Sunday at 10: Dirty Little Secret; Sex Trafficking in Duluth

By KBJR News 1

May 11, 2012 Updated May 11, 2012 at 10:45 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northlands NewsCenter) - Internet sex trafficking of under age girls; it's a dirty little secret in the land of Minnesota Nice. It's an alarming trend of abuse happening night after night across the state and here in the Northland.

With just a few clicks of a computer mouse Sergeant Jeremy Graves and I found women offering themselves as "escorts," here in Duluth.
While these are photos of adults, Sergeant Graves says the actual person being trafficked is often an underage girl.

“It happens every day. We, had in one month six different kids identify as trafficked victims,” Said Kim Crawford the Executive Director of Life House Duluth.

Our homeless and vulnerable girls are at greater risk of falling prey to Pimps and recruiters.

“Poverty is one of the major things. As well as past abuse. Many of the girls that are being trafficked have been brought up in homes where there is domestic violence or where they have been sexually abused as children,” Said Candy Harshner the Executive Director of the Program to Aid Victims of Sexual Assault.

Pimps and recruiters often tell girls they alone can love and protect them. But one sex traffic survivor, whom we'll call Payton, tells us she was raped and held hostage.

“The pimp is supposed to be your protector, but he is really not going to come in if somebody is doing something, because he could go to jail. So you're not protected at all,” She said.

Sunday night (5/13) on the KBJR 6 & Range 11 News at Ten, Michelle Lee begins a special report on the sex trafficking of women and underage girls. We'll also tell you how you can help build a future where "Minnesota Girls are not for Sale."