Valerie Taliman: Report outlines trafficking of Native women

"A new report, “Garden of Truth: The Prostitution and Trafficking of Native Women in Minnesota,” offers personal insights into the growing problem of sex trafficking of Native women. Based on interviews with 105 Native women in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth and Bemidji, the report links poverty and frequent violence—including child sexual abuse, rape and beatings—to their journey into prostitution.

The report, released in late October by the Minnesota Indian Women’s Sexual Assault Coalition and Prostitution Research and Education, is the first study to detail the personal experiences of Native women who have been prostituted and trafficked in Minnesota. “Prostitution is only now beginning to be understood as violence against women and children,” says Melissa Farley, founder of Prostitution Research and Education, who co-authored the report. “It has rarely been included in discussions of sexual violence against Native women. The 105 women in this study did not choose prostitution. Instead, prostitution chose them, through a combination of harms perpetrated against them and a lack of escape options.”

A majority of the women experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Almost all have been homeless at some point, and 97 of the women say they want to escape prostitution but believe they have no other options. About half the women interviewed were controlled by pimps or traffickers."

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Valerie Taliman: Minnesota Report Examines Sex Trafficking of Native Women (Indian Country Today 1/17)

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