13-year-old sex trafficking victim found in Moorhead
Moorhead, MN (WDAY TV) - Authorities today are driving home the fact that prostitution is not a victimless crime, after discovering a 13-year-old girl being sold for sex in Moorhead.
Police say they're seeing more of the crime in the area as human traffickers make their way to the oilfields.
24-year-old Eyeesha Hinton of Minneapolis and 24-year-old Prince Jones of Fargo are in Cass County jail, charged with first degree sex trafficking.
The victim is a 13-year-old girl they brought to Moorhead from the cities.
She'd been listed as a runaway since last month.
One illicit ad, two arrests and a child sold for sex.
A trafficking case has Moorhead police emphasizing that there's nothing "victimless" about prostitution.
David Ebinger/ Moorhead Police Chief: "The stock and trade of prostitution is just a despicable, contemptible, dehumanizing, victimizing thing."
Police say Prince Jones and Eyeesha Hinton were advertising a 21-year-old female on backpage.com, offering prostitution services.
When detectives found the ad, they arranged a meeting with the girl at Super 8 in Moorhead.
It was there they discovered she was just 13 years old - a runaway from Minneapolis.
Brian Melton/ Clay County Attorney: "They worked with her as a victim - as she SHOULD be - to remove her from that situation."
Using GPS cell phone tracking, Moorhead officers found the two suspects at the Grand Inn in Fargo.
Fargo police then arrested them there.
Authorities say they're seeing more human trafficking in the area.
I-94 has become something of a "trunk" between Minneapolis and the oil fields.
Ebinger: "And if you're going to drive in from Minneapolis and go all the way out to the Bakken, Fargo-Moorhead is a pretty good place to stop a pick up a little business on the way."
In this case, they were able to get one girl out of the grip of traffickers.
Ebinger: "She was reunited with family members in the early hours this morning and she's back home. Which... you know, that's why you do this."
Thursday night, we spoke on the phone with a man who says he's the 13-year-old victim's father.
He tells us she was returned to her non-custodial mother, but has already run from home again.