Minnesota researchers study the state's sex buyers
Aug. 05, 2017
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Researchers in Minnesota have discovered that most sex buyers in the state are married, white men with disposable income.
University of Minnesota researchers interviewed more than 150 law enforcement officers, prosecutors and social service employees for the study, Minnesota Public Radio reported.
The study found that the men tend to be between 30 and 50 years old. They also tend to travel between 30 and 60 miles in order to remain anonymous. Most men purchase sex during the work day through the internet.
"People purchasing sex are part of the fabric of our state," said Lauren Martin, lead author of the study. "They're community leaders, they're sometimes police officers or other people in authority. This is not a group of people who are distinct from mainstream society."
The study was funded by the Women's Foundation of Minnesota as part of its Minnesota Girls Are Not For Sale campaign.
"This study is key to creating targeted strategies to disrupt the sex-trafficking market, end the demand and decrease gender-based violence," said Mary Beth Hanson, the foundation's vice president of external relations.
Researchers said law enforcement has likely identified less than 1 percent of people who've purchased sex in the state.
Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Superintendent Drew Evans said law enforcement hope to disrupt trafficking rings.
"But more importantly, we need to work to drive down the demand. If the demand is not there, there will be no marketplace for the supply," Evans said.
The bureau added eight agents last year to focus on human trafficking and child sex exploitation. It now has almost 20 agents stationed around the state.
Minnesota changed its law a couple years ago to treat trafficked individuals as victims, not criminals. The state is also spending $13 million to improve services to help sex trafficking victims, such as providing more than 40 beds across the state for sexually exploited youth.
Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, http://www.mprnews.org