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Study: Native American Women Were Sold In Sex Slavery From Lake Superior Ships

Written by Nate

An article from featured Christine Stark, a master’s student from University of Minnesota-Duluth, who conducted a study based on the current sex trafficking issues effecting throughout Lake Superior and the states surrounding it. 

The examination primarily focused on Native American women, who were forced from their reservations into sex slavery off the harbors of Duluth, Minnesota and Thunder Bay, Ontario. 

The research did confirm that ships from Lake Superior were used in the sex trade activities.

Stark speaking at a conference at UCLA School of Law/ Courtesy:

Eager to dip deeper into what happens exactly in the topic, Stark said she wanted to research what really happens on those ships and what goes on afterwards. 

“Hearing from so many Native women over generations talking about the ‘boat whores,’ prostitution on the ships or the ‘parties on the ships,’ this is something that… was really entrenched in the Native community and we wanted to collect more specific information about it,” Stark explained on the CBC radio show Superior Morning. 

Stark’s reports claim that the ships on Lake Superior were used to deliver Native American women, young children, and even babies to be sold for sex. 

The delivery was reported to be from the harbors of Thunder Bay and Duluth. 


Throughout her research and work through the Indian Women’s Sexual Assault Coalition, Stark interviewed hundreds of women involved in the trauma with being part of the Lake Superior trades. 

One interview featured an excerpt on how an Anishinaabe woman left her shelter after a pimp had beaten her badly.  

The pimp turned out to be a wealthy, white male. The report stated that he paid rent, food, and necessities for her and her children, but shipped them for prostitution for ‘other men in other cities.’ 

There is supposedly 600 indigenous women missing or murdered in Canada.

Although Stark’s report was published back in 2013, the Canadian government dismissed a motion to inquire a number of those Natives that have been missing or murdered. 

The article was concluded with a saying of, “To ignore this issue would point to an obvious double standard when it comes to the treatment of Indian women, many of whom are clearly being taken advantage of.” 

The quote means that everyone should take notice and look out for those women and children who are being in danger everyday by trafficking. 

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