|IT Based Tactics||✓|
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 sex from minors.
Officers with the Hastings, Minneapolis and St. Paul Police Departments, supported by Homeland Security Investigations and Dakota County Attorney’s Office, placed decoy advertisements suggesting prostitution with minors to a website known for commercial sex sales. Undercover officers then arranged to meet the individual 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.
- Hastings Police Department
- Minneapolis Police Department
- St. Paul Police Department
- Dakota County Attorney’s Office
- Homeland Security Investigations
- Web-Based Reverse Stings with Shaming:
- “6 Men Arrested after Hastings Undercover Anti-Trafficking Operation,” ABC/KSTP-TV 5, September 29 2015.
- “Dakota County Sex Sting Nabs 6 Men,” St. Paul Pioneer Press, September 29 2015.
- “‘Operation Guardian Angel’ Nets Charges; Six Charged in Connection with Solicitation of Minors for Prostitution,” Hastings Star Gazette, September 30 2015.
- “Six Charged in Connection with Solicitation of Minors for Prostitution,” Grand Forks Herald, September 30 2015.
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