Old-fashioned surveillance used to catch alleged sex traffickers

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.

Before you go...

MPR News is dedicated to bringing you clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives when we need it most. We rely on your help to do this. Your donation has the power to keep MPR News strong and accessible to all during this crisis and beyond.