The Road 6b - Targeted and Trafficked


Targeted and Trafficked

Screenshot from video. Woman on the left side and the words 'Direct effect of colonization' on the right.

[imagecaption] Screenshot, ‘Native Women Talk Sex Trafficking‘, 2017. Source: Global Citizen. [/imagecaption]

‘While the trafficking of girls and women from Aboriginal communities across BC and Canada is undoubtedly an issue of pressing concern given the heightened risk factors … trafficking must be addressed as part of a legacy of sexualised violence rather than a new issue … Additionally, it must not be divorced from the normalised violence in our communities, nor the sexual exploitation of children and youth, but must be seen as integrally linked to the ongoing project of colonial violence.’

Sarah Hunt (2010)


The road as a space of vulnerability and violence for Indigenous women and girls refers back to the enforced colonial trafficking of Indigenous bodies across borders. Contemporary deaths on roads and highways, Sarah Hunt emphasises, can be traced back to colonial practices.

In the present, these histories are compounded by chronic poverty, the lure of urban life and the increasingly derelict landscapes of rural communities. In exposing the traffic in Indigenous women in the context of Cheyenne River, Jessica Ashley articulates the connection between economic disenfranchisement and human trafficking: ‘Poverty and human trafficking go hand-in-hand, and often, perpetrators target areas with high poverty rates. And on Cheyenne River, the poverty rate is shocking.”

In Tracey Moffat’s acclaimed photographic series, Something More, a young woman’s search for a more fulfilling life away from her rural surrounds finds a brutal end on the road to the city of Brisbane. As Sarah Hunt notes, young Indigenous women and girls are targeted by multiple forms of violence along the road: ‘More overt recruitment into sexual exploitation was also reported by front-line service providers who said that young men from the city were picking up Aboriginal girls walking along rural roads, looking to take them to the city “to party”, which may have lead to sexual exploitation’ (2010).



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