ST. CLOUD – A new public service video provides insight into how undercover agents with the Central Minnesota Human Trafficking Task Force work to catch men soliciting children in online chat rooms.
The video is released to educate parents about how children are prepared for these sexual acts.
Stearns County District Attorney Janelle Kendall says that our children are not abducted from the streets. They are targeted in online chat rooms and online applications…
They’ll be sitting at Xbox playing games with people everywhere, like we do now. We stream games. And, they’re going to drill on that. And, they’ll start talking to them about “hey how are you at home?” Just to make your average kid say “you know my parents just don’t get me and I’m never gonna get out of here, and I’m in this small town”. And that’s how it starts. We see it again and again and again.
Kendall says this video is intended to help parents and community members understand exactly what is going on in our communities and in our homes.
The Central Minnesota Human Trafficking Task Force is a collaborative effort with multiple law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, and victim advocacy groups. It was created in 2017 to fight sex trafficking. The solicitation of children has become more prevalent since then.
They want parents to be involved and pay attention to what their children are doing online and who they are chatting with. Look for changes in your child’s behavior, monitor friend groups, and watch for new clothes or other gifts sex buyers might give them as part of the grooming process.
The task force is also looking to schedule appointments with parents and community groups to train them on what to look for and strategies for staying on top of your child’s online activity.