Report: Native American women victimized in prostitionby Rupa Shenoy, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — A new report sheds light on Native American women in prostitution.
The advocacy group, Minnesota Indian Women's Sexual Assault Coalition, interviewed more than 100 Native women who work as prostitutes.
Nearly all struggled with homelessness. About 80 percent had been sexually abused several times as children. Most said they were initially deceived or tricked into prostitution. Many said they were controlled by a pimp and physically assaulted.
Coalition executive director Nicole Matthews was one of five interviewers for the report.
"One woman commented about how one of the men wanted her to role play as if she were Pocahontas and he was John Smith," Matthews said. "There was another comment that this woman heard, 'I thought we killed all of you.' So these are the types of experiences that the women are facing."
The women in the study told interviewers they had no way to escape prostitution.
"If you have no home, and you have no money, and no man is supporting you or feeding your baby, that's absolutely a trapped feeling. They talk about wanting to get out and wanting to get out immediately, and needing the resources to help them do that," Matthews said.
Matthews recommends more state and federal funds for programs designed specifically for Native American women. She also says many women can't find affordable housing.