Navajo Nation to focus on human trafficking awareness

Jan 20, 2022, 5:12 PM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 6:18 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – Navajo Nation leaders are drawing attention to a problem most don’t realize is occurring in and around their borders – human trafficking. 

A Utah organization has now stepped in to help protect the Navajo people. 

The group is called Restoring Ancestral Winds. 

It alerts people on the Navajo Nation that human trafficking is a real threat, and there are ways to combat it as a community.  

Navajo Nation President Jonathon Nez proclaimed January Human Trafficking Awareness Month.  

“We affirm our commitment to reunite, heal and restore Navajo families and to end Human Trafficking,” he said.  

A trafficking victim is anyone who is forced, defrauded, and forced into various forms of labor or services.  

 One of the trafficking routes in the U.S goes right through the Navajo Nation.  

The Navajo reservation is spread out across the Four Corners area including Utah’s San Juan County.

“In border towns, you see these fake massage or business parlors. In high tourist season, there are motels that become a point of interest in trafficking,” said Moroni Benally of Restoring Ancestral Winds. 

The Utah-based non-profit organization supports healing in indigenous communities. Benally said survivors need support to get through the trauma, which is genetically passed down from their ancestors, who’ve endured their own losses.  

“If there’s trafficking that’s happened at a community level, it impacts the way the community feels about themselves,” Benally explained. 

Benally says if people feel protected by both public safety and health leaders, they won’t have to suffer in silence. 

“The more that we are able to help them find connection to larger relations and help them remember their place, the more they’re able to heal,” he said.  

The Navajo Nation will hold seminars and discussions on human trafficking and highlight resources people can turn to throughout the month. 

You can watch Benally’s entire presentation here. 

Other Resources: 

-National Human Trafficking Hotline is 1 (888) 373-7888 

-StrongHearts Native Helpline is 1 (844) 7NATIVE 

-Missing and Murdered Diné Relatives https://www.navajommdr.com/ 


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Navajo Nation to focus on human trafficking awareness