Saturday, June 26, 2010

Due Diligence

Among all the horrors that afflict indigenous communities worldwide, the trafficking of women and children for the business of sexual exploitation (prostitution) has to be one of the worst. While this oppression is not limited to indigenous societies, they are particularly vulnerable as their cultures collapse due to the effects of such things as colonization, neocolonization, globalization, environmental degradation and militarism.

Melissa Farley, Ph.D., a CWIS associate scholar based in San Francisco, is someone who has been doing something about this crime against humanity. Her nonprofit Prostitution Research & Education is collaborating with the Minnesota Indian Women's Sexual Assault Coalition to document the harms (starting with colonization and today with cutbacks in urgently needed social supports) and the current needs of Native American women trafficked for the purpose of prostitution.

After years of research documenting harms perpetrated against those in prostitution with an ongoing focus on indigenous women, Farley along with many other groups is seeking accountability from Craigslist for facilitating online trafficking of women and children.

When Farley was doing research in 2006 on domestic and international trafficking in the United States, I helped put her in touch with an expert on the subject my partner Paul de Armond met through the Public Good Project network, who in turn helped make her report to the US State Department's Trafficking in Persons Office a success. At the time, I was duly impressed by Dr. Farley's diligence; that has not changed over time. In 2007, a book, Prostitution and Trafficking in Nevada: Making the Connections, was published which used some of the valuable information our colleague provided her.

Coalition Against Trafficking Women (CATW) and Prostitution Research & Education (PRE) are planning a protest July 8 at the Craigslist San Francisco headquarters. For more information see this announcement.

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