Support for Maintaining Collaborative Efforts with Federal, State, and Private Partners to Combat Human Trafficking in Indian Country

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The National Congress of American Indians
Resolution #PHX-16-078

TITLE: Support for Maintaining Collaborative Efforts with Federal, State, and Private Partners to Combat Human Trafficking in Indian Country

WHEREAS, we, the members of the National Congress of American Indians of the United States, invoking the divine blessing of the Creator upon our efforts and purposes, in order to preserve for ourselves and our descendants the inherent sovereign rights of our Indian nations, rights secured under Indian treaties and agreements with the United States, and all other rights and benefits to which we are entitled under the laws and Constitution of the United States, to enlighten the public toward a better understanding of the Indian people, to preserve Indian cultural values, and otherwise promote the health, safety and welfare of the Indian people, do hereby establish and submit the following resolution; and

WHEREAS, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) was established in 1944 and is the oldest and largest national organization of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments; and

WHEREAS, human trafficking has been identified in numerous federal and academic publications as a modern day form of slavery; and

WHEREAS, while human trafficking effects every community, there is a growing awareness and concern that Native women and girls are particularly vulnerable and are victims of sex trafficking at an alarming rate; and

WHEREAS, the NCAI Policy Research Center issued a Tribal Insight Brief in Spring of 2016 entitled “Human & Sex Trafficking: Trends and Responses across Indian Country” that highlights the health and community consequences of trafficking; shares best practices for identifying and supporting victims; and includes sample tribal trafficking codes and programs; and

WHEREAS, there is a particular concern about the relationship between the extractive industries and sex trafficking that has been articulated in a white paper that was recently published by the American Indian Law Clinic at the University of Colorado Law School of Law on February 4, 2016 entitled Responsible Resource Development and Prevention of Sex Trafficking: Safeguarding Native Women and Children on the Fort Berthold Reservation; and

WHEREAS, this white paper articulates the intersection of sex trafficking and oil and gas development on the Bakken Formation largely located on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation andexamines strategies to address this complex issue that includes: corporate engagement of relevant companies; tribal capacity and coalition building; and remedies contained in the Violence Against Women Act of 2014 and calls for all stakeholders involved in the oil development on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation – federal state, tribal, and public and private companies – to work cooperatively to decisively eliminate sex trafficking of Native women and children; and

WHEREAS, the United States federal government has developed a Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States, 2013-2017 with the plan focusing on providing and coordinating support for victims and aligning all other efforts of the Federal Government to eliminate human trafficking and prevent further victimization…; and

WHEREAS, this strategic plan by the Administration has identified that “No single federal agency has the expertise, resources, or authorization to address fully the needs of human trafficking in the United States; however by polling the diverse efforts of the entire Federal Government and working closely with service providers and allied professionals, great progress can be made in 5 years…;” and

WHEREAS, tribal nations have taken proactive steps to begin addressing this scourge of violence and exploitation impacting our must vulnerable community members such as the Three Affiliated Tribes of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation having enacted their very own human trafficking code (referred to commonly as “Loren’s Law”).

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Congress of American Indians calls on the federal government to ensure greater inclusion of tribal nations in the Federal Strategic Action Plan and continued interagency collaborative efforts along with capacity building for tribal nations; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NCAI calls for continued engagement among federal partners, stakeholders, and tribal communities in orderto truly make the vision of comprehensive, transformative, and sustainable victim service response a reality for victims of human trafficking in Indian Country; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NCAI encourages Indian tribes to consider adopting trafficking codes; training law enforcement about trafficking; hosting discussions in their communities to educate tribal citizens, particularly youth, about recognizing the signs of trafficking and accessing available resources; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that this resolution shall be the policy of NCAI until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.