MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — Five years ago, the Mankato Department of Public Safety began its plan to prevent sex crimes.
The department has taken a three-tier approach to these types of crimes: prevention, educating the community, and enforcement.
In Mankato, officials say the most frequent form of sex trafficking is through online encounters.
“Sex trafficking and sexual exploitation has no boundaries really, per se, because of the use of the internet. I mean, somebody from Minneapolis/St. Paul can be talking or chatting with anyone here in Mankato and they’re only an hour away. So really, anyone that has access to the internet can become a victim,” Mankato’s Department of Public Safety Detective Tom Rother said.
With the sheer number of perpetrators, officials say educating the public is a key part in eliminating the problem.
“We can’t do it alone as police. You know, we’ve got to give people those tools and the education to say ‘OK, if something seems off here and maybe I need to ask more questions as to what is going on in this kids life’,” Rother said.
Next week Rother will present this information and more to the Lifelong Learners at the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota.