|MinnPost reports on a forum to address the trafficking of Native women and girls in Minnesota:
Research findings, such as a 2011 report co-authored by master’s of social work student Christine Stark titled “The Garden of Truth: The Prostitution and Trafficking of Native Women in Minnesota,” [PDF] reveal that 92 percent of victims interviewed wanted to escape prostitution, 98 percent of victims had been homeless at some point and 84 percent had been physically assaulted in prostitution. And while the trafficking of Native women and children through the harbor of Duluth, an issue of international trafficking, was more rampant in the past, it continues in smaller numbers to this day.
According to Stark and other members of Thursday’s panel, Native women often enter into prostitution unwittingly: It might be through a party on a ship, it might be through a boyfriend, it might be through simply frequenting a bar. But their background puts them in perhaps the most disenfranchised category in this country when one considers their oppressed history, the physical abuse and stripping of culture in boarding schools, as well as an upbringing that often instills low self-esteem and cultivates vulnerability.
“Part of the reason I started running the boats was the parties,” said panelist Gail Trombley, a survivor of trafficking. “The men would always give you all this attention and make you feel beautiful. … Our culture says that we are to be honored, we carry life, we bear love – I was never taught that. My mother acted as if being Anishinaabeg was something to be ashamed of.”
Get the Story:
Forum on trafficking of Native women prompts conversations, calls for change
Vice: Native women
trafficked across the US-Canada border (08/28)
Research looks into trafficking of Native women
in Minnesota (8/22)