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There is an unfortunate lack of reliable data on the problem of sex trafficking in Indian country. This lack of reliable data is tied to the limited amount of methodologically sound research, articles, and reports on the topic. However, the limited Native-specific research that has been done, and anecdotal evidence, suggest that Native women and girls are overrepresented in the sex industry and that sex trafficking disproportionately impacts Native women and girls. 


A report on the commercial sexual exploitation of American Indian/Alaska Native women and girls in Minnesota, including sex trafficking. In 2006, the Legislature passed Minnesota Statute section 299A.79 requiring the Commissioner of Public Safety to develop a plan to address current human trafficking and prevent future sex trafficking in Minnesota.(2009)

The study provides powerful personal accounts of violence, poverty, survival, and strength by Native women themselves. The study authors stress that these women’s strengths as well as their vulnerabilities must be seen in the context of a history of systematic harm to Native people, racism, poverty, and a lack of housing, healthcare, job, and education opportunities. (2011)

Produced in partnership with St. Paul- based Othayonih Research and funded by the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota, it is the first-of-its-kind study to examine the overall market structure of juvenile sex trafficking as it functions within one city. The project combines interviews, analysis of police data, and a media review. (2014)

This Article details the historical and legal context of sex trafficking from its origin among the colonial predecessors of the US and documents the commercial trafficking of Native women over several centuries. (2010)

This Article argues that because of its historical and ongoing investments in settler colonialism, the Canadian state has long been complicit and continues to be complicit in the human trafficking of indigenous women and girls in Canada. This Article pays particular attention to the Canadian state’s uses of law to enable the trafficking of indigenous women and girls (and indigenous peoples, generally). (2015)

The report--by the International Human Rights Clinic at Willamette University College of Law--focuses specifically on Native populations within Oregon. It’s focus is one of a human rights legal fact-finding report that sets out to measure whether federal, state, and local government officials are meeting their obligations under international, national and state law in prosecuting traffickers, protecting survivors, and preventing trafficking as it involves the Native population in Oregon. (2014)

Creating A Human Trafficking Strategic Plan: To Protect and Heal Native Children and Youth


Created by The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges --This worksheet walks through several questions that prompt participants to make a plan that is in alignment with the needs and abilities of the community. Some things your community will be able to work on immediately. Others will take more time and might give ideas for potential grant applications or other funding requests for the future. Still others will require coordination with non-Native communities and agencies. (2015)

In 2010, large deposits of oil and natural gas were found in the Bakken shale formation, much of which is encompassed by the Fort Berthold Indian reservation, home to the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation (“MHA Nation” or “Three Affiliated Tribes” or “the Tribe”). This paper begins by describing the intersection of sex trafficking and oil and gas development on the Fort Berthold reservation. Next, the paper describes the jurisdictional regime within federal Indian law and other barriers to law enforcement that have created a situation ripe for trafficking and other crime on the Fort Berthold reservation. Third, the paper will examine strategies to address this complex issue including: corporate engagement of relevant companies; tribal capacity and coalition building; and remedies contained in the Violence Against Women Act of 2014. This paper asserts that all of the stakeholders involved in oil development on the Fort Berthold reservation – federal, state, tribal, and public and private companies – must work cooperatively to decisively eliminate sex trafficking of Native women and children. (2016)

The Combating Trafficking, Native Youth Toolkit on Human Trafficking was created by Department of Health and Human ServicesAdministration for Children & Families Office of Trafficking in Persons, and Administration for Native Americans. This toolkit includes a look into What is Human Trafficking, includes Stores of Human Trafficking, Tips for Protecting Yourself, Ways You Can Fight Human Trafficking in Your Community, and Additional Resources on Human Trafficking.

The crime of commercial sexual exploitation, or sex trafficking, is affecting tribal communities everywhere. Tribal child welfare agencies can collaborate with others to create a circle of protection by recognizing the issue and it’s effect on tribal communities, protecting children by incorporating responsive strategies, and preventing future occurrences. The tools, examples, and information compiled here may help agencies better understand the issue while exploring different ways to respond. It’s up to each individual agency to determine how they would like to proceed.

