2004-05-28 03:39:41 UTC
ST. PAUL (AP) - Ramsey County announced it will create a task force to
fight prostitution in the county's large Hmong community after 10 men
were charged with hiring young Hmong girls for sex.
County Attorney Susan Gaertner said Thursday that prostitution
involving young women or girls has been especially prevalent recently
in the community. She said the girls involved are often runaways.
"The girls in this prostitution ring were children - as young as 12
years old when these crimes occurred," she said.
The men, who were Hmong, were charged as part of an investigation into
a prostitution ring that investigators broke up earlier this year. The
leaders of the ring, Marla Thao and Tha Ying Moua, both of St. Paul,
pleaded guilty earlier this year to promoting the prostitution of
people under 18.
The task force will include schools, social service agencies and law
enforcement departments and will study the link between runaways and
school truancy, and sexual exploitation.