Sex trafficking of native women widespread in Minnesota

A report released by the Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center says that American Indian girls in Minnesota are impacted by sex trafficking at disproportionate rates.

The Circle News has an excellent article on the report’s (pdf) findings:

Advocates say the report’s findings cast little doubt that the situation has already become a crisis. In a sample of 95 Native women seeking services from the resource center, 40 percent reported being the victims of commercial sexual exploitation.

Sixty percent of the women surveyed entered prostitution or pornography before the age of 18. And about one-fifth had been sexually exploited before their thirteenth birthday. When the girls become adults, the exploitation often continues. They remain in prostitution, but the law often no longer views them as victims, but as criminals.

What’s more, many of the girls and young women are reluctant to report their victimization. Among those in the report’s sample, “Not one of the 25 American Indian women and girls meeting the state’s legal definition [as a victim of sex trafficking] at intake had presented herself as a sex trafficking victim.”

The also report reveals the underground networks of sex trafficking at bars in Minneapolis and on the boats in Duluth Harbor.

The report identifies internal community factors as well as external influences leading to the victimization of American Indian women. A fracturing of families due to the government’s history of forced relocation, forced sterilization and the murder of native people has had an impact on the ability of families and communities to respond to the issue.

The report states: “Native women experience sexual assault, prostitution, and sex trafficking as a continuation of the colonization process, in which Native women’s sacred selves were routinely exploited for the gratification of a person who claimed the right to do so while ignoring or invalidating the impact on the woman herself. When the assailant, pimp, or john is a white male, the psychological impact on a Native woman is even greater.”


Published in: on December 8, 2009 at 9:41 am  Leave a Comment  
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