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Sex trafficking community meeting aims to inform and empower youth

This is the second part of a community education series.

Posted: Apr. 10, 2018 7:48 AM
Updated: Apr. 10, 2018 8:07 AM

BYRON, Minn. - A presentation happening on Tuesday aims to help educate the community on sex trafficking.

It’s the second part of a community education series being put on by Olmsted County Sheriff’s Department and the local Safe Harbor agency.

It will be lead by Safe Harbor Navigator for the region, Laura Sutherland.

“They brought us in to speak about the reality of sex trafficking and sexual exploitation that we are experiencing here in Olmsted County,” Sutherland said.

She said much of the meeting will focus on how to keep kids safe online, which is where she said she commonly sees trafficking begin.

“I think we all realize we shouldn’t do something like put the passcode to our garage in our social media posts,” she said. “But people don’t necessarily think, if they… literally have something like sad emojis or life sucks right now, or having problems with mom and dad. That creates an emotional vulnerability that predators are looking for and will then target that student to start building a relationship.”

Kids ages 12 and up are also welcome to attend.

“We want youth to be informed and empowered on their own so that they know how to protect themselves online but also can be looking out for their friends too,” Laura said

The first part of the community education series was a meeting focusing on drugs and had about 200 people in attendance.

Tuesday night’s meeting will start at 6:30pm at Byron Middle School.

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