In a statement sent to Indian Country Today, Precision wrote, “The two workers were terminated immediately when the company learned they had violated our zero tolerance for illegal behavior.” Enbridge also confirmed that two workers were among those arrested. “Enbridge has zero tolerance for illegal and exploitive behavior,” the company said in a statement emailed to Indian Country Today. “Such behaviors from anyone associated with this project will not be tolerated and are immediate grounds for dismissal.” The sting was conducted February 17-19 in Itasca County by a Human Trafficking Investigators Task Force led by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehensions in coordination with the Tribes United Against Sex Trafficking Task Force, known as TRUST, and the Itasca County Sheriff’s Office. Pipeline opponents have long warned that the Line 3 project would increase incidents of sex trafficking, citing reports that show correlations between extractive industries such as mining and pipeline construction and sex trafficking. A 2019 report by First Peoples Worldwide at the University of Colorado at Boulder and a report by the U.S. State Department have shown that areas in which extractive industries operate experience higher rates of sex trafficking. “We testified in 2016 during the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission hearings that the Line 3 project would absolutely increase sex trafficking,” Lamb told Indian Country Today.
We have currently trained 3,369 employees to spot the red flags and call the National Human Trafficking Hotline. Commit to training yourself and learn about our program here: https://t.co/zoD8hqBYBR— Precision Pipeline, LLC (@PrecisionPL) January 12, 2021
#HumanTraffickingAwareness #TruckersAgainstTrafficking #PrecisionPipeline pic.twitter.com/H6yu1e5hWW
According to the Duluth News Tribune, West said in a statement given at the Itasca County Jail that he worked for Precision Pipeline and had arranged to buy sex because he was 1,000 miles from home. The complaint said that West told officers he learned about the website from rumors at work and began texting an undercover officer posing as an underage girl named “Jasmine.” When he said he did not want to have sex with a minor, the undercover officer arranged for a fictitious older sister to meet him for sex for $100, the newspaper reported. He was arrested when he arrived for the meet-up. Officers found a loaded handgun in his vehicle for which he did not have a permit, the paper reported. Hall also responded to an advertisement, and expressed concerns that Jasmine was reportedly 16 years old, the Duluth News Tribune reported, citing the complaint. He told the undercover officer that he was worried the advertisement was part of a sting, but agreed to meet up anyway. He was arrested after driving several times by the meeting house.
2 arrests in human trafficking sting were Line 3 workershttps://t.co/7iFjYwbvth— Duluth News Tribune (@duluthnews) February 24, 2021
Mary Annette Pember, a citizen of the Red Cliff Ojibwe tribe, is a national correspondent for Indian Country Today. Follow Pember on Twitter @mapember. Based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Pember loves film, books and jingle dress dancing.
This article originally appeared on Indian Country Today LLC, a nonprofit, public media enterprise. ICT does not charge for subscriptions and tribal media (or any media, for that matter) can use the publication’s content for free. Contribute to the nonprofit Indian Country Today.
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