The Gazette’s recent stories on female sex trafficking left out the most important information.
On Sept. 27, The Gazette featured the opening of MSUB Native American Achievement Center, but only noted in the small-print caption that the event photo was, “Jingle dancers wear red in awareness for violence against Native American women.”
Our Canadian neighbors count 4,000 uninvestigated disappearances, abductions into sex trafficking, and murders of Native teens and women where it is called the “the Highway of Tears.” Some U.S. reservations count Native women murders at 10 times the national average. In Billings, adjacent to two reservations, Native women organized an event on these deaths and all they got from the regional newspaper was a picture about their dresses.
An Oct. 2, a Gazette AP feature noted that the federal sex-trafficking hotline “wants to expand ways people can reach the hotline,” yet by despicable omission, the hotline phone number was never shown. The national sex-trafficking rescue hotline is 1-888-373-7888 (or text BeFree to 233733).
Monday, Oct. 9, is a holiday when Billings businesses close to honor Columbus for 1492. After 525 years of abuse, subjugation and contemporary accounts of Columbus’ sex-slavery of Native women, it is time we all say “enough” and treat all people fairly: Report when events focus on murders. Include victim hotline contact info. Say “no” to 500 years of sex slavery, and turn Oct. 9 toward healing and equality by marking Indigenous Peoples Day.