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Old-fashioned surveillance used to catch alleged sex traffickers

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Seventeen people including several Minnesotans face federal charges related to a sex trafficking operation that extended from Thailand to the United States. 

Federal prosecutors and law enforcement announced the indictment in Minneapolis Wednesday, where they described how traffickers allegedly coerced hundreds of Thai women to come to America on fraudulent visas. 

Once they got here, the women were shuttled between various prostitution houses in cities across the U.S., including Minneapolis. 

Authorities arrested nearly a dozen people in across the country on Tuesday; four are still at large.  

MPR's Phil Picardi spoke with Laura Provinzino, one of the prosecutors on the case. She's an assistant U.S. attorney for Minnesota and head of its human trafficking unit.

Investigators have also set up a hotline for victims to call, at 612-843-8801.