WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar released the following statement today on the indictment of 21 additional individuals involved in an international sex trafficking organization that stretched from Thailand to Minnesota. In October 2016, seventeen others were indicted for their respective roles in the organization which trafficked victims through various U.S. cities across the country, including Minneapolis, from Thailand with the promise of a better life in the U.S.

“The criminals involved in this sex trafficking ring committed heinous acts and preyed and profited upon vulnerable women. I’m grateful to the team of law enforcement officials who continue to work tirelessly to bring these criminals to justice and make sure victims get the support they need.”

Klobuchar is a national leader in the fight to combat human trafficking. Her bipartisan legislation, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, was signed into law in May 2015. The legislation was modeled after Minnesota’s “Safe Harbor” law, which gives incentives for all states to have a safe harbor provision to help ensure minors who are sold for sex aren’t prosecuted as defendants, but are instead treated as victims. When a state passes a safe harbor law, it means that kids sold for sex should be steered towards child protection services, rather than being arrested, charged, or convicted under a state’s criminal laws. In addition to law enforcement provisions, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act helps victims rebuild their lives by using fines and penalties against perpetrators to improve the availability of victim services. In March 2016, Klobuchar and Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) introduced the Stop Trafficking on Planes (STOP) Act that would require training for certain airline industry employees to recognize and report suspected human trafficking to law enforcement. A provision based on this legislation was signed into law in July as part of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act of 2016.