News

Indian sexploitation

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Suzanne Koepplinger, director of the Minnesota Indian Women�s Research Center in Minneapolis

Suzanne Koepplinger, director of the Minnesota Indian Women�s Research Center in Minneapolis,

The director of the Minnesota Indian Women’s Research Center (MIWRC) will present a groundbreaking report on the sexual exploitation of American Indian women and girls in Minnesota.

Suzanne Koepplinger's free presentation is noon April 14 in Atwood Memorial Center. Parking is available at the 4th Avenue Parking Ramp.

"Shattered Hearts: The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of American Indian Women and Girls" interprets data from six areas, including 95 MIWRC intake interviews, the 2007 Minnesota Student Survey, the 2006 Wilder
Research study of homelessness in Minnesota, and interviews and meetings with law enforcement and corrections personnel.

Among the findings: 37 of the 95 girls and women (39 percent) interviewed by MIWRC staff reported being victims of commercial sexual exploitation. The interviews were conducted during a six-month period ending June 15, 2009.

An excerpt from the report:

Over the six months that MIWRC screened incoming clients for sex trafficking, whenever one reported trading sex for shelter, food, drugs, money, or something else of value, MIWRC staff asked whether she had ever been arrested for a prostitution-related offense. Overall, 46 percent of those reporting survival sex or prostitution also reported at least one prostitution arrest, and 16 percent had three or more arrests. Of the 25 Native women and girls who met the state definition of a trafficking victim at the time they entered prostitution, 72 percent had been arrested for prostitution one or more times.

Commercial sexual exploitation is defined as the exploitation of a woman’s or girl’s sexuality for financial or other non-monetary gains, in manner that involves significant benefits to the exploiter and violates the exploited person’s human right to dignity, equality, autonomy, and physical and mental well-being, according to the report.

Commericial activities in which the girls and women are involved include street prostitution, escort agencies, massage parlors, brothels, strip clubs, pornography, Internet sex and phone sex.

According to a MIWRC press release, the report may be the first of its kind in the nation to analyze victimization rates for Native females Minnesota.

MIWRC is a Minneapolis-based non-profit organization that provides programs to educate and empower American Indian women, their families and the surrounding community.

Koepplinger is of Canadian Mohawk and European ancestry. She holds a master's degree in the Art of Leadership from Augsburg College, Minneapolis, and is a certified substance abuse prevention specialist.

Koepplinger's presentation is a Women on Wednesday event sponsored by these St. Cloud State entities: Women's Center, American Indian Center, Multicultural Resource Center and Women’s Studies.

The presentation coincides with these St. Cloud State observances: American Indian Education Week and National Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

 

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