We Have Driven a Sea Change

The success of the MN Girls campaign and critical impact it has had on the work to end sex trafficking is undeniable. With cross-sector leaders, the Women’s Foundation has invested $6 million in the last six years (2011-2017) and driven a sea change in our communities’ response to this unconscionable crime.

  • Passage of Minnesota’s Safe Harbor Law
    • Passage of Safe Harbor changed state laws to ensure that children under 18 years of age who are sold for sex are no longer criminalized, but treated as victims of a crime in need of safe housing and specialized services. In May 2016, we increased the age of Safe Harbor eligibility from 18 to 24.
    • We paid the $12,000 fiscal note (July 2011) that enabled the passage of Minnesota’s Safe Harbor. At that time, tight public budgets and a fiscally conservative state Legislature would have rejected any bill with a price tag. Our quick action to pay the appropriation and active lobbying were critical factors in the Safe Harbor’s passage.
  • Crafted Minnesota’s No Wrong Door Model
    • We helped to create a comprehensive statewide response in the No Wrong Door model, which went into effect in August 2014. No Wrong Door has resulted in the following outcomes:
      • Increased housing and trauma-informed care for victims, from two beds in 2011 to 48 beds today (May 2016).
      • Established a statewide director of child sex trafficking prevention at the MN Dept. of Health; eight regional navigator positions to connect trafficked children with the shelter, support, and services they need; and a training fund for law enforcement and prosecutors.
      • Issued state grants to select nonprofits for housing and trauma-informed care for child sex-trafficking victims across Minnesota.
    • We went from zero state funding in 2011 to a state-funded infrastructure of $13.1 million, as of May 2017. Minnesota is the first state in the nation to provide state funding for sex-trafficking victims.
    • In May 2017, an investment of $73,000 and a legislative mandate to complete Safe Harbor for All strategic planning was passed, which will develop Minnesota’s new response for adult victims of sex trafficking.
    • In April 2013, we offered the State of Minnesota a matching grant of $1 million in a public-private partnership if it provided a minimum of $7 million of the requested $13.3 million to fully fund the Safe Harbor/No Wrong Door model. While the state rejected our offer, our leadership resulted in a critical first-time state investment in May 2013.
  • Developed Model Protocols to Improve Statewide Systemic Response
    • In May 2016, we passed an additional $800,000 to support police investigations and a policy provision to increase penalties for perpetrators apprehended during the course of undercover operations is now included in the Safe Harbor law.
    • Since 2013, the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office (MN Girls grantee-partner) has trained nearly 2,000 law enforcement officers on protocols it developed with statewide partners about child sex trafficking and how to proceed in a victim-centered approach.
    • Production of roll-call videos, resource guides, multidisciplinary conferences, and other trainings for patrol and other frontline officers.
  • Increased Sex Trafficking Charges and Convictions in Minnesota
    • Convictions of sex trafficking perpetrators nearly tripled through increased law enforcement investigations and prosecutions.
    • Between 2010 and 2013, the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office (MN Girls grantee-partner) reports that charges and convictions against sex traffickers in Minnesota increased by 76 percent — from 17 in 2010 to 72 in 2013.
  • Inspired and Advocated for Federal Legislation Modeled on Minnesota’s Safe Harbor Law
    • Our direct outreach to educate, update and engage Minnesota’s Congressional delegation through multiple meetings in Washington, D.C. (2012, 2013) resulted in federal child sex trafficking legislation — Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (S. 178) — modeled in part on Minnesota’s Safe Harbor. The Act was passed by the U.S. House and Senate in January and May 2015, respectively.
  • Published Groundbreaking Research on Child Sex Trafficking
    • We funded Mapping the Market for Sex with Trafficked Minor Girls in Minneapolis: Structures, Functions, and Patterns, a first-of-its-kind research and approach to understanding how the overall market for juvenile sex trafficking manifests within communities in one city, Minneapolis.
    • Dr. Lauren Martin, lead researcher on Mapping the Market for Sex with Trafficked Minor Girls in Minneapolis: Structures, Functions, and Patterns (released Sept. 2014), is conducting new research commissioned and funded by the Foundation. The new research, Mapping the Demand for Sex with Trafficked Individuals in Minnesota, will reveal an in-depth look at the purchasers of sex with children in Minnesota. The research will be released in 2017.
  • Elicited Public Support & Engagement to End Child Sex Trafficking
    • Early findings from Mapping the Demand for Sex with Trafficked Individuals in Minnesota, the research mentioned above, reveals the surge in media coverage after the MN Girls Are Not For Sale campaign began in 2011 and the Minnesota Legislature passed the state’s Safe Harbor legislation, which reclassified sex-trafficked minors as crime victims in need of protection.media-coverage
    • UROC’s research findings also reveal a significant shift in language used in media coverage once the MN Girls Are Not For Sale campaign was launched and Safe Harbor was passed. The public awareness and education campaign has changed the narrative and driven a sea change in how media partners and the general public frame the issue. Media coverage began referring to the crime as “sex trafficking” rather than ““prostitution,” and public perception has shifted to viewing children and women caught in the web of sex trafficking as victims, rather than criminals.media-coverage-2