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K-State Today

March 31, 2016



American ethnic studies professor presents research at the Society of Applied Anthropologists annual meeting today

By Melisa Posey

book cover

April Petillo, current visiting instructor of American ethnic studies, Native American/indigenous studies emphasis and fall 2016 assistant professor of American ethnic studies, presents on her recently published chapter "Sex Trafficking of Native Peoples: History, Race, and Law" at the Society for Applied Anthropology's annual meeting March 31 in Vancouver, British Columbia.

In general, Petillo's work centers around Indian Country, sex trafficking and what she calls "structural trafficking." As part of a panel for the book, "Applying Anthropology to Gender-based Violence: Global Responses, Local Practices," she questions the changes in the conversation about domestic U.S. trafficking when indigenous girls and women are involved.

Petillo asserts that centering indigeneity in the conversation allows for a more nuanced understanding of the phenomena of sovereign borders, the law and gender-based violence as well as solutions. Her presentation and chapter illustrates the social precarity of indigenous women's lives caused by a particular legal invisibility, which structurally renders Native women's bodies "available for violence." 

In the course of doing so, Petillo brings the ethnoraced history of rape and current U.S. anti-trafficking law into conversation with contemporary Indian Country perceptions to examine domestic U.S. trafficking, Indian Country realities and Native self-determined responses.

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