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Indigenous-led Research on Sex Trafficking among Native Americans in the Northern Great Plains

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $1,000,000)

The purpose of this multistakeholder collaboration (inclusive of researcher-survivor partnerships, tribal communities, victim-serving organizations, and institutions of higher education that serve Native students) is to use an Indigenous-led, community-based participatory action research framework to: (1) identify the ways in which Native Americans are recruited, groomed, and coerced into situations of sex trafficking; (2) elucidate the ways in which Native American survivors of sex trafficking are identified by professionals (e.g., law enforcement, doctors, advocates); and (3) document the role that community members (i.e., bystanders) play in preventing and responding to sex trafficking among Native Americans. Participating sites include organizations/agencies (on and off tribal lands) that serve Native American survivors of sex trafficking across the Northern Great Plains. Methods of data collection will include talking circles and individual interviews (depending on preference) with Native American adults who have experienced sex trafficking in childhood and/or adulthood; professionals who come into contact with Native American survivors of sex trafficking; and tribal community members (e.g., family members, friends). Participants will be recruited via multiple methods (e.g., word of mouth, snowball sampling, flyers, social media). Qualitative data will be analyzed using thematic analysis (for professionals and community members) and phenomenology (for survivors), and subthemes across locale, age of survivor when trafficked, and so forth will be identified. Native American students from institutions of higher education across the Northern Great Plains will work as paid research staff on the project. This opportunity will allow students to learn about conducting community-based participatory action research and potentially inspire them to pursue graduate school in research-related disciplines, areas in which Native American individuals are gravely underrepresented. Our application addresses rural, poverty, and QOZ priorities. With the approval of participating tribes, who will own the data, data will be archived. Further, findings will be shared, in collaboration with tribal partners, via many outlets with diverse audiences (e.g., researchers, law enforcement, policymakers). The findings will be used to create culturally grounded initiatives to prevent the sex trafficking of Native Americans as well as comprehensive, community-wide trainings on how to effectively identify Native American survivors of sex trafficking and link them to culturally grounded, comprehensive systems of care. The findings and the resulting initiatives/trainings will have profound impacts on partnering tribal communities across the Northern Great Plains and serve as the foundation for Ingenious-led research in other areas of the U.S. to prevent and effectively respond to sex trafficking of Native Americans.

Date Created: November 4, 2021