Sen. Klobuchar talks sex trafficking in Duluth

By KBJR News 1

January 18, 2014 Updated Jan 20, 2014 at 12:29 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) -- About 27 million people are victims of sex trafficking around the world. Here in the United States, trafficking of young women happens at one of the nation's most watched events.

"In 2011, at the Dallas Super Bowl, there was a 300 percent increase in the ads in the escort services and the sex trafficking ads that went out on the web. At the 2009 Super Bowl in Florida, they were actually advertising young girls as 'Super Bowl specials,'" said Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

This is why the Senator has taken a stand by creating a new piece of legislation titled, "Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act."

"A lot of these prosecutions are going to be done at a local level, so what it does, it says that you need to enact a law that's like Minnesota's law. There are about a dozen states that have done that and they need to do that in the next three years. So we give states plenty of time. If they don't do it they get penalized and lose some of their law enforcement money," said the Senator.

The bill is modeled after Minnesota's Safe Harbor laws which help make sure minors who are sold for sex are treated as victims.

"We want that victim to know that there is community support and we are going to do the best job possible if he or she is willing to step forward and tell what happened, not just to an advocate or friend, but tell law enforcement," said St. Louis County Attorney, Mark Rubin.

These efforts are also being backed by the St. Louis County Board. They passed a resolution to support federal legislation addressing the sex trafficking of children.

"We absolutely understand that these are not criminals; these are victims," said Chairman Mike Forsman.

Life house received a $200,000 grant to directly help youth who have been victims of sex trafficking.

"We are partnering with PAVSA to provide some sexual assault crisis intervention services and advocacy and then we are partnering with Safe Haven shelter where they have agreed to dedicate two beds to youth that have been trafficked," said Maude Dornfeld, Executive Director at Life House.

Mayor Don Ness has proclaimed January sex trafficking awareness month.

Posted to the web by Kati Anderson.