North Branch is a city in Chisago County, Minnesota, located at the junction of Interstate 35 and Minnesota State Highway 95. The population is roughly 10,000. Prostitution and sex trafficking activity have been well-documented in the city and surrounding communities, and in unincorporated areas of the county. For example, in March 2015 a massage and spa business in North Branch was closed after law enforcement executed a search warrant and arrested three individuals for promoting prostitution. The East Central Drug and Violent Task Force, North Branch Police and Chisago County Sheriff’s Department were quick to start an investigation following multiple complaints about a high number of men observed coming and going from the massage parlor, located on Oakview Avenue. Charges included felony 2nd-degree solicitation and promotion of prostitution. In October, 2016 a man was sentenced to 20 years in state prison for first-degree sex trafficking. Evidence showed 13 different instances of pimping in 2015, in North Branch, Minneapolis, Mille Lacs, Prior Lake, St. Paul and Forest Lake. A state legislature report in 2017 noted that North Branch was one of the cities in Minnesota that had trafficking investigations.
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. In June, 2017, a North Branch man was one of 11 people arrested in an undercover human-trafficking and sex-solicitation sting. The two-day operation — led by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension — used undercover agents to lure suspects who believed they were going to meet with a 13- to 15-year-old child for sex, and targeted online solicitation through social media. Each defendant is charged with one felony count of electronic solicitation of a child (engage in sexual communication). Assisting the BCA were the Anoka County sheriff’s office, Fridley police, Plymouth police and the Dakota County sheriff’s office.
- Anoka County sheriff’s office
- Fridley police
- Plymouth police
- Dakota County sheriff’s office.
- Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension
- https://chisagocountypress.com/ArticleID=20403 (2015)
- https://www.presspubs.com/pine_city/crime/north-branch-massage-closed-after-prostitution-arrest (2015)
- https://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2015/03/17/north-branch-massage-spa-target-of-prostitution-raid/ (2015)
- http://www.fox9.com/news/sex-offender-arrested-for-vandalizing-antisex-offender-sign-in-chisago-county (2015)
- https://www.presspubs.com/forest_lake/news/prostitution-alleged-at-north-branch-business/ (2015)
- https://www.mankeylawoffice.com/blog/2015/04/woman-arrested-during-prostitution-raid (2015)
- http://www.isanti-chisagocountystar.com/crime/police-news/ (2015)
- https://www.rivertowns.net/minnesota-pimp-sentenced-20-years (2016)
- https://www.twincities.com/11-who-thought-theyd-have-sex-with-a-child-caught-in-sting-charges-say/ (2017)
- https://www.nbcmiami.com/Couple-Arrested-For-Forcing-Homeless-Woman-Into-Prostitution-Police (2017)
- https://www.leg.state.mn.us/docs/2017/mandated/170683.pdf (2017)
- https://www.facebook.com/forestlaketimes/posts/a-local-massage-parlor-owner-was-arrested-last-week-for-prostitution (2019)