Wednesday, September 5

Winnipeg group wants police unit for missing aboriginal women

The killing of a young sex trade worker in Winnipeg has prompted aboriginal groups to call for the creation of a task force dedicated to the cases of murdered and missing women in Manitoba.

The Southern Chiefs' Organization and two grassroots native groups are pressing the government to create a police team like Project Evenhanded in British Columbia and Alberta's Project Kare. Those task forces are looking into the deaths and disappearances of dozens of people, many of whom were sex-trade workers.

"How many more bodies need to be stacked up before there is a comprehensive and appropriate response by both policing institutions and government?'' asked Nahanni Fontaine, director of justice for the Southern Chiefs.

One native group believes more than 40 missing aboriginal women have been the victims of violence in Manitoba. Many of the cases remain unsolved. "

The prevalence and incidence of violence that aboriginal women are experiencing in this city has made Winnipeg one of the 10 hot spots in Canada,'' said Rita Lynn Emerson, executive director of the Mother of Red Nations women's council in Manitoba.

Aboriginal women are more likely than other women to encounter violence and less likely to file a police report about it, said Emerson.

"They are met with skepticism and sarcasm, so the crime becomes normalized.''


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