National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) - Human Trafficking Resources


National Indian Gaming Commission is committed to working with tribal gaming operations, organizations, and communities to raise awareness and provide tools to prevent human trafficking. NIGC collaborates with federal, local, and non-profit agencies and entities to offer anti-human trafficking training courses specific to the Indian gaming industry. The NIGC Resources include; Human Trafficking Press ReleaseHuman Trafficking BulletinHuman Trafficking Questions & Answers (pdf), and Human Trafficking Resource Pamphlet.

2023 Human Trafficking Prevention Month Toolkit

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ theme for Human Trafficking Prevention Month 2023 is Partner to Prevent. This is an opportunity to highlight the power of partnerships and collaboration in strengthening anti-trafficking efforts. Preventing human trafficking cannot be accomplished alone; rather, we must build partnerships across all sectors of society to improve the lives of those we serve. When we #Partner2Prevent, we can enhance our efforts to keep everyone safe from human trafficking

Missing and Murdered Native Hawaiian Women and Girls Task Force Report 

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women have published the “Missing and Murdered Native Hawaiian Women and Girls Task Force Report.” This is the first of a two-part report on violence against Native Hawaiian women and girls.

Key findings include:

  • Native Hawaiian women and girls experience violence at rates disproportionate to their population size.

  • More than a quarter of missing girls in Hawaii are Native Hawaiian.

  • The average profile of a missing child in Hawaii is a Native Hawaiian 15-year-old female. 

  • Hawaii has the eighth highest rate of missing persons in the United States

Combating Human Trafficking in Indian Country, A Tribal Judge's Role 

Tribal judges have a special role to play in combatting human trafficking. As of July 2018, few tribes have prosecuted human trafficking cases and even fewer tribal judges have presided over these cases in their courtrooms. Nevertheless, as more law enforcement and prosecutors receive training on bringing these difficult cases, tribal judges will confront these cases on a more regular basis. This is especially true for those tribes that have enhanced sentencing authority under the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010.


This monograph has five main parts. First, it defines “human trafficking.” Second, it provides facts about human trafficking in Indian country or involving Native Americans. Third, it gives tribal judges information about signs they should look for to assess whether human trafficking is likely occurring. Fourth, the monograph provides how tribal judges can effectively respond to suspected human trafficking. Fifth and finally, the monograph provides resources that tribal judges can use to assist human trafficking victims.

Human Trafficking Response Guide for the Tribal Gaming and Hospitality Industry

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Blue Campaign released a human trafficking awareness toolkit tailored to tribal gaming and hospitality professionals. Developed by DHS, the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC), the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), and the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the “Human Trafficking Response Guide for the Tribal Gaming and Hospitality Industry” marks the first interagency partnership on a toolkit for the tribal gaming and hospitality community. 

Created at the request of, and with input from, tribal leaders, tribal gaming employees, and indigenous communities, this toolkit provides culturally appropriate, survivor-informed tips and resources for front line tribal gaming and hospitality employees at all levels, including security, surveillance, and transportation staff; casino gaming attendants; food and beverage staff; housekeeping, maintenance, and room service; and front of house staff. Along with specific definitions and examples of human trafficking, the guide contains printable posters with role-specific indicators of the crime and appropriate reporting information. The ultimate goal is prevention through detection and reporting. 

Working With Your Community to Address Trafficking

Raise awareness of your community members, youth, and their caregivers about how they can help prevent sex trafficking. Find helpful examples that have been successful in other tribal communities in these brief resources, and more on the Tribal Information Exchange Sex Trafficking Prevention page.


Toll Free and Online Hotlines for Crime Victims 

The Office for Victims of Crime has created a list of online hotlines and toll free numbers for direct services for Crime Victims as well as for Information/Referrals for Victims of Crime. 

U.S Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children, Youth and Families (ACYF): Guidance to States and Services on Addressing Human Trafficking of Children and Youth in the United States


Discussing the problem of human sex trafficking of children and youth in the United States and the response and resources that they may need.

National Center for Homeless Education: Supporting the Education of Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness


This website provides useful information on sex trafficking as it relates to children and youth. Some of the resources available include:




Trafficking Policy Research Project


This site collects research and commentary regarding the impact of United States Trafficking Laws and Policies in the United States and internationally.

