Sex Trafficking

To Get Help, Call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center: 1-888-373-7888

What is Sex Trafficking?

Sex trafficking is when someone sells adults and/or children into servitude to exploit for sex. The trafficker recruits, transports and keeps another person by using force, lies, abuse of power, or giving money. There is a lack of understanding about sex trafficking. It is a modern-day slavery that often involves*:

  • Traffickers who are not always strangers, but can be family members and/or friends.
  • Traffickers using violence and brutality to force the girls/women into servicing 10-15 buyers per day/night.
  • Traffickers treating victims as “property” and allowing them no rights to individual choice or decision making.
  • Traffickers preventing victims from leaving. There is a misconception that victims “choose” this life.

Who is at Risk for Being Sex Trafficked?

The risk factors for being sex trafficked are especially common in Native American communities. These risk factors include*:

  • Age, gender, race
  • History of child abuse/domestic violence
  • Homelessness
  • Poverty
  • Lack of resources or support systems
  • Lack of educational opportunities
  • Unemployment
  • Substance abuse (trafficker can create this problem)
  • Living near natural resource extracting operation (oil, gas, and other extraction)

Sex traffickers have been known to “recruit” at Native American/Alaska Native schools, youth centers, group homes, shelters, and at cultural events like powwows. Victims may be transported from tribal reservations to urban areas, from one tribal land to another, or to “dance” or strip club circuits.

To Get Help

To get help call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, 1-888-373-7888.

For Tribes/Organizations

There are few statistics about sex trafficking in Indian Country, although some are available that show the disproportionate impact the sex trade has on indigenous communities in the US and Canada**:

  • In Hennepin County, Minnesota, roughly 25 percent of the women arrested for prostitution identified as American Indian while American Indians comprise only 2.2 percent of the total population.
  • In Anchorage, Alaska, 33 percent of the women arrested for prostitution were Alaska Native, but Alaska Natives make up only 7.9 percent of the population.
  • In Winnipeg, Canada, 50 percent of adult sex workers were defined as Aboriginal, while Aboriginal peoples comprise only 10 percent of the population.
  • In Vancouver, Canada, 52 percent of the women involved in the commercial sex trade were identified as First Nations, while First Nations people comprise only 7 percent of the general population.

WomenSpirit Coalition (WSC) can help Tribes and other organizations find ways to stop sex trafficking, and bring perpetrators to justice. WSC offers staff training and program development consultation. We help staff and tribal community members to address sex trafficking and offer solutions. Please call us, 360-633-7083.


*Rephrased from information provided by Bonnie Clairmont, Victim Advocacy Specialist, Tribal Law & Policy Institute.

**From Indian Country Today Media Network.