News release: Minnesota Human Trafficking Task Force presented with Organization of the Year Award

News Release
January 27, 2014

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Minnesota Human Trafficking Task Force presented with Organization of the Year Award

The Minnesota Women’s Consortium recognized the Minnesota Human Trafficking Task Force with its Organization of the Year Award. The task force was recognized for its collaborative, comprehensive, multi-disciplinary prevention and intervention strategies to combat human trafficking in Minnesota.

The recognition occurred in St. Paul January 23 at the Minnesota Women’s Consortium’s 34th anniversary. The celebration is a gala honoring the accomplishments of Minnesotans working to advance equity and justice for all women.

“This is a well-deserved award,” said Commissioner of Health Ed Ehlinger. “The Minnesota Human Trafficking Task Force has helped to frame trafficking as a public health issue. It is an important resource for those working on human trafficking that is integrally involved in helping to implement Minnesota’s Safe Harbor/No Wrong Door Model.” A key aspect of the safe harbor model is to serve and help sexually exploited children and youth instead of treating them as criminal offenders.

Additionally, the task force has been instrumental in enacting strong legislation over the past few years to give law enforcement and prosecutors clearer guidance and stronger tools for addressing the problem of human trafficking.

The Minnesota Human Trafficking Task Force was legislatively mandated in 2006 and coordinated by the Department of Public Safety until the mandate sunset, in 2011. The Minnesota Department of Health assumed the coordination of the task force in 2011. Since then, the task force has expanded statewide membership from 60 members to over 350 members. The task force also established six committees and has engaged eight communities, with more on the way, across the state to organize and collaborate around this issue of human trafficking.

The Minnesota Women’s Consortium is the largest statewide network of women’s organizations in the country, with 132 nonprofit organizations and thousands of individuals. It has a long history of providing public policy, advocacy, resources and information that enhance its members’ work and leadership that transforms the lives of Minnesota women and their families.

Media inquiries:
Scott Smith
MDH Communications