As is true for any hidden illegal activity, determining the number of girls being sex trafficked in Minnesota is incredibly difficult. But a growing body of research is emerging that provides an early but critical sketch of what’s happening in our state.

“Mapping the Demand: Sex Buyers in Minnesota” is the second in a series of research reports commissioned and funded by the Foundation and produced by the University of Minnesota. The new research focuses on the buyers who drive the market for sex trafficking: who they are, how they enter the market, and their relationship to sex trafficking operations. The research will result in actionable information that can be used to shape early prevention and intervention activities and support current law enforcement practices in combating sex trafficking. (August 2017) >> View/download full report and executive summary  >> Read Star Tribune article >> Read MinnPost article

“Workplace Perspectives on Erotic Dancing: A Brief Report on Community-Based Research with Entertainers in Minneapolis Strip Clubs” is focused on documenting the workplace experiences of entertainers within strip clubs in Minneapolis from a lens of workplace health and safety and improving working conditions. The report was commissioned on behalf of the City of Minneapolis and will guide their related policy recommendations. (March 2017)  >> Read Star Tribune article

“Mapping the Market for Sex with Trafficked Minor Girls in Minneapolis: Structure, Functions, and Patterns” is a first-of-its-kind approach to understanding how the overall market for juvenile sex trafficking manifests within communities in one city. Though limited to Minneapolis, the findings may have implications for other cities and regions. (September 2014)  >> Read press release  >> Listen to MPR’s The Daily Circuit interview (9/15)  >> Read Star Tribune article

Garden of Truth: The Prostitution and Trafficking of Native Women in Minnesota,” Melissa Farley, Nicole Matthews, Sarah Deer, Guadalupe Lopez, Christine Stark and Eileen Hudon, a project of the Minnesota Indian Women’s Sexual Assault Coalition and Prostitution Research & Education, October 2011. >> Read the article by Sarah Deer.

The prostitution project: Community-based research on sex trading in north Minneapolis.”  Lauren Martin, PhD. CURA Reporter, Fall-Winter 2010.

Adolescent Girls in the Minnesota Sex Trade – From February to November 2010, The Schapiro Group conducted studies to quantify the scope of the commercial sexual exploitation (prostitution/sex trafficking) of adolescent females in Minnesota. There were a total of four counts – Feb., May, Aug., and Nov. 2010.

  • The study was designed to count adolescent girls using scientific probability methods when they were encountered through two sources: Internet and escort services.
  • This research methodology counted, over a one-month period during four different months in 2010 (Feb., May, Aug., and Nov. 2010), the number of adolescent females who were sexually exploited and actively marketed within the local sex trade.
  • The results from the final Shapiro count in November 2010 study showed that on any given weekend night in Minnesota, an estimated 45 girls under age 18 were sexually trafficked (prostituted) via Internet classified websites and escort services.

Shattered Hearts: The Commercial Sexual Exploitation Of American Indian Women And Girls,” Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center, November 2009.

National reports on sex trafficking.

National Colloquium 2012 Final Report: An Inventory and Evaluation of the Current Shelter and Services Response to Domestic Minor Sex TraffickingShared Hope International, May 2013. Executive Summary.

Enslaved in America: Sex Trafficking in the United States,” Tina Frundt, Women’s Funding Network.

Comparing Sex Buyers with Men Who Don’t Buy Sex: ‘You can have a good time with the servitude’ vs. ‘You’re supporting a system of degradation,” Melissa Farley, Emily Schuckman, Jacqueline M. Golding, Kristen Houser, Laura Jarrett, Peter Qualliotine, Michele Decker. Paper presented at Psychologists for Social Responsibility Annual Meeting, July 15, 2011, Boston.

Trafficked Teen Girls Describe Life in the Game,” National Public Radio, Youth Radio, December 6, 2010.

Characteristics of Suspected Human Trafficking Incidents, 2008-2010,” Duren Banks and Tracey Kyckelhahn, U.S. Department of Justice

Trafficking in Persons: The U.S. and International Response,” Francis T. Miko, Foreign Affairs, Defense and Trade Division, July 2006.


Girls Like Us,” Rachel Lloyd, 2011

Somebody’s Daughter: The Hidden Story of America’s Prostituted Children and the Battle to Save Them,” Julian Sher, 2011