“If men didn’t buy her, pimps couldn’t sell her”
By Traci Crotteau - Exclusive for Boreal Community Media - April 28, 2018
Horrifically, Minnesota is the 13th highest state in the nation for sex trafficking human beings.
Children, both boys and girls. Women. Men. No one is immune to sex trafficking. Native women are the most affected group of individuals in the sex trafficking world. Sex trafficking happens in the big cities, but it also happens in rural America, and that means Cook County.
The above mentioned statistics were provided by Investigator Kelly Haffield. Haffield, is a Sex Trafficking Investigator from the Fond Du Lac Police Department in Cloquet, MN. “[It’s] here in Grand Marais and smaller communities. Trust me, there’s sex trafficking going on in Grand Marais. It’s happening,” warned Haffield.
Haffield spoke about sex trafficking to a group of law enforcement and emergency personnel on Saturday, April 28th during the 99th Annual Emergency Services Conference held in GrandMarais. The two day conference hosted roughly 70 members of law enforcement and emergency workers from around the Arrowhead Region.
According to Haffield, more than 300-thousand children are used each year in the sex trafficking world, one sex trafficking victim can earn a pimp more than $200,000 a year and sex trafficking is the third largest money maker of organized crime. “It’s like a cash machine for them. It’s like an ATM. They send them [the victim] out to a john, they make the money, they get it back andthey [the victim] can have sex with a john up to five times a day,” said Haffield.
Haffield says those of us who work in hotels, casinos and gas stations can help. “Everyday
citizens are really, ultimately going to put an end to sex trafficking through reporting back to law enforcement,” said Haffield. She reminds us to go with our gut instinct. She says if something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Report the situation to law enforcement immediately, even if it turns out you were wrong. “So what if you’re wrong? You were wrong. Your’e not going to lose your job. But just think of the difference it would make if you were right, so act on that,” explained Haffield.
“The eyes can’t see what the mind doesn’t know”
Of course, we need to know what to look for. The following tips were provided by Haffield to law enforcement and emergency responders attending the conference, but you and I as citizens can also be observers of the following signs.
▪ Is the person accompanied by another person who seems controlling
▪ Does the person accompanying the patient insist on giving the information/talking
▪ Does the patient of trouble communicating due to language/cultural barriers
▪ Are the patients identification documents being held or controlled by someone else
▪ Does the patient appear submissive or fearful
▪ Is the patient adequately dressed for the situation they’re in
▪ Is there late presentation for medical care
▪ Are there security measures designed to keep the patient on the premises
▪ Does the patient share sleeping quarters/bad living conditions
Haffield also wants people to be aware that sex traffickers start grooming their victims at a
young age, some as young as 10-years-old. She says this is a following list of the children who are most susceptible to being trafficked.
▪ Children who walk by themselves to school or stores
▪ Those children who have access to the internet
▪ Those attracted to consumer goods (Sex traffickers buy their victims with gifts)
▪ Those who desire to develop a romantic relationship
▪ Sometimes feel insecure
▪ They fight with their parents
▪ Sometimes feel parents don’t care about them
▪ They want more independence
▪ They test boundaries and take risks
Haffield says all children are at risk, however some children are more at risk than others.
Supply and Demand
Even in Cook County we can be aware. Haffield says children are used in this area for sex
during opening fishing season and hunting seasons. They get transported up from the Twin
Cities area and dropped off at fish and hunting camps to be used over and over for the
weekend. She says, sex traffickers come to the rural areas because there is less law
enforcement presence and they can slip under the radar easier. “The bad guy know that, they know they can hide out in these areas for weeks and sometimes months,” said Haffield.
The bottom line is this, if sex trafficking wasn’t available, it wouldn’t have a demand. This is why the video shown in the beginning says, “If you didn’t buy her, pimps couldn’t sell her.” We can stop modern day slavery by not participating in it, reporting it when we see it and helping victims
overcome it. Even in rural Cook County.