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‘The lesson is that it can happen anywhere’

Comments of Lake County Commissioner Rich Sve at the Lake County Sex Trafficking Task Force event at the county courthouse Monday.

0 Talk about it

On behalf of the Lake County Board of Commissioners and the residents of Lake County, I have the privilege of speaking to you today.

Last year President Obama declared January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking month. Other legislative strides have been proposed and implemented, from Minnesota Senator Klobuchar's Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking bill to Minnesota’s new Safe Harbor law. Locally, through the efforts of Ms. Hilliard and Ms. Wisch and others, we are gaining awareness of human trafficking.

Also locally, we have elected leaders such as Mayor Bolen, Mayor Shamblin, Supervisor Hoops and the Lake County Board of Commissioners lending their voices, influence and connections to strengthen our laws and our resolve to end this abuse.

Recently we have all been made aware that our own youth are not immune to this terrible act.

In a four-part article in the Star Tribune we were introduced to a victim of sex trafficking from Lake County and learned how she was lured, got caught up in, and was eventually rescued from this slavery.

We read her horrific storyand rejoiced in her rescue and sympathized with her situation, and wish for her a life of normality.

But what is the lesson? The lesson is that it can happen anywhere. It can and has happened in Lake County.

It can happen to our daughters, our granddaughters and our nieces. It can happen to our sons, our grandsons, and our nephews. This crime is not gender specific.

Our first step is to bring awareness to everyone. Be aware that a predator, a john or a victim may live in our own neighborhoods. If you suspect something, report it. Our law enforcement is doing everything it can, but cannot be in all places at all times.

Together we can protect our children and out communities.

Together we can stop this heinous violation of humanity. Thank you.

Rich Sve is the chair of the Lake County Board of Commissioners. He delivered this address at an event to mark the start of Human Trafficking Awareness Month.