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Human Trafficking Awareness Month Declared on the Navajo Nation

Michael Chow/The Arizona Republic

On Monday, Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye declared January Human Trafficking Awareness Month on the reservation. The tribe joins several U.S. cities and the federal government in efforts to raise awareness about this kind of abuse. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports. 

With the help of schools, law enforcement and community organizations, the tribe’s proclamation is designed to educate the public about human trafficking. Navajo officials will also work with the volunteer organization Navajo Nation Missing Persons, which conducts searches on the reservation, in border towns and online.

No statistics exist for human trafficking on the Navajo Nation, but tribal lawmakers are pushing for a study. A law that went into effect last year allows Navajo officials to prosecute anyone accused of human trafficking on tribal land.

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, one in seven child runaways in the U.S. is likely a victim of sex trafficking. 

Ryan joined KNAU's newsroom as executive producer in 2013. He covers a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Public Media Journalists Association Award winner, and a frequent contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered and national newscast.
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