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Navajo Leaders Focus on Human Trafficking

Navajo Leaders Focus on Human Trafficking
January 13
18:20 2022

Navanjo Leaders Focus on Human Trafficking

By John Christian Hopkins

By some estimates, as many as 25 million people – both adults and children – are trapped in some form of human trafficking globally, including in the United States.

“Human trafficking is a serious issue worldwide and for Indigenous peoples,” Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said.

Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer signed a proclamation January 11 recognizing the month as the “Navajo Nation Human Trafficking Prevention and Awareness Month.”

They want to increase awareness and to help to identify and prevent human trafficking within the Navajo Nation and beyond. The proclamation states that trafficking in persons, also known as modern slavery or human trafficking, includes forced labor and sex trafficking.

“(Trafficking) affects all populations, including adults, children, men, women, and all ages and economic classes. Anyone can be affected by these dangerous crimes, so it is important to learn more about human trafficking and to begin educating our children to empower them at a young age,” Nez said.

The Office of the First Lady and Second Lady along with several partners – including Tyesha Wood, a former Crimes against Children detective; Yolanda Francisco-Nez of Restoring Ancestral Winds; Thomas Alberti of the New Mexico U.S. Attorney’s Office; Matthew Holgate, a student of Vanguard University; and the Navajo Nation Division of Public Safety will be providing presentations aimed at preventing human trafficking this month.

“We also recognize advocates, social service agencies, and counselors for providing support to survivors and families, and law enforcement personnel who work to bring offenders to justice,” First Lady Phefelia Nez added. “Together, we can reunite, heal, and restore Navajo communities.”

The Office of the President and Vice President encourages everyone to wear blue during the month of January to recognize and promote “Navajo Nation Human Trafficking Prevention and Awareness Month.”

“We would be extremely honored if our communities were to join us in this effort to bring awareness.” Lizer said. “We also ask everyone to unite in prayer to bring hope and healing to survivors and to prevent human trafficking crimes and activities across the country and the Navajo Nation.”

“We stand with the scripture, Isaiah 61:1, which states ‘to comfort the broken-hearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be set free’,” Second Lady Dottie Lizer said. “We have to build communities that are safe and healthy.”.

If you suspect human trafficking in your community, please call the National Human Trafficking Hotline toll-free at (888) 373-7888 or contact your local law enforcement.

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