Hastings, MN

Tactics Used

Auto Seizure
Buyer Arrests
Community Service
Employment Loss
Identity Disclosure
IT Based Tactics
John School
License Suspension
Neighborhood Action
Public Education
Reverse Stings
SOAP Orders
Web Stings

Hastings is a city of roughly 22,000 residents, situated southeast of Minneapolis and St. Paul in Dakota and Washington counties, Minnesota. In early September 2015, local law enforcement launched a demand-driven investigation aimed at identifying and arresting individuals attempting to purchase access to sexually abuse minors.

Officers with the Hastings, Minneapolis, and St. Paul Police Departments, supported by Homeland Security Investigations and the Dakota County Attorney’s Office, placed decoy advertisements suggesting prostitution with minors to a website known for prostitution. Undercover officers then arranged to meet the individuals who responded to listings at a hotel in Hastings. Each of the men was arrested and charged with attempting to hire “a prostitute between the ages of 13 and 17,” a felony. All of the offenders’ names were publicized in press.

In the days following the operation, DCAO staff convened a press conference, wherein they indicated that the sting was part of a larger state effort– dubbed Operation Guardian Angel— aimed at reducing sex trafficking by targeting sex buyers. According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the initiative reportedly involved at least 14 stings between February 2014 and September 2015.

Key Partners

  • Hastings Police Department
  • Minneapolis Police Department
  • St. Paul Police Department
  • Dakota County Attorney’s Office
  • Homeland Security Investigations
State Minnesota
Type City
Population 21925
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