Sex Trafficking and Exploitation in Indian Country

September 23 | 10:15 - 11:15 AM | Room 2592

Violence against American Indian women has been well documented, with Native women being the most frequent victims of physical and sexual violence in the United States when compared to other racial and ethnic groups (Pierce & Koepplinger, 2011). Although research about sex trafficking has well encompassed the methods of how victims are recruited and exploited (Baker, Dalla, & Williamson, 2010; Dalla, 2006; Dalla, Xia, & Kennedy, 2003; Greer, 2013; Farley et al., 2011; Johnson, 2012; Kennedy et al., 2007; Kennedy et al., 2012; Pierce & Koepplinger, 2011; Pierce, 2009; Roe-Sepowitz, Hickle, Cimeno, 2012; Roe-Sepowitz, et al., 2011; Williamson & Cluse-Tolar, 2010; Williamson, 2005; Williamson & Folaron, 2003), only a handful of studies have focused on the sex trafficking experiences of American Indian women. This study sought to collect and disseminate new knowledge about sex trafficking among and within American Indian communities in Arizona, and to discover the unique vulnerabilities and intervention needs of American Indian persons. The sample was derived from surveys that were completed from January 2011 through June 2015 by 784 individuals participating in the city of Phoenix Prostitution Diversion Program. Thirty-three (4.4%) of the respondents identified as American Indian. Results demonstrate significant trauma histories and abuse experiences, as well as new insight into the specific vulnerabilities and exploitation experiences of American Indian women. Results and further research plans will be discussed.

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