Mary Annette Pember: Oglala Lakota woman in sex trafficking

"The girl in cobalt blue was completely unexpected—seeing her was like finding a Picasso at a swap meet. She wore high blue-suede boots and a short matching trench coat, cinched tight around her narrow waist. I saw that she was Indian as she brushed past the little knot of drunks trading drinking secrets on that Duluth corner. They too, seemed startled by her beauty and tried vainly to get her attention. She responded with a laugh: “Oh, go away, you old motherfuckers.”

Hearing a woman’s voice, however, she stopped when I called out, “Hey girl!” As she turned and faced me, I saw that she was beautiful. Her classic Lakota features, however, were on the brink of corruption. She had the kind of drunken eyes I know well, having seen them in the faces of my relatives since I was a child. Eyes like those come from too many binges, the kind that last for weeks or months.

I introduced myself and told her of my work writing about sex trafficking. “Well, I can tell you everything about it. Come with me while I gather my things,” she said briskly. There was something authoritative about this regal young woman, so my legs, seeming to have developed a mind of their own, followed her into the adult bookstore. The burly deskmen were too startled to object as we passed by them."

Get the Story:
Mary Annette Pember: That Beautiful Oglala Lakota Girl in the LIVE GIRLS! Booth (Indian Country Today 5/17)

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Mary Annette Pember: Indian girls being exploited in Minnesota (5/16)

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