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19 arrested in Twin Cities human trafficking sting

By Karen Zamora, Minneapolis Star Tribune

Authorities rescued 10 women involved in sex trafficking and arrested 19 people Thursday afternoon in connection with a broad investigation into human trafficking and solicitation.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office, Fridley and Plymouth police and the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office were involved in a two-day undercover operation in which agents and investigators posed as children.

“The subjects believed they were going to meet with a child 13 to 15 years old for sex,” the BCA said in a statement.

The undercover agents and investigators also targeted online solicitation using social media.

When the operation ended Thursday afternoon, authorities arrested 19 people from the Twin Cities. They were booked into the Anoka County jail. Of those arrested, 15 men are in custody on suspicion of solicitation of a child, and two men and two women are in custody on suspicion of felony human trafficking.

Charges are expected soon, authorities said.

Of the 10 who were rescued by authorities, one is a juvenile and was placed in protective custody in Anoka County. The nine adult victims were identified, interviewed and released following Minnesota Safe Harbor guidelines, the BCA said.