Silence!


Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center 1 Shattered Hearts Full Report, November 2009
Background
The topic of this report is the commercial sexual
exploitation of American Indian women and girls in
Minnesota, including but not limited to 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 human trafficking in
Minnesota. To develop a comprehensive plan for
addressing the complicated issue of trafficking and the
needs of trafficking victims, the commissioner created,
per Minnesota Statute section 99A.7955, the statewide
Minnesota Human Trafficking Task Force. The Task
Force‟s charge is to advise the Commissioner on the
statewide trafficking assessment and on the
commissioner‟s plan to address human trafficking and
prevent future trafficking in Minnesota, assisting in two
statutory actions:
 Collect, share, and compile trafficking data
among government agencies to assess the nature
and extent of trafficking in Minnesota
 Analyze the collected data to develop a plan to
address and prevent human trafficking1
Each year, the Minnesota Office of Justice Programs and
the Minnesota Human Trafficking Task Force, with
input from organizations providing services to trafficked
individuals, produces an annual report to the Minnesota
Legislature and provides training on identifying
trafficking victims, methods for prosecuting traffickers,
methods for protecting the rights of trafficking victims,
and methods for promoting the safety of trafficking
victims.2
As part of its activities to produce the 2007 Human
Trafficking Report, the Office of Justice Programs

1
Office of Justice Programs, (no date). Human trafficking task force. Minnesota Department of Public Safety. Retrieved May 1,
2009 from http://www.dps.state.mn.us/OJP/cj/httf/about.htm
2
Ibid.
In 2007, a long time resident of the
Supportive Housing Program at the
Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource
Center (MIWRC) came into a staff
member’s office, saying she was
looking for a job but no one would give
her a break. The resident was having
trouble completing her GED due to
dyslexia, and had very little useful work
experience. She told the staff member
that the only way she knew how to
make money was to prostitute herself,
and she did not want to go back to
that.
Her story, which she was disclosing for
the first time, was alarming. She had
been pimped out by her mother at the
age of 12 to support the mother’s crack
habit. By the time she was 14 she had
begun to pimp out other young girls to
feed her own drug addiction. At the
point in time when she walked into the
staff member’s office, she had done
hard time in prison, given birth to six
children, and lost custody of them all.
The MIWRC staff member realized that
under current Minnesota law, this
resident was a victim of a federal crime,
the prostitution of a juvenile under the
Trafficking Victims Protection Act
(TVPA).
Rather than being recognized or
protected as a trafficking victim, she
had been criminalized. Today, even
though she has been repeatedly beaten
and sexually assaulted by pimps and
johns, she is ineligible for most
federally-funded services and supports
for victims of physical and sexual
violence because of her prostitution
arrests. And all she wants to know is,
who will ever give her a chance?

Looking Back Woman-Suzanne Dupree blog

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About Looking Back Woman-Suzanne Dupree

Tetuwan Lakota scholar, educator, historian, Sun Dance participant, Cannunpa carrier, cultural & spiritual preservationist, journalist-writer and fraud investigator.
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