Richfield, 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

Richfield is a city in the greater Minneapolis/St. Paul Minnesota area, with a population of approximately 33,000.  Sex trafficking and prostitution are well-documented local problems.  For example, in 2007 an investigation led to the discovery of an enterprise that brought women from central American and Caribbean countries to Minnesota, and resulted in indictments against 25 individuals.  One of the investigators was killed while working undercover in May 2005, in a confrontation outside a bar, but the investigation continued. The Department of Homeland Security called the 2007 indictments part of an on-going, complex, multi- law enforcement investigation.  The U.S. Attorney on the case said federal officials linked the prostitution ring to activity in 30 states. Eight brothels in Minnesota were located in Minneapolis, Richfield, West St. Paul and Austin. The 25 individuals arrested conspired to lure women from other countries to the U.S. and then to Minnesota, took their passports and then exploited them in sex trafficking.  A decade later in another case, a Hennepin County jury found a Plymouth man guilty in 2018 of four counts against him in a sex trafficking operation that brought Chinese women into Edina and Richfield for commercial sex.  The offender was found guilty of promotion of prostitution, receiving profits from prostitution, and sex trafficking. His operation was described as a highly organized, illegal operation that stretched from coast-to-coast in the United States. Prostitution has also led to tips and complaints from the community.

Among police responses have been efforts to combat consumer-level demand.  The Richfield Police Department has conducted at least two reverse stings, which resulted in the arrest of 23 johns.  The more recent of the operations reported in the media occurred in February, 2013 and resulted in the arrest of 10 sex buyers during a sting along the Interstate 494 corridor, and a 2010 operation led to the arrest of 13 men. In response to the 2010 reversal, the executive director of the Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center, said she believes police stings that target men they suspect of trying to buy sex is the right approach:

“It’s about time we start exposing the men who are creating the demand.  I think that we have to start looking at the men who are creating the demand, because this is in fact a market driven enterprise.”

Key Partners

  • Richfield Police Department

Key Sources

State Minnesota
Type City
Population 33387
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