MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Less than a month ago, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was celebrating another Super Bowl ring.
Police announced Friday that Kraft is one of 25 men charged with paying for sex acts at a massage parlor in Jupiter. A spokesperson for Kraft denies he engaged in any illegal activity.
Authorities believe the illegal activity is tied to an international human-trafficking and prostitution ring, something Lori Paul says is sadly not limited to this case.
“What used to be is that you would maybe have one pimp or trafficker and you would have multiple women. Now, you are seeing multiple traffickers with one person and using her over and over,” Paul said.
She works as a specialist at Breaking Free, a St. Paul-based nonprofit that helps hundreds of women escape sexual exploitation each year. Although she doesn’t know Kraft or any of the people involved, she believes prostitution is akin to modern-day slavery.
“When someone comes through and gives that money, that woman basically has to do what he asks her to do,” Paul said.
The organization recently launched a restorative justice program for men who have been arrested for trying to buy sex. The day-long seminar includes testimonies from survivors.
“There was one time where a man turned, with tears coming down his face, and he looked at her and he says, ‘I didn’t know, I’m sorry,’” Paul said.
Since June, 77 men in the state of Minnesota have completed the program.
Breaking Free also recently launched a 24/7 help line for men who are struggling to resist buying sex and who need someone to talk to. That number is 1-800-294-7116.