St. Joseph Discussing New Ordinance to Fight Sex Trafficking
ST. JOSEPH - St. Joseph Police Chief Joel Klein is presenting a sexually oriented business ordinance on tonight (Monday), in hopes that it can combat a rise in calls for sex trafficking in Central Minnesota.
Klein says area Police Chiefs have been discussing the growing issue of trafficking and it's been found that cities need more tools and resources to combat it.
"We work closely with St. Cloud, Waite Park, Sartell and Sauk Rapids because we know there's a growing problem here, we want to have a uniformed front on trafficking and work on it together."
The proposed ordinance going to the council will require anything that's defined as a "sexually oriented business" (adult video stores - strip clubs) to get a permit from the city to operate in town. It also lays out more tools and groundwork definitions to allow attorneys to prosecute sex trafficking crimes. The ordinance is the same to one that Waite Park has already adopted.
The ordinance says sexually oriented businesses have negative secondary effects, including: increased levels of criminal activity, depression of property values and changes to character of surrounding neighborhoods.
However, the city can't prohibit sexually oriented businesses but can identify an area where they would be allowed. Most cities use an industrial area, St. Joseph would likely do the same if the ordinance is adopted.
The background information presented for the proposal adds that since the Motel 6 in Waite Park has closed, some negative activity has now moved out to St. Joseph and surrounding areas.
The ordinance will be presented to the city during their meeting, which starts at 6:00 p.m.