Journey to Wellness in Indian Country: "they think this is our fault"
Two years ago, the Minnesota Student Survey added a question for 9th and 11th graders. Answering the questions is optional, but even so, when asked if they have ever traded sex for something of value, five thousand young people across Minnesota said yes, they have.
And since the trading of "something of value" in exchange for some kind of sexual activity or content, like pictures or video, is the actual definition of commercial sexual exploitation, it's not surprising people who work to stop sex trafficking are concerned.
Sheila Lamb knows this better than most. She was elected to represent Ward 2 on the Cloquet City Council the same year that MN Student Survey was conducted. And as a woman, and an Indigenous woman at that, she sees a lot of overlap between her work for her constituents, her work with trafficked and at-risk youth at Life House, and her appointment to the MN Governor's Missing and Murdered Indigenous Woman Task Force.
A coalition of local agencies including PAVSA (Program to Aid Victims of Sexual Assault), Life House and First Witness have been holding events all month to bring awareness and dispel myths surrounding sex trafficking, and last week, Sheila Lamb was part of a panel talking about the where sex trafficking and missing and murdered indigenous people intersect. Here's Sheila Lamb.
You can read Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Task Force: A Report to the Minnesota Legislature here. It includes the 20 mandates developed by the task force at the request of the Minnesota Legislature.
We'll have links to additional information, including the 20 mandates developed by the Task Force in response to The Minnesota Legislature's requirements for the MMIW Task Force.
They'll be available on our website at kumd.org.