Public Policy

I’m your new state public policy chair, Mary Petron and I will be discussing MN AAUW issues this year. One of the issues MN AAUW will be addressing this year is sex trafficking.  For many this is a very sensitive subject and brings up uncomfortable feelings.  However, this issue needs to be addressed by everyone because it affects all women – children, teens, young adults, and adults.  It affects our families and our lives. Please go to the website provided and read the research provided. Send your comments, ideas, and thoughts to me at

We CAN STOP this pervasive problem by standing strong and speaking for those who cannot.  All it takes is one small voice to lead many.

Check out “The Minnesota Girls Are Not For Sale” campaign of the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota

Get the Facts

Child prostitution is an issue so hidden from our public consciousness that the mere mention of it results in shock and denial. But, it’s true: Minnesota girls are being bought and sold for sex.

Many of us believe the prostitution (or sex trafficking) of girls for sex is something that happens only in distant nations. Or, if it does happen in our state, it only involves girls smuggled in from those faraway countries. Bottom line? The prostitution of girls is happening here, right now, in Minnesota — and it’s on the rise.


  • 12-14: Average age girls prostituted (trafficked) for sex are first victimized
  • 83%: Percentage of total sex trafficked victims between 2008 and 2010 who were United States citizens
  • 50+%: Domestic prostitution (sex trafficking) victims classified as runaway youth living on the street
  • 55%: Approximate number of street girls who become entangled in prostitution networks
  • 75%: Girls entangled in prostitution networks controlled by a sex trafficker or ‘pimp’
  • Domestic prostitution (sex trafficking) victims experience extreme violence, forced drug use and constant threats.
  • Girls not classified as runaways are often recruited through forced abduction, pressure from parents, or through deceptive agreements between parents and traffickers.
  • The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children conservatively estimates that 100,000 children are exploited each year for prostitution in the United States.
  • The Polaris Project conservatively estimates that a pimp with a “stable” of three girls or women often enforces an average nightly quota of $500, or $1,500 a night. If these quotas are met consistently, the pimp can make as much as $547,000 (or more) in a year ($1,500 a night x 365 nights a year = $547,500).
  • Since 2006, the U.S. Department of Education has focused on the problem and worked on training with several schools. In doing so, they collaborate with the White House, the FBI, the Departments of State and Justice as well as other agencies.


  • The FBI has identified the Twin Cities as one of the nation’s 13 largest centers for child prostitution.
  • By very conservative measures, a November 2010 study found that each month in Minnesota at least 213 girls are sold for sex an average of five times per day through the Internet and escort services. This number does not include hotel, street or gang activity.
  • A November 2010 study found that on any given weekend night in Minnesota, 45 girls under age 18 are sold for sex through the internet classified websites and escort services.
  • In 2010, investigators from three states determined that Minneapolis was the home base of a large domestic prostitution (sex trafficking) ring comprised of three generations of one Minnesota family that was prostituting (trafficking) mostly young girls across the United States.
  • About 50% of adult women interviewed as part of a 2010 study focused on North Minneapolis stated that they first traded sex when they were under the age of 18, with the average age at 13.

AAUW Public Policy