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November 19, 2012 06:14 PM

U.S. Atty.: Sex Trafficking Real In South Dakota

Sioux Falls, SD

Sioux Falls Police say they are trying to cut down on the demand for prostitution in Sioux Falls following the arrests of seven men who were caught in an undercover online sting.

Authorities say in many cases, women are forced against their will into prostitution, and that’s why they want to be proactive in preventing the crime.

Just in the last week, two men have appeared in federal court in South Dakota for sex trafficking involving children.

South Dakota U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson says the problem of human trafficking is just as real here as it is anywhere in the country.

"There is no community in South Dakota that is immune from human trafficking. With the explosion of the internet, it's incredibly easy now for those pimps to advertise very young girls on the internet. There is a demand for people who want to engage in those acts with young children," Johnson said.

There was evidence of that just last year when Brandon Thompson was sentenced to life in prison for running a sex trafficking ring involving at least ten underage girls, some of them local girls, right out of his apartment in Tea.

"When we're talking about human trafficking, we're talking about situations where vulnerable people have been forced into commercial sex rings so those are the cases we're prosecuting," Johnson said.

Johnson also prosecuted two men last year who answered an online ad as part as an undercover sex trafficking operation in South Dakota because Johnson says the issue is real here.

"What we want to do is go after the supply side when it comes to human trafficking just as much as we want to go after the demand side,” Johnson said. "I don't think there's a community in the United States that's immune to commercial sex trafficking.”

The two men who were just in federal court last week on sex trafficking charges are Carl Campbell and Tajahn Kahlil Clinton; they also face up to life in prison if they are convicted on the charges.

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