Document Type



Harvard Journal of Law & Gender Online




This paper presents a strategic, solution-based plan as a companion to our recent article, Responsible Resource Development and Prevention of Sex Trafficking: Safeguarding Native Women and Children on the Fort Berthold Reservation, 40 Harv. J.L. Gender 1 (2017). As a second phase of our work to combat the issues of human trafficking and attendant drug abuse on the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation (MHA Nation), we developed a strategic plan to better understand the time, scale, and capacity necessary to address the rising social problems accompanying the boom of oil and gas development there. During our process, we discovered, through multiple engagements with tribes, that similar negative impacts of rapid economic development are occurring throughout the United States. In particular, many tribes are deeply concerned about the rapid increase in human trafficking on and near their reservations coincident with the entrance or re-entrance of the extractive industries.

The paper is a generalized strategic plan for tribes and other stakeholders to consider in combating the social impacts of extractive industry development. Although the plan is designed to be universal in scope and aspires to assist tribes throughout the country, it does not purport to take into account the unique complexities of individual Indian communities. The history, values, and research are examined to develop a process that will best suit a Native approach to each of the solutions presented, informed foremost by our relationship with the tribal community on Fort Berthold, as well as other tribes nationally. A cornerstone of the plan is that services that center on cultural identity and draw upon family connections are a preferred approach for Native peoples. Further, any approach to trafficking of Native women and children must take account of the colonial genesis of trafficking, generational trauma, and other risk factors.