Prostitution and sex trafficking’s impact on urban communities and how to end the practice in Minnesota is the topic of a public discussion at 6 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 18, the University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center in Minneapolis.
The second in UROC’s Critical Conversations public discussion series, The Impact of Sex Trafficking and Prostitution on Community Health: Reducing Harm, Promoting Healing, will focus on how North Minneapolis and other urban communities can take action steps to end sex trafficking in Minnesota.
Sex trafficking and the prostitution of women and children is a growing concern in the Twin Cities, with Minneapolis named by the FBI as one of the top U.S. cities for trafficking of juveniles.
While Minnesota’s 2011 “safe harbor” legislation is groundbreaking, UROC’s director of research Lauren Martin believes we have far to go. “As a metro area, the Twin Cities is doing a lot of things right,” Martin said. “But I also think the broader community thinks we’re better off than we actually are.”
Martin, who will co-convene the discussion, recently authored a cost-benefit analysis of government-funded intervention in the prevention of early adolescent sex trafficking commissioned by the Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center.
“Lauren Martin’s research shows that prostitution and sex trafficking is tied to poverty, exploitation and lack of choice,” said UROC executive director Heidi Barajas. “This Critical Conversations throws a spotlight on issues surrounding sex trafficking — only by illuminating the issues can communities begin to address the problems.”
The event is produced in partnership with Kwanzaa Community Church’s Northside Women’s Space and the University of Minnesota Center for Integrative Leadership, as part of its yearlong series of events on the local and global impact of human trafficking.
“Kwanzaa’s Northside Women’s Space is co-hosting this Critical Conversation because we see the impact of sex trafficking on our community and seek to foster a broader community dialogue on the issue,” said Pastor Alika Galloway.
The event will feature an overview at 6 p.m., and small and large group discussions from 6:30 to 8 p.m. The event is free and open to the public (including media); however, online registrations atz.umn.edu/oct18criticalconvo have already reached capacity.
UROC’s mission is to link the university in public partnership with urban communities to advance learning, improve quality of life and discover solutions to complex urban challenges. For information visit uroc.umn.edu.