Two-thirds of the women interviewed had family members who attended native residential schools.
An article by Peter Edwards in the Toronto Star, page A12, August 24 called, Aboriginal women exploited in Great Lakes sex trade:
On the docks of Duluth, Minn., it’s called “working the boats.”
It means working as a prostitute, sometimes shuffling from bunk to bunk, selling sex to sailors on ships working the Great Lakes.
Some prostitutes are as young as 10, fleeing broken homes in the U.S. and Canada. The average age of entry into the sex trade is 14, according to a 2011 report titled Garden of Truth: The Prostitution and Trafficking of Native Women in Minnesota. And a disproportionate number of Great Lakes sex slaves are impoverished First Nations women and girls.
Co-author Christine Stark recently told the CBC that on this issue, “there is a very strong link between Thunder Bay and Duluth.”
Follow the money: Who really profits in this human trafficking activity according to the Canadian Women’s Foundation?
Prostitutes can generate $280,000 each in annual profits for pimps, Redsky [Project Director] says. “The financial gain is to the trafficker.”
And about those +600 missing aboriginal women that all Canadian provincial premiers want to be investigated by the federal government?
Homelessness and a lack of educational options help explain why some First Nations women are drawn into prostitution, said Kezia Picard, director of policy and research at the Ontario Native Women’s Association.
She notes that some 600 Canadian First Nations women are missing, many of them thought to have been murdered, including some who worked in the sex trade.
The 2011 Garden of Truth report was summarized by the Twin Cities Daily Planet in this way:
The study found that of the 105 women, about half had been victims of sex trafficking, 92 percent had been raped, 84 percent had been physically abused during prostitution, 72 percent had suffered traumatic brain injuries from prostitution, 98 percent were currently or previously homeless, and 39 percent entered prostitution before age 18. In addition, the study found that 62 percent of the women saw a connection between prostitution and colonization.
See Simcoe Grey MP and Status of Women minister, Hon. Kellie Leitch’s position on a national inquiry into these missing and murdered aboriginal women.