Duluth Police assisted in an undercover sex trafficking operation in the Twin Cities area that led to more than two dozen victims being rescued and landed nearly 60 people behind bars.
Investigators with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension-led Human Trafficking Investigators Task Force conducted the operation April 4-8 in several Twin Cities communities.
According to the Minnesota BCA, during the operation, suspects communicated on several social media platforms with undercover agents and investigators who posed as minors or as sex buyers.
Investigators arrested the suspects as they arrived at an arranged meeting place for an encounter.
According to the Minnesota BCA, the 58 people arrested were taken into custody for attempting to solicit children for sex or for trafficking victims. They are being held at the Hennepin, Anoka, and Ramsey County jails, awaiting charges.
The Duluth Police Department was one of many municipal and county agencies that lent resources to the investigation.
“It was an excellent opportunity for multiple jurisdictions to collaborate and compare different strategies and network statewide,” Duluth Police Investigator Nicholas Lepak said. “The operation allowed us to show a statewide law enforcement emphasis on this dark underbelly of our society! It was rewarding and a lot of work but worth the effort! It was also nice to be part of this statewide team effort!”
According to the Minnesota BCA, most of the suspects arrested are from the Twin Cities area. No word as of Wednesday morning on if any of the suspects reside in the Northland area.
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger of being trafficked, call 911. To report a suspected trafficking situation, call the BCA at 877-996-6222 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.