Navajo Nation, New Mexico partner to raise human trafficking awareness
SANTA FE, N.M. — According to the International Labor Organization, there are approximately 20.9 million victims of human trafficking globally, 26-percent of which are children and 55-percent of which are women and young girls.
Additionally, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reported an estimated one out of six endangered runaways are likely child sex trafficking victims, and between 14,500 and 17,500 people are trafficked into the United States each year.
To help combat this epidemic and continue to raise awareness, a proclamation recognizing January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month was issued by Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, 24th Navajo Nation Council members, New Mexico Indian Affairs Secretary Lynn Trujillo and Deputy Secretary Nadine Padilla Jan. 21.
The event took place at the New Mexico State Capitol in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
“Human trafficking is a very serious issue around the world and more so for Indigenous peoples, including New Mexico tribes. We are proud to partner with Secretary Trujillo to raise awareness throughout the state for our women and children and their families who have been affected by human trafficking. We need to continue working together to end this problem in our communities,” Nez said.
“I am honored to take part in the signing of the Navajo Nation and New Mexico Indian Affairs Department proclamation recognizing January 2020 as Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Thank you to President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer for your efforts to combat and eliminate this epidemic,” Trujillo said. “We would also like to thank First Lady Phefelia Nez for her leadership on this issue and for working as a part of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Task Force for the State of New Mexico. I am confident that together, we can raise public awareness of human trafficking and be the strength for the powerless and the hope of the victims.”
Nez also recognized and thanked the participants of the Diné Missing and Murdered Indigenous People Sunrise Prayer Run that are running from Flagstaff to the capital of the Navajo Nation, Window Rock, Arizona this week.
“This issue ties in with the missing and murdered Diné relatives initiative that the Navajo Nation has raised on the national level. In November, the White House issued an executive order to help address these matters and our administration is optimistic that working together, we can return more of our Diné to their families safely by raising awareness,” said Navajo Nation Vice President Lizer, also in attendance.
Miss Navajo Nation Shaandiin Parrish was recently appointed to serve as a member of the Navajo Nation’s Diné Nihik'éí Nihíí Násdlįi (Reuniting our Relatives) Workgroup, which is led by First Lady Phefelia Nez and Second Lady Dottie Lizer.
“Human Trafficking has beset our communities for too long. Human Trafficking has claimed too many of our family members and our friends. As a newly appointed member to the Navajo Nation Diné Nihik'éí Nihíí Násdlįi (Reuniting our Relatives) Workgroup I thank our President Jonathan Nez and our leadership for working with the New Mexico Indian Affairs Department to recognize this tragedy that plagues our people,” Parrish said.
Information provided by the Office of the President and Vice President
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