July 26, 2017 | The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs cancelled an oversight hearing: “The GAO Reports on Human Trafficking of American Indian and Alaska Natives in the United States” scheduled for July 26, 2017 which would have examined two separate reports published by the General Accountability Office in 2017. No new date for the hearing has been made available.
The first report, “Human Trafficking: Action Needed to Identify the Number of Native American Victims Receiving Federally-funded Services,” was published in March, and examines Native American human trafficking and recommends that the Department of Justice require its grantees to report the number of Native American victims served. The second report, “Human Trafficking: Information on Cases in Indian Country or that Involved Native Americans,” was published in July and, though it does not make specific recommendations in the report, the GAO found that 27 of 132 (or 20 percent) of tribal law enforcement agencies and 6 of 61 (or 10 percent) of major city law enforcement agencies reported initiating investigations that involved human trafficking of at least one Native American victim from 2014 to 2016.
The reports demonstrate that human trafficking – the exploitation of a person typically through force, fraud, or coercion for such purposes as forced labor, involuntary servitude or commercial sex – is occurring in Indian country.
Intended panelists included Ms. Gretta Goodwin, Director, Homeland Security and Justice Issues, U.S. Government Accountability Office; Mr. Tracy Toulou, Director, Office of Tribal Justice, U.S. Department of Justice; Mr. Jason Thompson, Acting Deputy Director – Justice Services, Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior; Ms. Nicole Matthews, Executive Director, Minnesota Indian Women’s Sexual Assault Coalition; and Ms. Alison Kear, Executive Director, Covenant House, in Anchorage, Alaska.