Report shows Alaska natives disproportionately victims of human trafficking

Published: Sep. 28, 2017 at 12:37 PM AKDT
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In Anchorage, 1-in-4 homeless youth were victims of human trafficking, of which 42 percent were Alaska Natives – that’s according to a

that Covenant House of Alaska participated in.

Senator Lisa Murkowski appeared on the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs to discuss the impacts of human trafficking of American Indians and Alaska Natives.

Murkowski spoke about how prevalent the issue is in Anchorage relative to more populated cities in the United States.

"Coming out of Anchorage Alaska [there was] more human trafficking than you’re seeing coming out of New York, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Detroit out of Atlanta," she said.

In questioning on the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, Murkowski spoke about the impact trafficking has on victims.

"They will never ever, ever be able to move beyond the trauma and the shame that has come with this as a victim," said Murkowski.

She also discussed the double-edged sword of Alaska’s geographic isolation.

"I’d like to think that sometimes our geography allows us to be far enough away that we are away from the scourge and the evil," Murkowski said. "And yet, I’m just reminded that sometimes we are so far away that they can get away with it. And that cannot be allowed. We must make sure that the light is shown brightly on this and work to eradicate this."

She emphasized progress could be made through collecting better data, developing victim assistance programs for those who have been trafficked, addressing the lack of training among health and law professionals and ending youth homelessness.