Itasca County, MN

Tactics Used

Reverse stings
Auto seizure
Community service
Public education
Neighborhood action
SOAP orders
John school
Web stings
License suspension

Itasca County is located in northern Minnesota, and its county seat and largest city is Grand Rapids, MN (pop. 11,000) and the county population is roughly 45,000. Prostitution and sex trafficking have been documented in the county.  For example, in February, 2019 two local men were arrested for trying to buy sex with minors.  Among the tactics used to address these problems are those targeting consumer-level demand for commercial sex.  For example, in February, 2021 seven men were arrested during a multiagency sex trafficking operation in northern Minnesota. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) had announced that charges had been filed against seven suspects, all of whom were arrested in Itasca County in February.  The suspects “chatted with undercover agents and investigators on several sex advertisement websites,” and were subsequently arrested when they showed up “at an arranged meeting place for a commercial sex crime.”  The men were charged with solicitation of a person believed to be a minor, and additional charges included 4th degree DWI,  communication of sexually explicit materials to a minor, and carrying a pistol without a permit. All were booked into Itasca and Pennington county jails. The press release did not specify any other details about the suspects or the sting operation itself. Working as part of the Human Trafficking Investigators Task Force, a wide variety of law enforcement agencies participated in the operation, including Homeland Security Investigations. The task force was launched in 2017 with the goal of apprehending “traffickers and those exploiting children for sex.”

Key Partners

  • Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension
  • Human Trafficking Investigators Task Force
  • DHS: Homeland Security Investigations
  • Tribes United Against Sex Trafficking (TRUST) Task Force
  • Itasca County Sheriff’s Office
State Minnesota
Type County
Population 45130
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