The back story on the Somali sex trafficking case

The Minneapolis Star Tribune has a great article on how the Somali sex trafficking case (first reported here) was pursued over several years and in several states by a pair of dogged investigators.   Here is the lead in:

A feisty prosecutor and passionate cop go after Minnesota-Somali gangs. It took a never-give-up attitude to build the case of a Somali runaway into a massive human trafficking prosecution.

The article begins:

NASHVILLE – “British” and “Moe D” sulked at a table inside courtroom A859. Each wore jail coveralls, their legs shackled.

A St. Paul vice cop faced them in silence while an intense Nashville prosecutor presented rapid-fire reasons why the men should stay locked up pending trial.

They made for something of an odd couple. Investigator Heather Weyker with her long blond hair and passion for this work. Assistant U.S. Attorney Van Vincent with his military-style buzz cut and Tennessee twang.

Nashville, too, seemed an unlikely place to charge mostly Minnesota gang members of Somali descent with selling Minnesota girls for sex. But to those who have worked this complex human-trafficking case that crosses state lines and involves 29 defendants and at least four young victims, Weyker and Vincent are the reason this is a case at all.

“From my perspective, Van and Heather are the heroes of this case,” said Ed Yarbrough, former U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee. “Minneapolis dropped the ball.”

Despite a decision by the U.S. attorney in Minnesota two years ago to not prosecute, Yarbrough said, Weyker never gave up her fight to rescue young girls investigators say were coerced into prostitution and passed around like playthings. Vincent, he said, is a bulldog who plowed through obstacles to build a conspiracy case that could result in life sentences for people who allegedly sold girls for as little as a bottle of brandy.

Read it all, it is fascinating.

For new readers: We have admitted well over 100,000 Somali refugees to the US.   To check out the numbers visit this post, one of our most widely read posts over the last few years.   In FY2010 which ended September 30th the US State Department resettled 4,884 Somalis (here) to towns near you.

Also, after being closed for nearly two years, the US State Department is on the verge of resuming the fraud-ridden family reunification program that admitted as many as 36,000 Somalis fraudulently to the US between 2003 and 2008.  See the latest on new regulations, here.  The State Department is on the verge of re-opening the program.

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