Preventing and Addressing Human Trafficking
on Indian Reservations for
Tribal Law Enforcement, Legislators and
Social Workers

Commercial Sexual Exploitation ("CSE"), also known as sex trafficking, has been a historic and long-standing problem for Indian Country since first contact. The problem disproportionately affects tribal communities both in urban settings and on Indian lands, and issues such as poverty, chemical dependency, mental illness, housing instability, and child protection involvement all increase the vulnerability of tribal members to CSE and those who would exploit and take advantage of them.

During this information-packed class, our expert will review the history of CSE in Indian Country and the legal issues surrounding jurisdiction, criminal enforcement and response. The instructor will examine critical issues that must be considered when reviewing and writing tribal codes and court rules to respond to the problem, challenges with the various jurisdictions that impact implementation and enforcement, and how tribes can create a multi-systemic response to address the underlying causes and to provide healing for their families.

T O P I C S   I N C L U D E
Background - Historical Context of CSE in Indian Country
  • How colonization introduced CSE and impacted attitudes towards Native American sexuality
Federal Indian Law and Jurisdiction
  • History of Indian law and impacts critical jurisdictional considerations
  • Early tribal sovereignty, reserved rights and political status
  • Tribal powers in relation to state powers
Current Legal Framework - Federal, State and Tribal Anti Trafficking Laws
  • Federal anti-trafficking laws
  • Tribal anti-trafficking laws
  • State anti-trafficking laws, including safe harbor laws
  • VAWA application
  • Tribal Law and Order Act
Commercial Sexual Exploitation in Indian Country
  • Jurisdictional challenges
  • Law enforcement struggles
  • Known statistics
Defining and Identifying "Sex Trafficking"
  • Common myths
  • Recognize how "Industry" of prostitution expresses itself in Indigenous communities, on Indian lands and in urban settings
  • Identify three layers of vulnerability factors that contribute to the risk of involvement in CSE and how they are "recruited"
  • Tactics of traffickers and entry points
  • Underage vs over 18 CSE
  • Multigenerational CSE experiences within families
  • Identifying signs of CSE - hotels, casinos, schools, etc.
Developing a Multi-Systemic Coordinated, Differentiated Response to CSE in Indian Country
  • Prevention - culturally grounded education
  • Trauma-informed service provision
  • Identifying victim needs, legal and non-legal and creating a response
  • Tribal codes and tribal courts and their role in response health services
  • Police
  • Prosecution
Special Issues
  • Foster care and custody issues
  • Family sex trafficking business - how to break the cycle of crime
  • Decriminalization? Is this the answer?
  • International responses to CSE

*Topics subject to change.

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