Monday, April 3, 2006

Vicious Abuse Cycle & Trafficking in Minnesota

Last month Lamiea Ball and her two teenage sons were arrested for kidnapping and forcing two teenage girls to "ho" for them at their home in St. Paul, Minnesota. Ball and her sons allegedly pistol-whipped, beat, raped, forced into prostitution and locked the 2 girls in a closet. Ball and her sons are now being held on human trafficking and kidnapping charges in Minnesota, a state with one of the worst human trafficking records in the nation.

In a related story, WCCO, a CBS affiliate in St. Paul, reports that Ball's brother, in a phone interview, detailed the horrific childhood of his sister who is now charged with the above crimes. He told of a life of sexual abuse, foster homes, prostitution and of their mother (a prostitute) who was sentenced to 60 years in prison for murdering her 9-year-old daughter's rapist. He says of his sister:
"It's just the cycle repeating itself -- the poverty, the living from place to place. Her decisions have always reflected her economic status. If she would have had [a] break...I think her life would have turned out differently."

Cases like this one, and many other recent cases of sex and labor trafficking in Minnesota spawned the formation of Minnesota Human Trafficking Watch last month, a group that aims to educate the public about trafficking in their state and to encourage tougher state legislation on trafficking. Their site, in partnership with the Minnesota Civil Society, provides excellent educational brochures on trafficking available for download.

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