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The Eden Prairie Police Department blog provides an opportunity for the public to learn more about the people who work there — their stories, their lives, their work in Eden Prairie and their thoughts on topics from driving to dogs.

Stop the Trafficking

Post Date:June 18, 2019

stop-the-trafficking logoIn early 2016, EPPD investigators trained all patrol officers on what to look for in potential human trafficking cases. The investigators specifically asked the officers to “adjust their lenses” to look at certain situations differently in order to uncover possible crimes. For example, a human trafficking case may look at first glance like a runaway, domestic dispute or curfew violation.

Just weeks after attending the training, two EPPD officers went to the Southwest Transit Station on a call about a runaway. At the station, they met with three people who said their 16-year-old friend, whom they believed had run away from home, was on a bus to a southern state to meet a man. The officers recalled their recent training and felt this might be a human trafficking situation. The officers found the girl at a bus stop in Minneapolis and brought her back to the EPPD. Further questioning and investigation revealed that the girl was intending to work as a prostitute for the man she was meeting.

This was one of the first documented cases of human trafficking in Eden Prairie and it has served as a pivotal training opportunity for EPPD officers and others. Last month EPPD Detective Carter Staaf and EPPD Law Enforcement Analyst Ryan Kapaun gave a presentation on the case at the International Association of Human Trafficking Investigators Conference. They emphasized the importance of educating officers to recognize signs of human trafficking and empowering officers to take quick action.

Since 2016, Eden Prairie has worked with neighboring suburbs on 23 undercover human trafficking details, resulting in 276 arrests and 78 recovered victims. If you’d like to help combat human trafficking, please join us on Saturday, June 22 at 8:30 a.m. at Purgatory Creek Park for the Stop the Trafficking Run. All proceeds from the race will be designated towards organizations working to help sexually exploited youth and women in our surrounding communities.

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