Press Release

For Immediate Release: January 24, 2013

Gov. Mark Dayton Proclaims Human Trafficking Prevention Week

Gov. Mark Dayton has proclaimed the week of January 24-31, 2013 as Human Trafficking Prevention Week in Minnesota.

As many as 8,000 to 12,000 people are estimated to be involved in prostitution/sex trafficking in Minnesota every day. The Governor's proclamation recognizes that Minnesota is the forefront of efforts to prevent human trafficking, but that more can and must be done to address what has become the second largest and fastest growing criminal industry in the world.

"Human trafficking is a crime that exploits people for profit and deprives them of their basic human rights," said Commissioner of Human Rights Kevin Lindsey. "It is not just a Twin Cities phenomenon, but affects communities throughout the state. Those who are trafficked are often as young as 12 or 14, and come from all races and ethnicities. Fortunately, Minnesota has taken steps to recognize that sexually exploited children are not criminals, but victims in need of help."

Gov. Dayton signed the "Safe Harbors Law" in 2011, which treats sexually exploited youth and sex trafficking victims under age 16 as children in need of protection or services. The Department of Health, the Department of Public Safety and the Department of Human Rights are among the state agencies working with other municipal, county, and state agency leaders to address the needs of sexually exploited youth and find new methods of preventing human trafficking. "Human Trafficking is a serious public health problem affecting all Minnesota communities," said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Ed Ehlinger.

"The Minnesota Department of Health's Sexual Violence Prevention program is working with more than 200 statewide partners to address this issue and develop comprehensive prevention strategies to end human trafficking in our state."

The Governor's proclamation of Human Rights week coincides with President Obama's declaration of January 2012 as Human Trafficking Prevention month nationally.

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For additional information please contact Jeff Holman, jeff.holman@state.mn.us or 651.539.1090

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