Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Get E-News from The Advocates
Human Sex Trafficking in Minnesota

Sex trafficking violates women and children’s basic human rights, including the right to be free from slavery and slavery-like practices; the right to equal protection under the law; the right to be free from discrimination based on race, nationality, and gender; and the rights to life, security of person and freedom from torture. Governments also violate trafficked persons’ rights when they fail to prevent sex trafficking, prosecute perpetrators or provide trafficked persons with effective remedies for these violations, such as access to courts and legal immigration status.

In 2007, The Advocates’ Women’s Program was selected by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Office of Justice Programs to conduct a human sex trafficking needs assessment for the state.  The assessment, requested by the Minnesota Trafficking Task Force, was undertaken using the documentation and fact-finding techniques we developed in our overseas work and have adapted through our local work to analyze the services available to and the barriers faced by trafficked persons when seeking safety and support. 

The report Sex Trafficking Needs Assessment for the State of Minnesota, published in September 2008, examines the government response to this issue at the local, state, tribal and federal levels; identifies facilities and services currently available to trafficking victims in Minnesota; assesses their effectiveness; and makes recommendations for coordinating services to better meet the needs of sex trafficking victims statewide. 

Click here for the full report.
for the Executive Summary.

As a follow-up to the recommendations, The Advocates worked with the statewide Minnesota Trafficking Task Force to draft a bill to strengthen Minnesota's sex trafficking law to provide a stronger deterrent for those who sell human beings for sex and a stronger tool for those enforcing the law.  The Minnesota Legislature unanimously passed and the governor signed the “Bill for an Act to Combat Trafficking in Minnesota” into law on May 21, 2009. 

The amendments to Minnesota’s sex trafficking law will enable law enforcement and prosecutors to better hold the perpetrators of this grave human rights violation accountable.  Specifically, the amendments to the law: 

  • Provide law enforcement and prosecutors with the ability to arrest and charge sex traffickers with higher penalties where an offender repeatedly trafficks individuals into prostitution, where bodily harm is inflicted, where an individual is held more than 180 days, or where more than one victim is involved;
  • Increase the fines for those who sell human beings for sex; 
  • Criminalize the actions of those individuals who receive profit from sex trafficking;
  • Categorize sex trafficking with other “crimes of violence” to ensure that those who sell others for sex are prohibited from possessing firearms; and
  • Add sex trafficking victims to those victims of “violent crime” who are protected from employer retaliation if they participate in criminal proceedings against their traffickers.

As a whole, the amendments send a strong message that Minnesota will not tolerate sexual slavery and involuntary servitude and that the perpetrators of such acts will be held accountable.


For a list of The Advocates' education and outreach presentations on sex trafficking in Minnesota, please click here.


If you need assistance in developing talking points for public policy discussions about combating sex trafficking in Minnesota, please contact the Women’s Program at The Advocates for Human Rights.