Catherine Cortez Masto Wants to Combat Trafficking of Native Americans
More than 56% of American Indian and Alaska Native women experience sexual violence in their lifetimes, according to the National Institute of Justice. Yet, despite this high rate of sexual violence and the known correlation between high rates of sexual violence and trafficking, there were only 14 federal investigations and two federal prosecutions of human trafficking offenses in Indian country from 2013 through 2016. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), members of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, on Thursday introduced legislation to address this. If passed, the End Trafficking of Native Americans Act would establish an advisory committee on human trafficking comprised of tribal, state, and local law enforcement, advocacy organizations, representatives of relevant federal agencies, and at least one Native American survivor of human trafficking to make recommendations to the Departments of Interior and Justice. The bill would also establish a Human Trafficking Prevention Coordinator within the Bureau of Indian Affairs to coordinate human trafficking prevention efforts across federal agencies. “I have seen firsthand how factors including violence and historical trauma put Native Americans and Alaska Natives at an increased risk of trafficking,” said Cortez Masto. “This bill will help coordinate investigation and prosecution efforts between federal agencies and will strengthen partnerships between the federal government, tribal leaders, law enforcement and victim advocates. I will continue to use all resources available to bring traffickers to justice and support Native American and Alaska Native survivors.” More here.