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Indigenous-led Research on Sex Trafficking among Native Americans in the Northern Great Plains

Research Team

Principal Investigator: Katie M. Edwards

Co-Principal Investigators: Colette Yellow Robe

Funding Information

Funding Agency: National Institute of Justice (NIJ)

Award Date: Jan 1, 2022

End Date: Dec 31, 2025


This project is designed to  to identify how Native Americans are recruited, groomed and coerced into sex trafficking situations. 

Researchers and Native American organizations and victim-serving organizations will collaborate to document the role community members play in preventing and responding to sex trafficking among Native Americans, and to clarify how Native American survivors of sex trafficking are identified by law enforcement, medical providers and advocates.

Data will be collected from Native American adults who have experienced sex trafficking, either during childhood or adulthood. Additionally, professionals who come into contact with Native American survivors of sex trafficking and tribal community members — for example, family members, friends and teachers — will share their expertise in recognizing and responding to situations of sex trafficking. 

Participating sites include organizations/agencies (on and off tribal lands) that serve Native American survivors of sex trafficking across the Northern Great Plains.

Researchers will examine overall patterns of vulnerabilities and localized differences to craft effective, culturally grounded prevention and intervention efforts at local and regional levels.

Research will be guided by an advisory board comprised of practitioners, advocates and community members, many of whom are Native American. With tribal and advisory board approval, data will be shared via numerous outlets to reach a broad and diverse audience.

Findings will be used to develop culturally grounded interventions to support healing, safety and justice for Native American sex trafficking survivors.

Social, Emotional and Behavioral Well-being

Researchers and Native American groups and organizations are collaborating to identify how Native Americans are recruited, groomed and coerced into sex trafficking situations.
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