According to a recent article in the Star Tribune, between 8,000 and 12,000 people are involved in prostitution or sex trafficking in Minnesota each day. Estimates suggest that the average age of girls trafficked is between 12 and 14. The FBI has identified the Twin Cities as one of the nation’s 13 largest centers for child prostitution. Facts like these dispel the common perception that child prostitution or trafficking of girls for sex is something that only happens in distant nations or if it does happen here, it only involves girls smuggled in from faraway.
I am pleased to announce that AAUW Rochester will be one of the sponsors of the upcoming human trafficking awareness event “Breaking the Chains of Modern Day Slavery – Protecting our Children” to be held at Assissi Heights on Jan 11, 2014 from 8:30am to noon. The keynote speaker will be Patty Wetterling and there will also be panel discussions with Dr. Dan Broughton who works with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Tori Utley from Mission 21, and local law enforcement officials.
As AAUW Minnesota public policy chair Mary Petron reminds us, this is an important issue to address because it affects all women – children, teens, young adults, and adults. It affects our families and our lives.
Mark your calendars also for the annual Beat the Odds banquet which will take place Thursday evening, Jan 16, 2014 at the Rochester International Event Center. If you are interested in attending, please contact Ione Schloegel or me for more details.
But first lets enjoy good food and conversation at our holiday dinner, Dec. 18th. I hope to see you there.
Beth Nienow, President