Brooklyn Park Police Bust Underage Sex Trafficking Ring
Five people are charged in connection with an underage sex trafficking ring in Brooklyn Park. Police say at least three female victims between the ages of 15 and 17 were sold for sex through online ads.
“What does make this case unusual is it really was an organized ring that was kind of gathering runaways and then converting them into prostitutes, and then doing it for profit,” says Brooklyn Park Deputy Police Chief Mark Bruley.
Brooklyn Park police say they’re confident they got the main players in this case. Michaella Collins, 26, of Milwaukee is accused of being the ring leader.
Collins along with Lanesha Morgan-Franklin, 19, of Minneapolis; Brendian Daniels, 38 of Minneapolis; and Raphael Powell, 28, of Minneapolis; are charged with felony counts of promoting prostitution and receiving profit from prostitution. A fifth person, Kevin Alger, is charged with assisting Morgan-Franklin to avoid arrest.
Sex Trafficking Involves Runaways
According to the criminal complaint, at least two of the girls solicited for sex were runaways. In exchange for a place to stay at Collins’ Brooklyn Park apartment along the 6300 block of Boone Avenue, the girls had to sell themselves for money.
In some cases, the sex took place in cars in the parking lot of the apartment complex. The crimes occurred between August 2017 and March 2018, the complaint said.
Police say runaways are particularly vulnerable to this type of crime. It’s why police make finding their whereabouts a priority.
“These runaways do become victims out in society, and that’s why every time we get one, we’re always trying to find them as quickly as possible,” says Bruley.
The case is still under investigation. Police say it’s possible there are more victims. The known victims are in safe places for appropriate care.
The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office plans to seek an aggravated sentence because the victims were “particularly vulnerable as runaways,” according to the criminal complaint.