November 29, 2017 10:49 PM
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension will oversee a highly trained group of law enforcement personnel with their target set on criminals who buy and sell human beings to use illegally for sex, indentured labor and immigration crimes.
The Minnesota Human Trafficking Investigators Task Force started taking shape in August and has five agencies committed to its mission. Those include the Anoka County Sheriff's Office, Ramsey County Attorney's Office, Minneapolis Police Department, St. Paul Police Department and U.S. Homeland Security.
BCA Superintendent Drew Evans said this is a new endeavor by the agency and the BCA will manage its operations because it has satellite offices across the state.
"We need to be a nimble task force that can quickly move to wherever the crime might be, so we can address it in whatever community it exists in," said Evans.
Evans said the ultimate goal is to grow the task force beyond the metro region and have partnerships on a daily basis with law enforcement agencies in greater Minnesota.
And, the mission is to eradicate human trafficking at the highest levels.
"That's the philosophy of this task force, to go after the worst of the worst: those who are trafficking human beings," Evans said. "And go after them as if it is a conspiracy investigation and take down the entire enterprise."
Non-profit groups — such as The Link in Minneapolis — work with victims of human trafficking and are seeing more people ensnared by the crime every year.
Beth Holger-Ambrose, executive director with The Link, said law enforcement has been doing a tremendous job already, but she said she is pleased that this effort will target the traffickers, and not those who are victimized by them.
"I think what is great about it, again, is that they are working with youth and adults as victims, versus arresting them and charging them," Holger-Ambrose said.
The BCA said it received nearly $700,000 in federal grant money to get the task force started this year.
Updated: November 29, 2017 10:49 PM
Created: November 29, 2017 09:42 PM
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