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Marshall is a city in Lyon County, Minnesota, with approximately 14,000 people. Marshall is a regional center in southwest Minnesota and the county seat of Lyon County. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity has been well-documented in the city and surrounding communities and unincorporated areas of Lyon county. Among the more serious crimes associated with the local commercial sex market is child sex trafficking. Consumer-level demand provides the revenue stream for all prostitution and sex trafficking and has therefore been targeted by local law enforcement agencies as a strategy for prevention and response. To identify and apprehend local sex buyers driving the prostitution and sex trafficking markets, local and regional law enforcement agencies and task forces have conducted at least one reverse sting in the city.
In October 2018, the Brown-Lyon-Redwood-Renville County Drug Task Force, along with Marshall Police Department, coordinated an operation designed to target the demand side of underage sex trafficking in the area. Three individuals were arrested and charged by the Lyon County Attorney’s Office with hiring or agreeing to hire a minor for prostitution. All three men were arrested as a result of an undercover investigation into the online solicitation of a female presented as being a minor. Criminal complaints filed against the men said they each responded to an online advertisement posted by an undercover agent posing as a 15-year-old girl. Each of the three men allegedly offered money for sex acts and arranged to meet the undercover agent at locations in Marshall, including a public park. When they appeared and presented an intent to complete the transaction, they were arrested and taken into custody. Bail for each of the men was set at $25,000 without conditions, or $5,000 cash or bond with conditions including that they stay in Minnesota, abstain from alcohol and drugs, and have no unsupervised contact with female minors. The identities of the three arrested sex buyers were included in press releases. The web-based reverse sting was part of a multi-jurisdictional operation conducted in partnership with the East-Metro Human Trafficking Task Force, Lyon County Sheriff’s Department, Redwood County Sheriff’s Department, Brown County Sheriff’s Department, Redwood Falls Police Department, Lower Sioux Police Department, and other agencies.
In May 2019, one of the men arrested as part of the October 2018 sting in Marshall pled guilty in Lyon County District Court to charges of hiring or agreeing to hire a minor for prostitution. The man received a stay of imposition of sentence and ten years supervised probation, with conditions including that he serve 75 days in jail, complete 120 hours of sentenced service, have no contact with minor females without approval from a probation agent, and not access the internet without approval from probation.
- Brown-Lyon-Redwood-Renville County Drug Task Force
- Marshall Police Department
- East-Metro Human Trafficking Task Force
- Lyon County Sheriff’s Department
- Redwood County Sheriff’s Department
- Brown County Sheriff’s Department
- Redwood Falls Police Department
- Lower Sioux Police Department
Web-Based Reverse Stings, Identity Disclosure:
- http://www.marshallradio.net/Three-Arrested-In-Marshall-For-Soliciting-A-Minor-For-Prostitution (2018)
- http://www.marshallindependent.com/task-force-arrests-3-in-marshall/ (2018)
- https://www.voiceofalexandria.com/three-charged-in-underage-sex-trafficking-investigation-in-marshall-area (2018)
- http://www.nujournal.com/three-arrested-as-part-of-prostitution-sting/ (2018)
- http://www.keyc.com/three-arrested-in-online-prostitution-sting (2018)
- http://www.marshallindependent.com/short-takes-81/ (2018)
- https://www.willmarradio.com/three-men-accused-of-soliciting-teens-for-sex/ (2018)
- http://www.marshallindependent.com/future-hearings-set-for-three-in-marshall-sex-sting/ (2018)
Background on Sex Trafficking and Prostitution in the Area:
- https://www.southernminnesotanews.com/two-southern-minnesotans-face-drug-and-sex-charges-after-undercover-meeting-in-mankato/ (2015)
- https://www.facebook.com/court-cases-against-two-lyon-county-men-arrested-as-part-of-a-prostitution-sting (2017)
- https://hopeharbormn.org/resources (2018)
- http://business.marshall-mn.org/area-sex-trafficking-informational-event-7893 (2018)
- http://www.marshallindependent.com/depyper-sentenced-for-prostitution-charges/ (2018)
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