Maple Grove Police Join Other Agencies in Large Prostitution Sting
Maple Grove police played a role in a large sting operation targeting sex trafficking. On Monday, Bloomington police announced the arrest of 23 people seeking sex services.
“We see all kinds of people from all walks of life involved in that and if they have the consequence of being publicly outed, we hope that is a huge deterrent,” said Maple Grove police Cmdr. Jon Wetternach.
Wetternach says a Maple Grove officer worked undercover to help carry out the sting. Eden Prairie and Minnetonka police were also involved.
Police say sex trafficking is an issue that impacts cities like Maple Grove and Plymouth due to having interstate access and lots of hotels. They also say the sex workers are often young victims coerced and manipulated into the trade.
“It’s very infrequent that someone calls 911 who says ‘I’m the victim of human trafficking,’ ‘I’m the victim of sex trafficking,’ so it’s a very hidden problem,” said Wetternach.
Maple Grove police say they utilize Cornerstone, a local advocacy agency, as well as Safe Harbor Minnesota, a statewide program, to provide assistance to sex trade victims.
“They don’t trust law enforcement because they think they’ll be arrested, so we have other resources we have available to us so we can direct them to those resources to get help.”
Carrying out the arrests also can be dangerous, said Wetternach. Several of the men arrested in the latest sting had guns, some of whom were prohibited from possessing weapons.
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