Missing and Murdered Indigenous
MMIR Intersects with Human Trafficking
(EAGAN, Minn., June 24, 2023) –
“We recognize that the crisis of our Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives (MMIR) intersects with human trafficking and that eradicating violence against Native people hinges upon our ability to educate the public,” said CEO Lori Jump, StrongHearts Native Helpline. “That is why we are embracing a partnership with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Blue Campaign.”
The Blue Campaign is a public awareness campaign created to educate the general public, law enforcement and industry partners to recognize the indicators of human trafficking and how to appropriately respond to possible cases. DHS Blue Campaign works closely with other DHS components and various partners to develop general awareness training, as well as specific educational resources to help reduce victimization of human trafficking.
DHS Blue Campaign and StrongHearts Advertising Campaign
Blue Campaign and StrongHearts’ are collaborating on advertising efforts between the months of July and September 2023 to be distributed throughout the state of Washington. More importantly, StrongHearts and DHS staff will develop training for StrongHearts advocates on best practices when responding to Human Trafficking.
“We are diversifying training for StrongHearts advocates to enable them to better serve the needs of our people,” Jump added. “Washington is a progressive state that has implemented a Missing Indigenous Person Alert (MIPA) as well as launched a cold case unit for missing and murdered Indigenous people. Engaging in this partnership with the DHS will help to eradicate violence against our relatives.”
The DHS partnership expands the reach of StrongHearts by creating another avenue for spreading awareness that culturally appropriate support and advocacy is available for Native Americans experiencing human trafficking, domestic and sexual violence. It’s a collaboration that will open lines of communications between Native centered service providers and our relatives who need help.
The Blue Campaign leverages partnerships with the private sector, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO), law enforcement, and state/local authorities to maximize national public engagement. Blue Campaign’s educational awareness objectives consist of two foundational elements: prevention of human trafficking and protection of exploited persons.
Recognizing Human Trafficking
Human trafficking is an exploitation-based crime against a person that involves force, fraud and/or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act - victims can be any age, race, gender, or nationality. Key indicators can include:
● The person appears disconnected from family, friends, and community.
● The child stopped attending school.
● The person had a sudden or dramatic change in behavior.
● A juvenile engages in commercial sex acts.
● The person is disoriented or confused/showing signs of mental or physical abuse.
● The person may have bruises in various stages of healing.
● The person is fearful, timid, or submissive and shows signs of neglect.
● Someone else seems to be in control of where they go or who they talk to.
StrongHearts Can Help
If you are experiencing domestic violence and/or sexual violence, StrongHearts advocates can help by providing: peer support and advocacy, personalized safety planning, crisis intervention, referrals to Native-centered service providers; and support finding health facilities and crisis centers trained in the care of survivors of sexual assault, general information about jurisdiction, and legal advocacy referrals.
Serving all individuals who reach out for their services regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or any other factor protected by local, state, or federal law, StrongHearts Native Helpline can be reached by calling or texting 1-844-7NATIVE (762-8483) or by online chat at strongheartshelpline.org, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
To report suspected human trafficking, please call DHS tip line at 1-866-347-2423. To get help from the National Human Trafficking Hotline call 1-888-373-7888 or text HELP or INFO to BeFree (233733).