U.S. Commission on Civil Rights: Sex Trafficking--A Gender-Based Civil Rights violation


This briefing report was created after a panel of experts briefed members of the United States Commission on Civil Rights (“Commission”) on April 13, 2012 to examine the federal government’s response to this issue of human trafficking from a gender-based discrimination perspective. The panelists discussed how the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) does not list trafficking as a major crime category, how the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) does not collect statistics on the scope of trafficking, and how difficult it is to collect and track accurate data on the prevalence of sex trafficking of minors versus adults. Based on that discussion, the Commission developed the findings and recommendations that are included in this report.


Among its findings, the Commission notes that the definitions of what is sex trafficking differ among United States executive agencies and state and local law enforcement authorities. Testimony showed that sex trafficking is clearly a violation of gender-based civil and human rights that enslaves women and girls in commercial sex and is rooted in gender-based discrimination. The Commission also noted that testimony showed that sex trafficking also enslaves men and boys, particularly gay and transgender individuals, in commercial sex and is discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and is also rooted in social exclusion.

The Commission recommends that a model state law on trafficking be developed.


The Commission also recommends that the federal government develop standard definitions of “sex trafficking” and related terms with input from involved federal agencies, state and local law enforcement entities, and the advocacy and scholarly sectors. In addition, the Commission suggests that the FBI should list trafficking as a major crime category; and HHS should collect statistics on the scope of trafficking, including a percentage of victims.



The Crime of Human Trafficking - A Law Enforcement Guide to Identification and Investigation 

This guidebook includes definitions of human trafficking and the various forms of exploitation; distinctions between trafficking and smuggling; dynamics of human trafficking and the traumatic effects upon victims; strategies for victim identification and assistance; methods for effective response and investigation; avenues for legal assistance and visa provisions under federal law; a pocket card for quick reference. 

Law Enforcement Card - Responding to Victims of Sex Trafficking 

The law enforcement card is a tool used to assist law enforcement when responding to victims of sex trafficking. The card includes who, where, what. and how questions. It also includes questions that law enforcement person could ask to identify a sex trafficking victim, needs of victims and helpful reminders, and reasons victims may be reluctant to disclose to responders that they are trafficked. 

SNAPSHOT: Lived Experience Experts  

Fifty-five percent of sex trafficked youth entering “the life” in 2015 met their trafficker(s) through text, website or an app. –“Survivor Insights: The Role of Technology in Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking”. This article was posted as part of the January 2023 Human Trafficking Prevention Month Newsletter by The Child Trafficking Response Team (CTRT) Newsletter. During National Human Trafficking Prevention Month, the efforts of anti-trafficking entities, law enforcement officials, survivor advocates, communities of faith, businesses, and private citizens all around California are celebrated to raise awareness about human trafficking. Input from survivor leaders will be featured throughout this edition as well as during various events this month.

Resources to Strengthen the Child Welfare Response to Human Trafficking

As part of National Human Trafficking Prevention Month, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) has released new resources to help state agencies and community providers strengthen the child welfare response to human trafficking. The resources will equip diverse health and human service professionals, including child welfare workers, with tools to effectively prevent and respond to children and youth at risk for, currently experiencing, or who have experienced human trafficking, particularly those connected to the child welfare system, in foster care, and who have run away or are missing from care.

The Responding to Human Trafficking Through the Child Welfare System training is a new online module delivered through the ACF Office on Trafficking in Persons’ (OTIP) National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Center. This free, accredited, and on-demand training prepares child welfare professionals and related providers to appropriately serve children, youth, and families who may be connected to child welfare systems and is responsive to priority actions outlined in the National Action Plan to Combat Human TraffickingThe training is accompanied by an information memorandum (IM) that elevates resources available to assist states in meeting legal requirements intended to protect children and youth from negative outcomes associated with human trafficking.


20 Years of OVC's Anti-Trafficking Efforts Commemoration Guide - Collaboration, Transformation, and Impact 

The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) is celebrating 20 years of anti-trafficking work! We’ve selected Collaboration, Transformation, and Impact as the theme for this milestone, which underscores the importance of helping human trafficking survivors find their justice by— identifying and assisting all victims of human trafficking; enforcing human trafficking victims’ rights; expanding access to services through victim-centered and trauma-informed programs, policies, and resources; and promoting justice, access, and empowerment for all. In commemoration of January 2023 Human Trafficking Prevention Month, OVC has created this Commemoration Guide, which contains outreach tools and sample materials to help you quickly and capably develop and carry out your anti-trafficking awareness campaign and other public awareness campaigns throughout the year. 

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