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The Advocates for Human Rights: Sex Trafficking in Minnesota Beatríz R. Menanteau, Esq. Staff Attorney.

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Presentation on theme: "The Advocates for Human Rights: Sex Trafficking in Minnesota Beatríz R. Menanteau, Esq. Staff Attorney."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Advocates for Human Rights: Sex Trafficking in Minnesota Beatríz R. Menanteau, Esq. Staff Attorney

2 About The Advocates for Human Rights Founded in 1983, The Advocates for Human Rights is a non-governmental, 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the promotion and protection of internationally recognized human rights locally, nationally, and internationally. The Advocates promotes human rights and reforms cultural and political structures that oppress human dignity.

3 The Advocates for Human Rights Programs include: Womens Human Rights Refugee and Immigrant Rights International Justice Human Rights Education

4 The Womens Human Rights Program Womens Human Rights Program focuses on addressing violence against women. Violence against women is the most prevalent and least punished crime in the world. It is also a grave threat to health and well-being. -- U.N. statement, 25 November 2008U.N. statement

5 Violence against women takes many forms, including: -Domestic violence -Human trafficking -Sexual assault -Sexual harassment -Forced and early marriages -Female genital mutilation -Honor killings -Dowry-related violence -Rape as a weapon of war -Female infanticide -Enforced sterilization

6 Human trafficking includes both sex trafficking and labor trafficking and is the second largest – and fastest growing – criminal industry in the world. In 2008, traffickers made $31 billion buying and selling humans. Different sources estimate this figure to be as high as $32 billion. From: United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking; Polaris Project; and University of Iowa Center for Human Rights.

7 What did The Advocates for Human Rights do? Published in 2008

8 Interviewed 175 individuals, including Law Enforcement Officers, Judges, Prosecutors, & Service Providers Used a human rights framework Detailed more than two dozen findings and recommendations. Free download at: Sex Trafficking Needs Assessment for the State of Minnesota

9 Sex Trafficking in Minnesota Sex trafficking is a form of slavery and involuntary servitude resulting in grave human rights violations. Sex trafficking is not new to Minnesota nor is it confined to the Twin Cities metropolitan area; it affects communities throughout the state. From: Sex Trafficking Needs Assessment for the State of Minnesota, The Advocates for Human Rights, October 2008

10 Sex Trafficking Victims in Minnesota: Who Are They and How Many Are There?

11 What is the scope of human trafficking? The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Justice Programs published reports in 2006, 2007, 2008, and

12 OJP 2008 report: Total Human Trafficking Victims in MN 2008 = 314 i.Sex Trafficking victims a)2008: 275 sex trafficking victims b)Past 3 years: 731 sex trafficking victims ii.Labor Trafficking victims a)2008: 39 labor trafficking victims b)Past 3 years: 93 labor trafficking victims

13 OJP 2010 Report: 67% of service providers respondents indicated they had served a victim of human trafficking in 2009 (48% in 2008) 18 % of law enforcement respondents indicated they had a trafficking arrest or investigation (14% in 2008) Service provider respondents reported working with a total of 450 human trafficking victims in 2009 at the time of the survey: 370 sex trafficking victims 80 labor trafficking victims

14 What other statistics do we know? 8-12,000 people are involved in sex trafficking and prostitution in Minnesota every day. The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that there are at least 12.3 million adults and children in forced labor, bonded labor, and commercial sexual servitude at any given time. From: Buying Sex Stops Here, ANESEM, U.S. State Department, Trafficking in Persons Report (2009)

15 Vulnerable Juveniles The average age of entry into prostitution is Study in North Minneapolis - 53% of individuals in prostitution reported first trading or selling sex before the age of 18. * Lauren Martin, North Minneapolis Prostitution Research (2007) (unpublished data collected at Folwell Center for Urban Initiatives) (summary on file with author). From February to August 2010, Minnesota showed a 55% increase on juvenile girls trafficked through internet classified and escort services. * Schapiro Group study, Womens Funding Network, 2010.

16 Sex trafficking is not limited to cases involving: Foreign nationals, but includes U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents; Force, fraud, or coercion, but includes cases involving a variety of means of recruitment and enticement; Transportation or movement across a border, but may occur within a city, county, state, or country; Sexual exploitation, but may overlap or intersect with human smuggling and/or labor trafficking cases.

17 Trafficking examples~ Blaine - A man met two 16 year old girls on-line, had sex with them, advertised on-line photos of them, gave them drugs, and then had them have sex for money with customers in a nice townhouse in a quiet Blaine neighborhood - March Somali gang linked to prostitution ring - September Minnesota Nice Guys Case. Girl on Craigslist with boyfriend who schedules her dates, drives her there, and takes a percentage of her money. Woman on the street who pays a pimp.

