Local tribe issues emergency declaration for missing women and suspected human trafficking

KLAMATH, Calif.(KIEM)-The Yurok reservation is confronting what some call a crisis of missing and murdered women.

The tribe has issued an emergency declaration on human trafficking and missing women. The reason is that there have been five instances in the past 18 months where women have gone missing or been killed in the lost coast region.

“The hard things to know is that there are people who specifically target indigenous women because of the complicated laws around us, especially reservations themselves, and that we’re not looked for as much. So I know people specifically target people who look like me and us indigenous people in general,” said Brook Thompson Yurok and Karuk Tribal Member.

The most recent incident involves a 33-year-old mother of two who vanished on the Yurok reservation last October.

“I don’t even know what the feeling is like the stress and the loneliness of having her gone…. I’ve had a family member go missing quite a few years ago, and she wasn’t found until years and years later,” said Brook Thompson.

 The  Yurok tribe says it is working with an indigenous-run research group called The Sovereign Bodies Institute to create California’s first database of such cases.

That’s because officials say disappearances of indigenous women get little attention from the outside world.

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