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Exploitation occurs when someone uses their power over another person for their own advantage to seek sexual and/or labor acts. This often stems from people in positions of privilege using their social status and standing over younger people (teacher, landlord, probation officers, community leaders, bosses).  This exchange does not necessarily need to be money, but even a place to stay, clothes, drugs, etc.

Exploitation Is Rooted in Power and Control

As with all forms of violence, exploitation is rooted in gaining power and control over another person. It does not require that someone physically forces, physically abuses, or physically restrains you. You’re not in a position to give consent and it doesn’t matter whether or not you’re receiving payment. Being exploited is never a choice or voluntary action.

If you’re a youth under 24 who has been forced into sex work or sexually exploited, there is now No Wrong Door for you in Minnesota. You are the victim of criminal activity and by law, will now receive the healing support you deserve.

Day One can help to find services for victims of exploitation such as:

  • Children and teenagers forced into sex trade
  • Adults age 18 or over involved in commercial sex through force, fraud, or coercion
  • Children and adults forced to perform labor and/or services through force, fraud, or coercion
Exploitation is an umbrella term that covers power being used for labor trafficking, sex trafficking, and sexual exploitation
People and Positions who Hold PowerPeople and Positions at Risk of Exploitation
U.S. Citizen StatusImmigrant or Undocumented Status
Financially StableUnreliable Source of Income
Those with HousingThose Experiencing Homelessness
People without DisabilitiesPeople with Disabilities
Licensed DriversThose Without Licenses or Transportation
Work/School Relationship (Boss/Teacher)Work/School Relationship (Worker/Student)

What is Sexual Exploitation, Sex Trafficking, and Labor Trafficking?

Definitions per Safe Harbor Minnesota

Sexual Exploitation: Sexual Exploitation occurs when someone exchanges sex for anything of value or a promise of something of value such as money, drugs, food, shelter, rent, or higher status in a gang or group. Another person may or may not be involved in arranging this exchange.

Sex Trafficking: Sex trafficking is a type of commercial sexual exploitation that involves the prostitution of an individual in which a third person – not the buyer or the victim – facilitates or profits. MN Statute 609.321-609.322.

Labor Trafficking: Labor trafficking includes debt bondage or forced labor or services. Debt bondage means someone is under another’s control or debt and the debt cannot be paid back with reasonable work due to fraud by the trafficker. MN Statute 609.281-609.282. Labor exploitation involves violations of laws protecting how workers are treated, including how much and when someone is paid, child labor, and health and safety in the workplace.

SAFE Harbor Law and No Wrong Door

Minnesota is responding to exploitation with the Safe Harbor Law and No Wrong Door

Safe Harbor Law: Funded by appropriations from the Minnesota State Legislature, the Safe Harbor Law provides a statewide network of victim-centered, trauma-informed services and safe housing. In the past, if you were under the age of 24 and engaging in sex work, Minnesota law treated you as a criminal. The Safe Harbor Law changed that. Now, youth who engage in sex work or survival sex are seen as victims and survivors (not criminals) and are entitled to shelter and services.

No Wrong Door: It doesn’t matter where you ask for help. You can knock on any door. We can help you and will recognize you as a victim.

Get Help and Support

To find services statewide, call the Minnesota Day One Crisis Line 1-866-223-1111 to speak with an advocate (interpreters are available), text 612-399-9995, or click the CHAT NOW button on this site to connect with an Day One advocate. A Day One advocate is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to assist you.. You can also view the Safe Harbor map, which includes services by region.

If you are in immediate danger, call 911.

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