18 How is sex trafficking defined in the law? Handout: Sex Trafficking Fact Sheet

19 Three definitions: United Nations Optional Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons (2003) United States Trafficking Victims Protection Act (passed in 2000, reauthorized in 2003, 2005, and 2008) State Laws on Trafficking

20 Federal Law The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA): Passed on October 28, 2000 Reauthorized in 2003, 2005, and 2008

21 The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA): Whoever knowingly…recruits, entices, harbors, transports, provides, or obtains by any means a person; or benefits, financially or by receiving anything of value, from participation in a venture which has engaged in an act described in violation of (1), Knowing that force, fraud or coercion…will be used to cause the person to engage in a commercial sex act, or that the person has not attained the age of 18 years and will be caused to engage in a commercial sex act. 18 U.S.C. § 1591(2008).

22 The term commercial sex act means any sex act on account of which anything of value is given to or received by any person. 22 U.S.C. § 7102(3)(2008).

23 Minnesota Law Passed in 2005 Amended in 2009

24 Minnesota law defines sex trafficking as: The receiving, recruiting, enticing, harboring, providing, or obtaining by any means an individual to aid in the prostitution of the individual or receiving profit or anything of value, knowing or having reason to know it is derived from [sex trafficking]. M.S. § , subd. 7a(2009). Minnesota punishes sex trafficking with a maximum of 15 years for an adult, 20 years for an individual under 18, and 25 years where an aggravating factor is involved. M.S. § (2009).

25 The words by any means indicate that an individual may not consent to sex trafficking. It takes the focus away from the victims actions and places it on the traffickers actions. Consent or mistake as to age shall not be a defense to prosecutions under section or M.S. § , subd. 2 (2008)

26 The term prostitution means engaging or offering or agreeing to engage for hire in sexual penetration or sexual contact. M.S. § , subd. 9 (2008).

27 Sex trafficking and pimping are a part of the same continuum of criminal activity: The sexual exploitation of women and girls.

28 Is it a Choice? Average age of entry into prostitution = 12 to 14 years old 92% of individuals in prostitution reported that they wanted to leave prostitution. Remember, MN sex trafficking law focuses on the actions of the trafficker/pimp not on how the individual being trafficked entered into the situation.

29 U.N. DefinitionFederal DefinitionMinnesota Definition Statutory AuthorityU.N. Trafficking Protocol 18 U.S.C. § 1591: 22 U.S.C. § 7102(9) M.S. § ; ; Key Elements Compared Force, Fraud or Coercion for Adults No Force, Fraud or Coercion for Adults No Force, Fraud or Coercion for Children Abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another personNo corollary No one may consent to being trafficked Recruiting, Harboring, Receiving Recruiting, Harboring, Receiving but also Enticing, Obtaining, Providing, Transporting Recruiting, Harboring, Receiving but also Enticing, Obtaining, Providing, but not Transporting Exploitation, including Sexual ExploitationCommercial Sex Act Prostitution, but not broader definition of Sexual Exploitation Benefits, financially or by receiving anything of value, from participation in a venture Receiving profit or anything of value, knowing or having reason to know, it is derived from sex trafficking The broadest definition in each category is bolded.

30 What are the pros and cons of the laws? Unlike federal sex trafficking law, Minnesota law recognizes that a person can never consent to being sexually exploited and considers individuals who have been prostituted by any means as a trafficking victim. Minnesota law, however, excludes some victims of commercial sexual exploitation, such as those exploited in stripping, by limiting the definition of sex trafficking to include only sexual contact or sexual penetration.

31 Legislative Efforts 2009 Amendments 2011 Legislative Initiative

32 2009 Amendments to Minnesota Law on Sex Trafficking Increase fines and penalties for traffickers; 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.

33 2011 Safe Harbors Legislative Initiative Despite many protections, under Minnesota law children who are victims of commercial sexual exploitation can still be treated as criminals or juvenile delinquents: M.S. § penalizes juveniles who engage in prostitution M.S. § 260C.141, subd. 6 - petition may be filed as both a delinquency and child protection matter.260C.141

34 Most agree that children who are being commercially sexually exploited are victims. Treating children who are being prostituted like criminals is not the way to solve the problem and help the victims. They need services, not a criminal record. BUT, the law doesnt match the policy. We want the law to match the policy. Direct youth who are being commercially sexually exploited into services instead of into jail.

35 Importance of Legal Reform We must make the statement that Minnesota has taken affirmative and collaborative action to establish that the selling and buying of humans for sex is not acceptable. We want our laws to effectively protect victims and hold perpetrators accountable. Change our practice. Change our systems. Change our cultural environment.

36 Questions?

37 Contact Us: Beatríz R. Menanteau, Esq. The Advocates for Human Rights Third Avenue South #1240 Minneapolis, MN Tel: (612) x113

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