UMN group brings awareness to issue of sex trafficking

The campus group has had a series of events to spread awareness of sex trafficking and modern day slavery

Cindy Simba

A University of Minnesota student group is pushing for federal funding for legislation that provides grants to organizations in hopes of cutting rates of modern-day slavery in half.

The group is a chapter of International Justice Mission, a nonprofit organization working to fight sexual violence, police brutality and sex trafficking, among other issues. Members of the group created a petition to pressure the federal government to fully fund the 2016 End Modern Slavery Initiative Act.

In 2003, the Federal Bureau of Investigations identified Minneapolis as one of 13 cities with high incidences of child prostitution.

“I’ve met with sex trafficking victims on this campus,” said Matt Almquist, president of the University IJM.

Though the End Modern Slavery Initiative Act was signed into law last year, it has yet to receive federal funding. The petition asks for the federal government to provide $250 million to start, in combination with money from foreign governments, a foundation to fund international groups fighting sex trafficking.

The group also hosted Sgt. Grant Snyder, lead investigator of the Minneapolis Police Department’s Juvenile Sex Trafficking Team, last week to discuss sex trafficking in Minneapolis.

Additionally, the student group recently partnered with the McCain Institute, a nonpartisan think-tank that will provide funds to help the group provide educational resources on slavery and sex trafficking.