Aboriginal People - Unique Vulnerabilities to Human Trafficking

In a report (November 2013) called Phase I – Service and Capacity Review for Victims of Sexual Exploitation and Human Trafficking in Nunavat. Ottawa-based researcher, Helen Roos and her firm Roos-Remillard Consulting Services allege incidents of Inuit families and guardians selling their babies, children, or teenaged youth, sometimes for the purpose of exploitation.

Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Centre’s Shattered Hearts report (November 2009) examines the commercial sexual exploitation of American Indian women and girls, including links to sex trafficking.

In a paper called Trafficking of Aboriginal Women and Girls in Canada, LL.D. candidate Anette Sikka looks at the vulnerabilities of Aboriginal women and girls to domestic human trafficking. Published by University of Ottawa’s Institute on Governance in its Aboriginal Policy Research Series in May 2009, the paper is available here.

Domestic Sex Trafficking of Aboriginal Girls in Canada: Issues and Implications, by Anupriya Seth, and published in the First Peoples Child and Family Review: A Journal of Innovation and Best Practices in Child Welfare (Vol. 3, No. 3, 2007, p. 57-71), looks at how and why aboriginal girls are trafficked in Canada.

The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs booklet Stand Strong: Prevent Human Trafficking; Stop the Sexual Exploitation of First Nations People addresses the issue of the domestic trafficking and sexual exploitation of aboriginal girls and women in Manitoba.

Investigating the Linkages between FASD, Gangs, Sexual Exploitation and Woman Abuse in the Canadian Aboriginal Population: A Preliminary Study by Mark Totten and the Native Women’s Association of Canada, and published in the First Peoples Child & Family Review: An Interdisciplinary Journal Honouring the Voices, Perspectives and Knowledges of First Peoples Through Research, Critical Analyses, Stories and Standpoints and Media Reviews (Vol.5, No. 2, 2010 pp. 9-22).

The Office of the Federal Iterlocutor for Metis and Non-Status Indians issued a Statement of Work to produce a research-based study to explore the issue of Aboriginal sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking in persons in Winnipeg through a gendered lens. Protecting Sacred Lives creates a better understanding of the current realities of sexual exploitation and human trafficking for Aboriginal youth in Winnipeg.

Dawn Martin Hill’s Traditional Medicine and Restoration of Wellness Strategies discusses culturally oriented preventions that promote wellness, and links problems existing among Aboriginal communities to colonization.

Laura Verniest’s Allying with the Medicine Wheel: Social Work Practice with Aboriginal Peoples is for social workers specifically (but may still be relevant for other helping professions). The last four sections (“Client’s Location,” ”Roles of a Social Worker,” “Action Plan for Social Work Practice” and “Conclusion”) are of particular relevance.

Anne Poonwassie & Ann Charter’s An Aboriginal Worldview of Helping: Empowering Approaches discusses how non-Indigenous interventionists are beginning to effectively address the needs of Indigenous people and communities by incorporating Indigenous worldviews into practice. Page 71: “Counselling and Therapy with Aboriginal Clients” is of particular interest.

James Waldram’s Aboriginal Healing in Canada: Studies in Therapeutic Meaning and Practice suggests the need for diversified services and flexible treatment—which may involve the adoption of aboriginal techniques—to promote healing.

Arthur Blue, Wes Darou & Carlos Ruano’s Through Silence We Speak: Approaches to Counselling and Psychotherapy with Canadian First Nations Clients has suggestions for counsellors under the Multi-cultural Counselling Process section: “Counselling with Native Women.”

Bob Joseph is the founder of Indigenous Corporate Training Inc. Their mission is to help organizations and individuals work effectively with Aboriginal Peoples.


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