Aanii and Happy New Year!
January offers us a fresh start to focus on our goals and objectives and give way to new opportunities. The Advocacy Resource Center aims to educate our communities about the topics plaguing Indian country. January commences with two critical issues that significantly affect our people. Even if you are not directly affected by these issues, your awareness and ability to recognize the signs of either matter could save someone’s life.
Human Trafficking is often referred to as modern-day slavery. It involves the exploitation of a person for labor, services, or commercial sex. Human trafficking is the business of moving and trading people, often women and children, in exchange for money for forced labor, services, or sexual exploitation. The two most common forms of human trafficking are forced labor and sex trafficking.
Sex trafficking is “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act in which a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age.” (https://www.justice.gov/humantrafficking) Forced labor is defined as “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.” (https://www.justice.gov/humantrafficking)
Anyone can be a victim of human trafficking. However, traffickers prey on those who are vulnerable or in situations that make it easy for traffickers to lure them in with false promises. Individuals who live in poverty, have sustained historical trauma and homelessness, have high rates of involvement with child welfare and foster care, exposure to domestic violence, and struggle with substance abuse issues are the targets of most traffickers.
Many Native Americans experience the factors mentioned above, making them enticing targets for traffickers. A report from humantrafficking.org states that human traffickers victimize Native Americans at rates higher than that of the general population. It is encouraged for everyone to be able to recognize the red flags or signs of human trafficking. Casino employees, truck drivers, hotel employees, and other service industry employees where human trafficking transactions may take place should pay particular attention to the red flags of human trafficking as many times these actions take place right under our noses.
These red flags include but are not limited to:
Physical/Environmental Indicators: Visible bruising, signs of physical abuse, no identification, appearing to be deprived of food and water, not allowed to be unsupervised, scars, mutilation, having a branded tattoo, chronic runaway/truancy/homeless youth, excessive amounts of cash, having goods or services they cannot typically afford, having multiple hotel keys, scripted or restricted communication
Behavioral Indicators: Acting submissive, appearing anxious, having a lack of free will, not being able to look at others, looking down, not being able to speak for themselves, appearing disoriented, under the influence, confused, depressed, nervous, paranoid, or being treated poorly
Additional Indicators: Having several visitors to a hotel room, a young person with a much older boyfriend or girlfriend, language barriers, clothing not appropriate for weather conditions
Again, these are not the only red flags but can be critical indicators that trafficking may be occurring. Therefore, reporting to the proper authority is essential if something appears “off” in a particular situation. Your report can often remain anonymous with a phone call to the police or security.
Your report may save someone’s life.
If you or someone you know is being trafficked, please reach out to local law enforcement or the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888.
Contact an advocate at the Sault Tribe Advocacy Resource Center at 906-632-1808 for support.
The StrongHearts Native Helpline can be reached at 1-844-7NATIVE (762-8483) and has a 24/7 chat line.
January also calls attention to Stalking Awareness. Some may say that stalking is harmless. Stalking is indeed harmful to the victim. Stalking is “a pattern of behavior directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.” According to the SPARC (Stalking, Prevention, Awareness, and Resource Center), a pattern is defined as two or more incidents, though it varies in each state.” Stalking has many forms, and behaviors are not always the same in each case. Stalking behaviors include but are not limited to:
Anyone can be a victim of stalking. Stalking is not limited to specific ethnicities, races, cultures, education levels, or status. Nearly half of Native American women and one in ten men have been stalked in their lifetime, according to the Michigan Victim Advocacy Network (miVAN). Stalkers do not fit one identifiable profile and come from many different backgrounds. Stalkers implement different strategies and reasons for choosing their victims, which led researchers to create a “Stalking Risk Profile,” which has been narrowed down to the following types:
Many victims of stalking are stalked by someone they already know, most often a current or former spouse, acquaintance, friend, or family member. Strangers are also known to stalk someone they’ve never met or have had a brief encounter with.
Strangers make up nineteen percent of stalking cases in the United States, according to SPARC.
Stalking is now a punishable crime in all fifty states. However, extensive documentation of stalking events is required of the victim to help with the prosecution of the stalker. Victims of stalking are encouraged to maintain a “stalking log,” found on the SPARC website at https://www.stalkingawareness.org/documentation-log/.
This log will help record the stalking behaviors once the victim recognizes the behaviors, as many victims are unaware they are being stalked at all. Keep the log updated with dates, times, locations, and photos (if possible) of the stalker in the act to help prosecute the stalker.
Develop a safety plan, alter your daily routine, notify close friends, family, and neighbors of your situation, and ask them not to provide the stalker with information about your routine or plans if he contacts them. Contact the local police, notify them of the situation, and explain your fear.
If you are a stalking victim, the Advocacy Resource Center can assist you with a safety plan and Personal Protection Orders if necessary. For more information about Human Trafficking and Stalking, visit the Advocacy Resource Center’s website at www.arcsaulttribe.com or call the Advocacy Resource Center at (906) 632-1808. National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888 StrongHearts Native Helpline 1-844-7NATIVE (762-8483) Attached is a list of the seven-county service area police departments to contact for immediate assistance.
|Munising Police Department
|301 E. Superior St. Munising, MI 49862
|Munising City Police Department
|100 W. Munising Ave Munising, MI 49862
|Alger County Sheriff’s Department
|101 E. Varnum St. Munising, MI 49862
|Sault Tribe Police Department
|2175 Shunk Road Sault Ste. Marie, MI 49783
|Chippewa County Sheriff’s Department
|325 Court St. #3 Sault Ste. Marie, MI 49783
|Sault Tribe Conservation
|2175 Shunk Road Sault Ste. Marie, MI 49783
|Sault Ste. Marie City Police Department
|401 Hursley Street Sault Ste. Marie, MI 49783
|United States Border Patrol
|208 Bingham Street Sault Ste. Marie, MI 49783
|Department of Homeland Security
|900 Bridge Plaza Sault Ste. Marie, MI 49783
|Michigan State Police Department
|3900 I-75 Business Spur Sault Ste. Marie, MI 49783
|Kinross District Police Department
|4884 W. Curtis Street, Kincheloe, MI 49788
|Kincheloe Police Department
|4657 W. Industrial Park Dr. Kincheloe, MI 49788
|Bay Mills Indian Police Department
|12449 W. Lakeshore Dr. Brimley, MI 49715
|Delta County Sheriff’s Department
|2800 College Avenue Escanaba, MI 49829
|Escanaba Police Department
|1900 3rd Avenue Escanaba, MI 49829
|State Police Post Gladstone
|922 Lakeshore Drive Gladstone, MI 49837
|Luce County Sheriff’s Department
|411 W. Harrie Street Newberry, MI 49868
|Sault Tribe Law Enforcement
|396 North State Street #90 St. Ignace, MI 49781
|Mackinac County Sheriff’s Department
|100 Marley Street St. Ignace, MI 49781
|St. Ignace State Police
|N 430 I-75 St. Ignace, MI 49781
|Marquette County Sheriff’s Department
|236 W. Baraga Avenue Marquette, MI 49855
|Marquette City Police
|300 W. Baraga Avenue Marquette, MI 49855
|Michigan State Police Eighth District HQ
|1924 Industrial Parkway #A Marquette, MI 49855
|Sault Tribe Tribal Law Enforcement
|5698 US-2 Manistique, MI 49854
|Manistique Public Safety
|300 Maple Street Manistique, MI 49854
|State Police Manistique Post
|RR2, Manistique, MI 49854
|Schoolcraft County Sheriff’s Department
|300 Main Street Manistique, MI 49854