NEW ULM, Minn.- New Ulm police initiated a sting operation which caught eight people accused of association with a prostitution ring.
The operation to catch those involved in the prostitution ring started on August 20, 2016. The senior investigator Jeff Hohensee said in a press release, “We used a residential setting in a small rural community. We posed as 16 year old girls willing to exchange sexual intercourse or sex acts for money or narcotics.” Investigators used Craigslist and Backpage in order to catch those involved in the prostitution ring.
Among those charged so far were James Robert Wallace (Springfield, MN), Shane Madsen (Sheldon, IA), Franklin Solares (Worthington, MN), and Pedro Mayoral-Gomez (Burnsville, MN). The others caught, and potentially waiting charges, were Jordan Brown, Lawrence Depyper, Joshua Lippert, and Paul Lund Jr.. The Brown and Nicollet County Sheriffs’ Department, the Mankato Department of Public Safety, and the New Ulm and Springfield Police Departments were all involved in the sting operation.
The operation has been part of recent statewide campaign, “Minnesota Girls are Not for Sale,” which is a combined effort between the government and nongovernmental organizations to crackdown on prostitution and trafficking. The campaign started in 2011 under the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota, with $5 million in funding.
A recent report done by the University of Minnesota, “Mapping the Demand: Sex Buyers in Minnesota,” was in part funded by the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota, with the focus of redefining the importance of stopping sex trafficking and prostitution. The Foundation has also been a strong supporter of the efforts by Minnesota’s congressional delegation to enact Minnesota’s Safe Harbor Laws at the national level. These efforts hope to decriminalize and destigmatize the victims of prostitution and sex trafficking and focus government funds instead on cracking down on customers and the pimps within the sex trade.