Hoeven Helps Lead Bipartisan Letter Urging Administration to Strengthen Response to Domestic Violence, Human Trafficking in Indian Country

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, this week helped lead a bipartisan letter urging Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and Jonodev Chaudhuri, chair of the National Indian Gaming Commission, to strengthen federal officials’ ability to recognize and respond to human trafficking and domestic violence in Indian Country. 

The group stressed the high rate of violent crimes, including intimate partner violence, against Native Americans and called for these agencies to work in cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security and other partners to provide more training and education to employees. This will help agency employees to identify these crimes and connect tribal community members with crime prevention and victim services. The letter can be found here.

“The presence of federal officials across Indian Country could serve as an important resource in our efforts to combat human trafficking,” Hoeven said. “Connecting these federal employees with the training and education they need to recognize and help prevent these crimes against Native Americans is an important step. As chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee, I will continue to advance this and similar efforts to promote greater public safety throughout tribal communities.”

Today’s letter dovetails with Hoeven’s work as chairman to introduce legislation that increases support for tribes under the Crime Victims Fund (CVF). The CVF is funded by fines and penalties paid by convicted federal offenders. This will provide tribal communities greater flexibility to determine what victim services are most needed.

In addition, Hoeven serves on the Senate’s Homeland Security and Appropriations Committees, where he supports state and local law enforcement and service providers’ efforts to combat human trafficking. Hoeven recently cosponsored the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act, bipartisan legislation to ensure justice for victims of sex trafficking and close loopholes that websites like Backpage.com are exploiting in order to knowingly facilitate sex trafficking. The senator also worked to secure a permanent Federal Bureau of Investigation presence in western North Dakota and continues to advance annual funding for law enforcement training, equipment and personnel and victim services through the U.S. Department of Justice.