Study: NM has highest number of missing, murdered indigenous women | KOB 4
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Study: NM has highest number of missing, murdered indigenous women

Colton Shone
October 12, 2019 05:23 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- Efforts to solve the crisis of missing and murdered indigenous women are gaining steam.

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Kimberly Wahpepah knows this crisis first-hand. She's a Native American woman, and a survivor of sex trafficking on and off the reservation.

“I was trying to get myself out of that position, but I just couldn't," she said.

Wahpehpah, who is now an advocate for other victims, said she was forced into the sex trade after high school by an ex.

A study from the Urban Indian Health Institute has the highest number of missing and murdered indigenous women cases in the country. Seventy-eight cases were reported in 2017.

“Nearly half of the girls missing are under the age of 18. That's one of the problems,” Sharina Baker, an advocate for the cause. “We need to start educating our children younger, educating our adults to talk to our children that this is a problem and they can be a target."

As this crisis gains more attention, more is being done at the federal and state level. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham filled an eight-member task force that is looking into the epidemic. The task force is expected to release a report about their findings in 2020.

“Things are definitely looking encouraging,” said Jodi Burshia, an advocate. We're getting a chance to see this open lines of communication, people are saying that this is very real, so we're seeing some real approaches."
 

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Colton Shone

Copyright 2019 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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