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Local organization helps sex trafficking victims

Published: Jul. 31, 2021 at 4:35 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 31, 2021 at 6:37 PM CDT
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FAIRMONT, Minn. (KEYC) - According to the state judicial branch, Minnesota has the third highest rate of child sexual exploitation in the country.

Local group Action169 is working to combat sex trafficking, including along Highway 169.

“We are a nonprofit organization that addresses commercial sexual exploitation and problematic substance use and we do that through three main ways,” said executive director Danielle Freitag.

The Fairmont-based organization specializes in faith-based prevention, intervention and restoration services for victims of addiction and abuse.

Action169 aims to educate people about ways to identify and stop exploitation.

Co-founder Jenna De Jong added, “We can decrease vulnerability in the lives of young girls.”

Freitag said, “Methods of recruitment involve force, fraud, coercion and grooming. [They are] much more of a reality than kidnapping is, not that kidnapping can’t happen, but we really need to come into the reality of understanding that grooming is a part of befriending somebody and then preying upon their vulnerabilities, [and it] is part of exploitation.”

The group connects with community members through public speaking engagements, church fundraisers and most prominently, billboards.

Facing Highway 169 commuters traveling north towards Minneapolis is a message that reads, “our daughters: treasured, not a commodity.”

Since it was founded in 2014, Action169 has helped over 400 local victims of the sex industry. Several have found safety at the Rose House, a restoration home that provides resources for recovery.

“It’s truly a place for them to come into restoration and recovery, receive support and any necessary services on their journey,” explained Freitag.

More information can be found here.

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