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DULUTH - It’s a problem plaguing millions of children and women not just globally but right here in the Northland."Officially proclaim January 13th as human trafficking awareness month in the city of Duluth," Duluth Mayor Don Ness said.
Community members gathered to take a bold step in eliminating what some are calling a human rights nightmare.
"It will never be addressed adequately until we have the courage to talk about it openly and to give voice to it being a problem," said Ness.
This problem is women being sold into the sex industry and it’s getting worse.
Globally as many as 30 million women and now being victimized.
"There is a horrible perfect storm right here with runaway girls and predators on the street," St. Louis County District Attorney Mark Rubin said.
According to reports, Minnesota ranks in at number 13 on the list of hot spots for human trafficking in the country.
"We want to reduce the trend here at the front end and not wait until there are bigger numbers,” said Rubin.
The Duluth Trafficking Task Force is calling for more arrests, prosecutions and increased sentences for convicted sex traffickers.
"We say it is time to break the cycle of violence around the trafficking of our women by standing up to the predators that destroy their lives," Duluth American Indian Commission Co-Chair Ricky DeFoe said.
Since most victims can't escape the life of selling their bodies because of fear and nowhere to go, the task force is working on getting more funding for resources and housing.
"These are children in need of protection not juvenile delinquents," said Rubin.
They also want the community to get more involved.
"To be the eyes and ears and to report any and all sexual exploitation they see," said DeFoe.
There was also a healing ceremony in honor of sex trafficking survivors.