When the Super Bowl took place in Minneapolis early last month, much attention was given to sex trafficking as thousands of visitors descended on the city.
However, the issue didn’t go away just because people went home.
“It’s really important to remember that (sex trafficking) occurs all around us, all the time,” said Rep. Abigail Whelan (R-Ramsey).
A bill she sponsors to address the issue was approved as amended Thursday by the House Health and Human Services Finance Committee and sent to the House Floor.
HF3287 would mandate that every hotel and motel in Minnesota, with the exception of resorts, train its employees how to identify sex trafficking at their establishment within 90 days of hiring them or 120 days after the enactment of the bill.
The bill calls for the Department of Health to consult with the Minnesota Hotel and Lodging Association while it determines what that training would be. However, the training must include what sex trafficking is, as well as how to recognize trafficking victims and activities.
Any costs associated with the training — which is to be conducted annually – are for the hotels themselves to pay, according to the bill.
Lori Paul, communications and development specialist at Breaking Free, relayed her story to the committee, explaining how she was roped into “the life” by a man who pretended to be interested in her romantically. The man took her to a hotel, and although she didn’t say what happened next, she said it made her very happy when the hotel was torn down decades later.
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