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Eden Prairie is a city of approximately 65,000 residents in Minnesota, located about 10 miles southwest of downtown Minneapolis in Hennepin County, MN. Prostitution activity has been well-documented in the city and surrounding communities, and in unincorporated areas of Hennepin County. This activity and the problems and ancillary crimes it generates results in complaints to law enforcement agencies from residents and businesses. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market are sex trafficking of both adults and children, child endangerment, drug offenses, and violence committed against people involved in these transactions.
Consumer-level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking, and has therefore been targeted by local law enforcement agencies in their strategy for prevention and response. For example, in September 2019, a multi-agency human trafficking sting was conducted in Eden Prairie. Officers posted decoy ads for commercial sex online, and texted with potential sex buyers who responded to the decoy ad. Ten people were arrested after they responded to the ad and went to an Eden Prairie hotel near Interstate 494 and Flying Cloud Drive, to complete the transaction. All 10 were charged with hiring or agreeing to hire a person for sex, a “gross misdemeanor” that carries a maximum sentence of one year or a fine of $3,000. One person was also charged with interfering with an officer, a misdemeanor, after he tried to run when officers told him he was under arrest. The identities of arrested sex buyers were included in reports by local media outlets.
In August 2022, a 23-year-old Shakopee man was charged with four felony criminal counts, for allegedly attempting to solicit a minor for sex. His arrested was a result of a multi-agency undercover prostitution and child sexual exploitation operation. The offenders charges were as follows: Count I charged him with prostitution for agreeing to hire someone he believed to be ages 13 to 16. Count II charged him with soliciting a child to engage in sexual conduct. Counts III and IV related to using electronic communication to solicit a child to engage in sexual conduct, or engaging or describing sexual conduct with a child. According to reports, Eden Prairie police joined several other law enforcement agencies in the undercover prostitution and child exploitation detail. The man’s identity was publicly disclosed.
In March, 2023, Eden Prairie police played a role in a large reverse sting operation targeting the demand for sex trafficking in Bloomington. Maple Grove and Minnetonka police were also involved. Local police said sex trafficking is an issue that impacts cities due to having interstate access and numerous hotels. They also say the sexually exploited persons are often young victims coerced and manipulated into the trade. Several of the men arrested in the latest in Bloomington had guns, some of whom were prohibited from possessing weapons.
Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:
- https://www.swnewsmedia.com/public_safety/charged-in-eden-prairie-police-prostitution-sting (2019)
- https://www.eplocalnews.org/man-charged-with-soliciting-juvenile-in-undercover-prostitution-operation/ (2022)
Background on Local Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:
- https://www.leg.mn.gov/docs/pre2003/other (1999)
- https://www.swnewsmedia.com/eden_prairie_news/couple-accused-of-running-prostitution-operation-from-neighborhood-homel (2010)
- https://patch.com/minnesota/edenprairie/minneapolis-woman-arrested-for-prostitution-in-eden-prairie (2012)
- https://www.edenprairie.org/Home/Components/News (2012)
- https://www.sctimes.com/seden-prairie-prostitution-court/ (2015)
- http://edenprairieweblogs.org/policedepartment/ (2016)
- https://www.swnewsmedia.com/eden_prairie_news/sex-trafficking-survivors-speak (2016)
- https://www.fox9.com/eden-prairie-police-save-teen-from-arizona-sex-trafficker (2017)
- https://bringmethenews.com/woman-44-charged-in-upscale-prostitution-operation-in-eden-prairie2 (2018)
- https://www.swnewsmedia.com/sex-and-the-super-bowl (2018)
- https://epamrotary.org//notes-from-may-4-2021/ (2021)
- https://bringmethenews.com/charges-sting-catches-savage-middle-school-principal-hire-15-year-old-for-sex (2022)
- https://ccxmedia.org/police-join-other-agencies-in-large-prostitution-sting/ (2023)