In Minnesota, every single county has high school students who have reported sexual exploitation in some form. To combat the growing issue and bring more assistance to rural counties, a new agency, 180 Degrees, is on their way.

From the story on The Daily Yonder: “Students in every county in the state reported sexual exploitation. Finding ways to get services to rural counties is a challenge,” said Dan Pfarr, president and CEO of 180 Degrees, a Minnesota organization that provides support to young people and adults from sexual exploitation. “Lack of nearby services and lack of transportation to the services they need make rural students more vulnerable,” he said.

180 Degrees runs Brittany’s Place, a home for girls under the age of 18 who are being sexually exploited and are in need of shelter services and housing. About 20% of Brittany’s Place clients are from rural areas, Pfarr said.

When young people can’t get to Brittany’s Place or other similar organizations, 180 Degrees has mobile case workers who go to them. Often, law enforcement or the court system will alert the organization that a young person is being sexually exploited. 180 Degrees sends someone to the young person to help them get the resources they need.”

The change in services was made after the release of the Minnesota Student Survey 2019, which showed 1.4% of teens in Minnesota had “traded sex for drugs, alcohol, food or housing.” This percentage included rural areas of the state.

According to the story, Minnesota is administering another student survey this year, which will hopefully bring in more data and help organizations like 180 Degrees assist more students, urban and rural, who have been sexually exploited.

To read the rest of the story on the Yonder, click here.