Biden orders agencies to combat human trafficking on Native lands

October 7, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden on Monday ordered several Cabinet departments to work together to combat human trafficking and crime on Native lands, where violent crime rates are more than double the national average.

Human trafficking is present in all communities, including tribal communities. While it’s impossible to tell how many people are trafficked because of the hidden nature of the crime, it’s a major problem that tribes confront. According to the United States Department of Justice, “Many have pointed to the overrepresentation of Native women in prostitution and the risk factors for trafficking that Native women and youth face, including prior sexual victimization, poverty, and homelessness, as indicators the problem is significant.” Likewise, the U.S. Government Accountability Office reports that 27 of 132 tribal law enforcement agencies “reported initiating investigations that they considered to have involved human trafficking” between 2014 and 2016.

Speaking at a White House summit on tribal nations on Monday, November 15th, Biden signed an executive order tasking the Justice, Homeland Security and Interior departments with pursuing strategies to reduce crime.

“We have to continue to stand up for the dignity and sovereignty of tribal nations,” Biden said at the first tribal nations summit since 2016. The two-day summit was being held virtually because of the coronavirus pandemic, which has affected Indigenous peoples at disproportionate rates.”

American Indians and Alaska Natives are more than twice as likely to be victims of a violent crime, and Native American women are at least two times more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted compared to other races, according to the Association on American Indian Affairs.

Among the diverse populations affected by human trafficking, indigenous peoples worldwide are at particular risk for both sex trafficking and labor trafficking. Human Trafficking is an

insidious threat that has proven difficult to track and quantify, and exceedingly hard to dismantle.

The tribal nations summit coincides with National Native American Heritage Month and is being hosted by the White House for the first time, with leaders from more than 570 tribes in the United States expected to participate.

Biden recently became the first president to issue a proclamation designating Oct. 11 as Indigenous Peoples’ Day, giving a boost to longstanding efforts to refocus the federal holiday celebrating Christopher Columbus toward an appreciation of Native peoples.

While there is a perception that human trafficking involves international criminals targeting victims living in the developing world, it is commonplace here in the US and in Indian Country. We cannot ignore the networks, pipelines, the victims, or the systems that enable human trafficking any longer! Support us in our fight to end Human Trafficking.

Here at Global Hope 365, we educate city, county, and local lawmakers on human trafficking prevention and increased penalties for offenders.

Support our outreach efforts to support punishing demand legislation to help law enforcement efforts to prevent future human trafficking victims.

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