Father of 13-year-old sex trafficking victim speaks out
Moorhead, MN (WDAY TV) - Officials continue to emphasize prostitution is not a victim-less crime.
And for one Minneapolis father the exploitation of his teenage daughter is personal.
Curtis/ Victim’s Father: “I was crushed. I mean I was concerned about my baby and I was crushed.”
When the victim's father, Curtis, heard his 13-year-old daughter had been a pawn in the complicated sex-trafficking game, he panicked.
Father: “It's the last thing you want somebody doing is taking advantage of your 13-year-old daughter for financial gain.”
The Moorhead sting operation is just a small piece of a much larger problem. And police say it's hard to gauge just how many minors are trafficked through town by pimps and illicit ads.
Lt. Tory Jacobsen/ Moorhead Police: “It really just opens your eyes to the reality that we didn't just use this as a poster example. This was just a sample.”
If I-94 is the lane for human traffickers going West from the Twin Cities, then Fargo-Moorhead could be a considered a pit stop.
Lt. Jacobsen: “The corridor on the interstate here, directly going between the Twin Cities and the corridor, Moorhead is a stop... Fargo is a stop.”
And officials say many of those trafficked minors are vulnerable runaways seeking security.
Father: “By no means does a 13-year-old understand the complications and repercussions of that kind of decision.”
After recovering the teen, officials released her to her non-custodial mother.
The girl ran away again, but is now back safe with her father.
And he says all he can do now is support his daughter and hope she doesn't fall back into another prostitution trap.
Father: “I'm not angry with her, I'm not judging her. It's more important that she's safe and back home.”
The father is seeking counseling for his daughter. And Moorhead police say they'll continue to conduct sting operations.