Reporting Edgar Linares
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Law enforcement officials are working with Twin Cities hotels to put a stop to child sex trafficking.
On Tuesday, police officers trained dozens of hotel workers across the metro on how to spot suspicious activity. Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau says that of all cases involving sex trafficking all but one took place in a hotel, and all but two involved backpage.com.
“In all of these cases, the hotels were able to provide meaningful evidence to support conviction,” Harteau said. “Collaboration with Minneapolis hotels is a new partnership that we hope will help us end trafficking in the city of Minneapolis.”
Tuesday’s training involved front desk workers, managers and doormen. The following are some of the activities they’re being asked to look for:
-No luggage or identification
-Rooms paid for in cash
-Person rents the room for someone else
-Use of a third party reservation
-Anyone who appears fearful, disoriented or disheveled
-Young people made to look significantly older
-Young people with significantly older “boyfriends”
-People that don’t fit together
-Men leaving alone and coming back with a young woman some time later
Every hotel in downtown Minneapolis was invited to participate in the training. This is the third group to be trained; the other groups were trained in Roseville and Minnetonka.
“Since the beginning of last year, when we were made aware of the scope of the problem, in some of the hotels we’ve made 19 arrests,” said Lt. Greg Reinhardt with the Minneapolis Police Department.
Reinhardt says ordering a child prostitute is as easy as ordering a pizza, and it’s not just a city problem — it’s wide spread.
“We’re all part of a solution to a complex problem,” said Rich Stanek, the Hennepin County Sheriff. “Sex exploitation will not be tolerated in Hennepin County…plain and simple.”
If one is arrested for participating in sex trafficking of a child, it’s a felony charge with a 10 to 25 year sentence.