MSP Airport Police Department launches campaign to raise awareness of human trafficking
If you’re traveling in and out of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport anytime soon, you may notice more signs that focus on human trafficking.
It’s part of a new campaign from the MSP Airport Police Department.
“It’s happening more than we know it is and that’s always going to be the case,” said Detective Anne Katchmark, with MSP Airport Police.
Backed by federal data, MSP International Airport estimates that 50 passengers a month are there against their will.
“Trafficking is when someone manipulates or controls another person,” Katchmark said. “It could be sex, or labor for another person’s benefit.”
That’s why Katchmark and MSP Airport Police launched a new campaign to make travelers aware of what’s going on.
“The airport police department has a really unique opportunity to identify and disrupt the human trafficking that’s happening here,” Katchmark said.
Part of the campaign means you’ll see more signs in places like terminals, trams and bathrooms. But the goal runs much deeper.
“It’s important for passengers to be able to recognize certain signs or remember ‘Hey this is something I should be looking out for,'” Katchmark said.
So what does trafficking look like?
“It looks like a relationship right, but it’s all about control and manipulation,” said Detective Heather Jensen, with the Bloomington Police Department.
Things like carrying very few personal items and not knowing where your final destination is are just a couple of signs that a person might be a trafficking victim.
“A trafficker was holding onto the driver’s license of the person they were trafficking and so that’s a big one,” Jensen said.
Jensen says they work closely with the airport, especially because of all the hotels they have close by.
“We are working in an undercover capacity targeting customers that are trying to buy juveniles for commercial sex,” Jensen said.
It’s largely a hidden crime, but the MSP Police Department wants travelers to know that you can be a part of the solution.
“Noticing that something is a little off and reporting it to us, that’s crucial,” Katchmark said.
To learn more about the campaign or the key signs of trafficking to look for, click here.