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Native women and girls targeted for trafficking in North Dakota

Native American women and girls are being targeted for sexual trafficking in North Dakota, U.S. Attorney Timothy Purdon said.

North Dakota has seen an influx of men due to the state's booming energy industry. The growth has led to a rising number of sex trafficking cases, some of them involving Native women and girls.

“You have a vulnerable population in young girls on the reservation,” Purdon told the Associated Press. “My concern is that they could be exploited if organized human trafficking operations gain an inroad here.”

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-North Dakota) has introduced S.1733, the Stop Exploitation Through Trafficking Act of 2013, to address the issue.

"It is my hope that this bill will provide some initial tools that will allow prosecutors to help victims, and stop sex trafficking across the country and on Indian reservations," Heitkamp said in a press release.

In 2012, Dustin J. Morsette, a member of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation was sentenced to 45 years in a sex trafficking case that involved Native women and girls on the reservation.

Get the Story:
Sen. Heitkamp's bill aims to corral sex trafficking (AP 11/30)
As Oil Floods Plains Towns, Crime Pours In (The New York Times 12/1)
Heitkamp pushes plan to establish commission on Indian children (The Fargo Forum 11/28)

Related Stories:
Fort Berthold Reservation man convicted of sex trafficking (4/11)

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