Juvenile sex trafficking in Minneapolis is an industry with distinct organizational structures, business models, and recruitment tactics, according to a first-of-its-kind study conducted by the University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC) and Othayonih Research. The Minneapolis Women’s Foundation funded the study. Among the findings: Victims range in age from 9 to 17 and are predominantly people of color who are often exploited by traffickers from within their own communities; pimps and traffickers are between ages 17 and 55; and buyers, who come from all communities in the Twin Cities metropolitan area, are 23 to 55 years old. Pregnant teens and young mothers are favorite targets, since children can be used as leverage.
UROC’s work on the project is part of its initiative to address sex trading, trafficking, and prostitution through research. Othayonih and UROC released the report in September.