Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - Sex trafficking continues to be a problem plaguing the Northland and one community in particular has seen the devastating effects first hand.
On Thursday, the Native American community spoke out about the problems with sex trafficking of women and children on ships in the Twin Ports harbor.
Organizers at Thursday's meeting at Trepanier Hall in Duluth said the problem of trafficking can't be kept silent any longer.
A coalition of Native American women say the problem of sex trafficking in the Indigenous community is larger the many communities know.
People from all communities came together to hear the disturbing reality of sex trafficking in the Duluth harbor and throughout the Northland among Native American women and children.
A panel of speakers and researchers shared personal stories of friends and family members who have been impacted by trafficking in the Twin Ports.
Organizer Reyna Crow said the informal meeting was a way to discuss the problem and give victims a voice.
"I wanted to do this to give the community a chance to speak, mostly and above all, I want people who are affected by this currently to hear this community say, I love you, you are not the criminal here, you are the victim we support you, we want you to come home and we'll do everything we can think of to make sure that you are safe from now on," said Reyna Crow, with Idle No More Duluth.
Organizers say the trafficking doesn't only impact the victim, but their families and the community as a whole.
Research shows that sex trafficking within the Native American community in the Duluth harbor goes back more than fifty years.
The Native Sisters Society along with Idle No More Duluth hope Thursday's meeting will spread the word to the larger Twin Ports community.
The American Indian Community Housing Organization has a shelter available for women victims of sex trafficking and the organization is working on additional resources to aid victims, including children, in the coming months.