including trafficking) as children in need of protection. It also increases penalties for purchasers, pimps and other traffickers of minors for the purpose of prostitution. The Act more closely aligns Minnesota State statues with federal law (the TVPA) and creates structures for victimized youth to be routed into protective or healing services. Full implementation of the law is deferred until 2014 to allow law enforcement, service providers and judicial systems time to align with the new law’s requirements.