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But prostitution busts are not the only way human trafficking cases are developed. A school resource officer can get a tip about girls being recruited or a patrol officer can follow up on suspicious behavior.
“The smaller agencies can’t do these investigations by themselves. When a situation develops in any of these cities, we can call on the people involved on the task force to help,” said Fridley Police Lt. Mike Monsrud.
He’s had officers travel across the country pursuing these investigations.
“One that is nearing completion here, I know there are two [sheriff’s] detectives who worked 12-hour days, six days a week for two-and-half months,” Monsrud said.
In that case, a 27-year-old Fridley man, Napoleon Long Jr., was indicted this month of a federal charge of enticing and coercing a woman to travel to Colorado for prostitution.
The Anoka County attorney’s office has two or three trafficking cases referred to them each year. They often involve multiple defendants and multiple victims.
“They’re unique cases to work. It takes a particular set of skills to communicate well with the victims and get them to trust. It doesn’t come easy and without specialized training,” said prosecutor Paul Young, the Anoka County attorney’s division chief for violent crime. “Training will improve the quality of cases that get referred for prosecution.”
Shannon Prather • 612-673-4804