There is growing awareness that sexual exploitation and trafficking is a tragic reality in our society.

We would like to clarify the extent, scope and means by which this exploitation is taking place. Many people have seen movies, such as “Taken,” and other news stories that tend to focus on abduction. Although abductions leading to trafficking do happen, they are extremely rare, since perpetrators then have to deal with a person who will do everything in their power to escape.

The much more common and insidious strategy used by those seeking to sexually exploit young people is through a process of grooming and recruiting, and this is playing out in every state of our nation and every county of our state.

Perpetrators most often pose as older boyfriends or girlfriends and lure teens into emotionally manipulating and controlling relationships that eventually lead to sexual abuse and exploitation.

There is a conference coming up on May 3-5 that will provide specific information on the reality of sex trafficking in our state and what we can do about it. Freedom Weekend, sponsored by Trafficking Justice, is a collection of six different events at multiple locations in the Twin Cities. Go to traffickingjustice.com/fw2019/ for details.

Keith Lokkesmoe

Executive Director

Trafficking Justice

Community Editor

Mark Olson, the Chaska and Chanhassen community editor who has worked in Carver County for 20 years, makes any excuse to write about local history. In his spare time, Mark enjoys perusing old books, watching blockbusters and taking Midwest road trips.

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