My farewell gift to Minneapolis – an attempt to stop human trafficking

During a recent podcast interview that went hilariously off the rails, it came up that the Superbowl has a reputation for sex trafficking. Despite the City Page’s attempts to poo-poo it, the Twin Cities is a known hub for human trafficking … and what do you know, we just happen to have won the bid to host the Superbowl in 2018. Rather than hope people remember that connection in four years, I decided to do what I do well and connect people that make a kickass team.

Today, in keeping with the promise I made two months back, I sent this letter out to the best assembly of organizations I could:
Hell0!

I am contacting all of you before I leave Minneapolis over a major concern to all of you:human trafficking. While as of tomorrow I will no longer live in Minnesota, I wanted to use my ability to connect people and organizations for greater causes one last time before I left. This is CC’d to the best arrangement of government, nonprofit, and professional associations I could concoct – together, all of you are my dream team when it comes to solving this problem.

As you know, the Twin Cities is a wonderful place to live – for most of us. But like any place that has achieved a degree of population density, there are problems, too. Among those is one upcoming events is giving all of us a chance to do something about: human trafficking. Articles in the Daily Planet and MPR, along with stories on TV Station KARE11 have made known to residents that Minneapolis is a human trafficking hub. The Huffington Post recently ran a story that the Superbowl is also a premiere event for human trafficking.

You can read these articles here:
The Superbowl is the single largest human trafficking incident in the US: Attorney General
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/03/super-bowl-sex-trafficking_n_2607871.html

Human Trafficking in Minnesota
http://www.tcdailyplanet.net/news/2009/12/16/human-trafficking-minnesota

The How and Where of Sex Trafficking in Minnesota
http://www.mprnews.org/story/2013/04/25/daily-circuit-sex-trafficking

KARE11
http://www.kare11.com/story/news/investigations/2014/03/04/sex-trafficking-police-safe-harbor-law-investigates/5990571/

The Superbowl coming to Minneapolis looks like the perfect storm. It is also, quite possibly, an excellent opportunity to cripple this practice. There are multiple organizations that handle different aspects of these problems – and other people, not necessarily law enforcement, who could be on the front lines to see and report it when trafficking happens. By taking time now to coordinate efforts law enforcement, crisis care, and businesses like hotels affected by these criminals can all work together to sweep out this practice – and set up measures that will ensure their victims receive proper care and rehabilitation, and that channels for trafficking are cut off.

I would like to propose that you work together to plan and execute the following: 1)Helping hotel/motel employees identify suspicious behaviors relating to human
trafficking, and to report accordingly. 2)Creating relationships between law enforcement, crisis care, and those who would be the first to spot suspicious activity.
3)Setting aside/raising funds for space and resources for victims of human trafficking, including translators, relocation, protection, healthcare, and education as necessary.

I can see the opportunity but you, the recipients of this letter, best know what smaller steps are necessary to make this work in an effective, sustainable way –
and you know who has the mindset to dedicate to the cause for maximum cooperation and effectiveness.

I am a 12 year Twin Citizen who is on the verge of a move to San Francisco. In my time in Minnesota I have worked as a battered woman’s advocate, served as clergy, and filled in as a journalist here and there. This letter is a sort of farewell gift to a city that, as rough as it can be to outsiders, has been overall pretty good to me. I believe I am responsible for what I leave behind, and even if it’s just a small thing of saying something I see that maybe someone else does too, or doesn’t see but will when I speak up. Please help me leave this small gift to the city that I have proudly adopted as my hometown.

CC:
Minneapolis Police
police@minneapolismn.gov

FBI
minneapolis@ic.fbi.gov

MN Girls Are not for Sale
contactus@wfmn.org

Breaking Free
breakingfree@breakingfree.net

Harriet Tubman Center
jhauser@tubman.org

Metro Transit
aj.olson@metc.state.mn.us

Mayor Betsy Hodges

National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth
info@naehcy.org

Project for Pride in Living
ppl@ppl-inc.org

Catholic Charities
tim.marx@cctwincities.org

Civil Society
office@civilsocietyhelps.org

MN Chapter National Concierge Association
info@ncakey.org
Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce
info@minneapolischamber.org

Twin Cities Tourism Attraction Association
info@funminnesota.com

Teen Pride
mgreenman@thefamilypartnership.org

Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center
ppark@miwrc.org