May 20, 2016

Friday News Roundup: Drug addiction on Native American reservation causes sex trafficking increase

Every Friday, Polaris highlights noteworthy human trafficking stories in the media for our readers to check out, share, and respond to. Tell us your thoughts on these stories in the discussion below!

Fueled by drugs, sex trafficking reaches "crisis" on Native American reservation
Thomson Reuters Foundation 5/17/2016
Meth addiction is rising on a Native American reservation in Montana, and addicts are starting to exchange themselves, family members, or friends in order to obtain it. Currently, meth use among American Indians is twice as high as any other population in the United States. When oil industries rushed to the Bakken region during a boom, the presence of drugs grew. Now, the oil workers have left, but the drug problem has not. High rates of unemployment and minimal law enforcement have led to a rise in poverty, violence, and crime: all cycles that contribute to sex trafficking.

The Pushovers
Buzzfeed News 5/12/2016
We know that guest workers are particularly vulnerable to trafficking, and that their traffickers need to be better regulated by the government. But a new Buzzfeed investigation learns that though the Department of Labor often finds violations of the guestworker program, it rarely punishes the employers making them. "Scores of employers have stolen guest workers’ pay, forced them to live in overcrowded or dangerous housing, held them at gunpoint, or even been sent to prison for immigration fraud, yet have been allowed by the Labor Department to continue receiving hundreds or even thousands of H-2 visas."

Human traffickers "using migration crisis" to force more people into slavery
The Guardian 5/19/2016
The European Union police agency reports that nearly 10,000 unaccompanied minors have disappeared after migrating into Europe—and their fear is that many have been lured into human trafficking. As in the United States, children without safe shelter are greatly at risk for sex trafficking. Traffickers are taking advantage of migration routes and persuading hopeful non-EU nationals to apply for resident permits. The EU police specifically points to a link between Nigerian women and sex trafficking in Italy; there has been a "sharp increase" in Nigerian women arriving into the country, and the trafficking of Nigerian women has gone up by 300% each year.

Photo credit: Chris Morris / Flickr


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