Established a statewide director of child sex trafficking prevention at the MN Dept. of Health; eight regional navigator positions to connect trafficked children with the shelter, support, and services they need; and a training fund for law enforcement and prosecutors. Issued state grants to select nonprofits for housing and trauma-informed care for child sex-trafficking victims across Minnesota.
We went from zero state funding in 2011 to a state-funded infrastructure of $15.2 million. Minnesota is the first state in the nation to provide state funding for sex-trafficking victims. In May 2017, an investment of $73,000 and a legislative mandate to complete Safe Harbor for All strategic planning was passed, which will develop Minnesota’s new response for adult victims of sex trafficking. In April 2013, we offered the State of Minnesota a matching grant of $1 million in a public-private partnership if it provided a minimum of $7 million of the requested $13.3 million to fully fund the Safe Harbor/No Wrong Door model. While the state rejected our offer, our leadership resulted in a critical first-time state investment in May 2013. Developed Model Protocols to Improve Statewide Systemic Response. In May 2016, we passed an additional $800,000 to support police investigations and a policy provision to increase penalties for perpetrators apprehended during the course of undercover operations is now included in the Safe Harbor law.
Since 2013, the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office (MN Girls grantee-partner) has trained nearly 2,000 law enforcement officers on protocols it developed with statewide partners about child sex trafficking and how to proceed in a victim-centered approach. Production of roll-call videos, resource guides, multidisciplinary conferences, and other trainings for patrol and other frontline officers. Increased Sex Trafficking Charges and Convictions in Minnesota. Convictions of sex trafficking perpetrators nearly tripled through increased law enforcement investigations and prosecutions. Between 2010 and 2013, the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office (MN Girls grantee-partner) reports that charges and convictions against sex traffickers in Minnesota increased by 76 percent — from 17 in 2010 to 72 in 2013. Inspired and Advocated for Federal Legislation Modeled on Minnesota’s Safe Harbor Law. Our direct outreach to educate, update and engage Minnesota’s Congressional delegation through multiple meetings in Washington, D.C. (2012, 2013) resulted in federal child sex trafficking legislation — Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (S. House and Senate in January and May 2015, respectively. Published Groundbreaking Research on Child Sex Trafficking. We funded Mapping the Market for Sex with Trafficked Minor Girls in Minneapolis: Structures, Functions, and Patterns , a first-of-its-kind research and approach to understanding how the overall market for juvenile sex trafficking manifests within communities in one city, Minneapolis. Lauren Martin, lead researcher on Mapping the Market ( released in 2014), conducted new research commissioned and funded by the Foundation. This research, released in 2017, Mapping the Demand: Sex Buyers in Minnesota , revealed an in-depth look at the purchasers of sex with children in Minnesota. Elicited Public Support & Engagement to End Child Sex Trafficking. Early findings from Mapping the Demand: Sex Buyers in Minnesota , the research mentioned above, reveals the surge in media coverage after the MN Girls Are Not For Sale campaign began in 2011 and the Minnesota Legislature passed the state’s Safe Harbor legislation, which reclassified sex-trafficked minors as crime victims in need of protection. UROC’s research findings also reveal a significant shift in language used in media coverage once the MN Girls Are Not For Sale campaign was launched and Safe Harbor was passed. The public awareness and education campaign has changed the narrative and driven a sea change in how media partners and the general public frame the issue. Media coverage began referring to the crime as “sex trafficking” rather than “prostitution,” and public perception has shifted to viewing children and adults caught in the web of sex trafficking as victims, rather than criminals. Since our founding in 1983, the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota has served as a catalyst for social change to achieve equity for all women and girls. Our work to advance safety and security and stories from our grantee-partners and colleagues in the state’s criminal justice system informed our growing concern about the sex trafficking of girls in Minnesota. We quickly learned that sex trafficking is both complex and systemic, its causes deeply rooted in gender and economic inequity, while its effects and opportunities for prevention exist within a complex, cross-sector field of public agencies, businesses, nonprofit service providers, and the public. Using a collective impact framework – which assumes that no one sector can single-handedly move the dial alone on complex, systemic social and economic issues – we exercised our positional leadership as a statewide community foundation with statewide reach to identify key stakeholders and convene the field. In 2010, we convened over 100 leaders from all over Minnesota – donors, elected officials, state agencies, philanthropies, advocates, corporations, law enforcement, judges, faith communities, and many others – and created a strategic, multi-sector plan to combat child sex trafficking. This plan resulted in MN Girls Are Not For Sale, our five year, $5 million campaign launched in November 2011 to galvanize resources to end the sex trafficking of Minnesota girls and boys through grantmaking, research, public education, and convening. Phase 1 of MN Girls had three goals: Redefine sex-trafficked minors as victims of a crime, and ensure access to specialized housing and treatment. Decrease demand for child sex trafficking through effective law enforcement and policies. Educate and mobilize public support and activism to end child sex trafficking. As of April 2016, the MN Girls campaign fully achieved Goal 1, produced original research that began to address the demand side of the issue (Goal 2), and engaged and mobilized the public to end child sex trafficking (Goal 3).
The success of the MN Girls campaign and critical impact it has had on the work to end child sex trafficking is undeniable. With cross-sector leaders, the Women’s Foundation invested over $6 million and drove a sea change in our communities’ response to this unconscionable and haunting violence against children. Phase 1: Key MN Girls Successes: Went from zero state funding in 2011 to a state-funded infrastructure of $13.1 million (May 2017). Minnesota is first in the nation to provide state funding for sex trafficking victims. Increased housing and trauma-informed care for victims, from two beds in 2011 to 48 beds (May 2017). Outreach to Minnesota’s Congressional delegation in Washington, D.C.
resulted in federal sex trafficking legislation (2015), modeled after Minnesota’s Safe Harbor law. In January 2015, as a result of our Phase 1 (April 1, 2011-March 31, 2016) success and community demand for continued progress on this issue, the Foundation’s Board of Trustees extended MN Girls to a second phase (through March 2019), based on stakeholder input and calls from the community for the Foundation’s continued leadership. This extension into Phase 2 expanded the campaign to eight years and $7.5 million.