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Ramsey County Commissioners to get crash course in fighting sex trafficking

Ramsey County’s seven commissioners will get a crash course on sex trafficking Sept. 11, in a workshop after their regular board meeting.

Experts and advocates will speak to the board on what’s called a “complex and often unseen problem,” highlighting these points:

  • What Ramsey County is currently doing to fight it and why Ramsey County’s approach is recognized nationwide.

  • What next steps need to be taken, in the county, regionally and statewide to truly turn the tide on sex trafficking of minors and others.

The public is invited to the workshop, which is expected to start about 9:30 or 10 a.m., after the regular business.

Scheduled to present at the workshop are:

  • Beatriz  Menanteau, staff attorney
  • Michele Garnett McKenzie, advocacy director with the Women’s Human Rights Program of The Advocates for Human Rights;
  • Vednita Carter, founder and executive director of Breaking Free – an organization that helps girls and women get out of prostitution;
  • Representatives of the Ramsey County Runaway Intervention Project;
  • Jeff Bauer of the Family Partnership, chief lobbyist for the Safe Harbors effort in Legislature.

Ramsey County has taken other action on the sex trafficking problem. Law enforcement officials are training hotel industry workers to watch for signs of trafficking. Earlier this month, County Attorney John Choi enlisted Marilyn Carlson Nelson, former CEO of the Carlson Cos. to speak to hotel employees at a seminar in Roseville.

Twenty hotels were involved, MPR reports, and the employees were told to look for child pornography in rooms, visitors who pay in cash, fearful or disoriented guests, and rooms with numerous smartphones, computers, credit cards and excessive cash lying around.

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