End Trafficking of Native Americans Act

Press release here

Full text of the bill End Trafficking of Native Americans Act of 2018

U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), members of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, today introduced the End Trafficking of Native Americans Act of 2018. This bill addresses some of the gaps between tribal communities and the federal government in combatting human trafficking of Native Americans and Alaska Natives. It would establish an advisory committee on human trafficking comprised of law enforcement, tribal leaders, and service providers to make recommendations to the DOI and DOJ on combatting human trafficking of Native Americans and Alaska Natives. The bill also establishes a Human Trafficking Prevention Coordinator within the Bureau of Indian Affairs to coordinate human trafficking prevention efforts across federal agencies.

“As Nevada’s Attorney General, one of my key missions was to stop the trafficking of innocent women and children and hold traffickers accountable, and I am proud to continue that work in the U.S. Senate” said Cortez Masto. “I have seen firsthand how factors including violence and historical trauma put Native Americans and Alaska Natives at an increased risk of trafficking. 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.”

“Human trafficking is as evil and vile an issue as any other that’s out there. It is a shocking reality that is felt deeply across the state of Alaska, impacting the Alaska Native population in devastating proportion. This legislation will allow for improved national collaboration between various agencies, tribal communities, and local law enforcement to help address human trafficking – with the assurance that an Alaskan will always have a voice at the table,” said Murkowski. “From strengthening our ability to prevent human trafficking to increasing culturally appropriate training and research programs, I am proud to help drive legislation that will help bring an end to trafficking against American Indians and Alaska Natives.”

“The federal government is aware that Native Americans are a population vulnerable to human trafficking, yet there is no comprehensive plan to address it,” said Chairman Chris Spotted Eagle of the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe. “This legislation to bring law enforcement, tribal leaders and service providers together to make recommendations to the Justice Department and the Department of Interior and to establish coordination between those agencies and the Bureau of Indian Affairs is a bridge to that plan.”

“Though we know that anecdotally human trafficking has had a devastating effect on our tribal communities, there seems to be a lack of understanding around how to best address it. This legislation will help to establish a better understanding of this issue as it relates to American Indian and Alaska Native populations in both Indian country and urban settings. We are thrilled that Senator Cortez Masto is placing a high significance on our communities and on our safety. Human trafficking of native men, women and children has for too long gone unaddressed,” said Lucy Simpson, Executive Director, National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center.

The End Trafficking of Native Americans Act is also supported by the Minnesota Indigenous Women’s Sexual Assault Coalition (MIWSAC).

Congressional Resolution Aimed at Creating Awareness on Missing and Murdered American Indian and Alaska Native Women

Press release available press-release-hill-briefing-2_16_17

From the press release:

“Indigenous women go missing twice—once in real life and a second time in the news” said Amanda Takes War Bonnet, Public Education Specialist of the Native Women’s Society of the Great Plains.  War Bonnet was part of a panel during the Moving Ahead In Addressing Violence Against American Indian and Alaska Native Women and Efforts to Address Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls congressional briefing held Feb. 15, to provided legislators and the public with an overview of this urgent issue.  . . .

To help bring attention to these tragic, often undocumented crimes,  Montana Senators Steve Daines and Jon Tester introduced Senate Resolution 60 on Monday, Feb. 13 — a resolution calling for the designation of May 5, 2017 as a “National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls.” Senators James Lankford (OK), Cory Gardner (CO), Al Franken (MN), John Hoeven (ND), and Tom Udall (NM) co-sponsored the resolution. Speaking at the briefing, Sen. Daines noted that May 5th was chosen because it is the birthday of Hanna Harris, a Northern Cheyenne woman who went missing in July 2013 and was found murdered several days later. . . .

Nearly 200 tribal, national, and state organizations have supported the resolution, which calls for designating May 5, 2017 as a day to honor the lives of those missing and murdered and demonstrate solidarity with families that have lost a loved one through violence. Speakers urged participants to contact their Senators and ask them to co-sponsor the resolution.