KIMT NEWS 3 - Thousands of people gathered in the Twin Cities for the Super Bowl, making it a prime target for human trafficking.
Law enforcement made more than three dozen arrests related to human trafficking in the week leading up to the main event. Overall, 36 people were arrested on suspicion of "felony solicitation of a minor" in an undercover sting conducted by the Trafficking Investigators Task Force. Seven were booked on suspicion of sex trafficking, however investigators said 14 women were rescued from trafficking situations.
Of course authorities can't do it alone. In the crowds of people at Super Bowl 52, chances are at least some of them were trained in what to do in a human trafficking situation.
Sisters of St. Francis have been raising awareness about this crime for nearly a decade.
"If you think about a million more people in town, in the two cities, and they went back and forth, that's a pretty good uptick," Sister Mary Eliot Crowley said.
She spent her days leading up to the Super Bowl educating people about what to look for, what to say, what not to say, and how to refer people to resources.
"It was vital," Crowley said. "It's vital for any large, athletic or sporting or concert event."
Thousands were trained on what to do in a human trafficking situation, and not just people in uniform.
"Uber drivers were trained," Crowley said. "They were told what to do if they had persons in their vehicles that were asking to be picked up in 45 minutes to an hour."
Breaking Free, an organization in St. Paul that provides services for victims, said they took in over 30 girls over the course of the week.
Crowley said this shows everyone should be trained and educated on what human trafficking is and what to look for.
"The more people that are aware, the more people that have education, the better off our society is going to be," Crowley said. "The next best thing is to stop the demand."
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