In New Mexico 10,765 people are trafficked per day, as reported by StreetSafeNM.org. On January 11, 2017 One Billion Rising Santa Fe joined with many other organization for an awareness walk on the National Human Trafficking Awareness Day in Santa Fe, NM. We gathered in solidarity at a local youth center, Warehouse21 and then walked to the New Mexico State Capitol, the Roundhouse. The event was led by Lynn Sanchez, Director of The Anti-Human Trafficking Network at The Life Link. The New Mexico Attorney General’s Office was also present to say what efforts they are putting forward to combat human trafficking in New Mexico. One of the agent’s present stated that it is important for them to, “Prosecute the trafficker and protect the victim.” As a global coordinator of One Billion Rising here in New Mexico I was honored to lend my voice to speak about solidarity for victims and survivors in New Mexico, and around the globe. “As One Billion Rising Revolution, we call on all sectors to RISE up and demand an end to the exploitation of women and girls here in New Mexico and around the world!” Shelley Repp, Victim Advocate for The Life Link and Spoken For, spoke eloquently about how “It takes a village” to address survivor needs and how we can all work at preventing re-victimization and empowering survivors of human trafficking. The demand for victim of human trafficking is an urgent need in our state to improve wrap-around services and increase funding for those services.d
We were honored to hear testimony from multiple survivors of human trafficking that brought many to tears sharing the traumatic reality that they lived through. Among them was Panvandeep “Vandee” Khalsa who shares her survivorship with others through her creation Rise in Love Foundation. Heather Atsye, Victim Advocate at The Life Link spoke about disenfranchised youth and the benefits of rights-based advocacy and trauma specific services for youth survivors versus incarceration or punishment. Ending the demand for sex trafficking by addressing the traffickers was spoken about by Sophie Andar, Ed.D., M.A., Health Promotion Specialist. Christine Barber, Executive Director of StreetSafe, spoke about the alarming number of human trafficking victims in New Mexico which is significantly higher than the reported statistic.
In New Mexico sex trafficking is considered a nonviolent crime, a fourth-degree felony with an 18-month prison sentence. We demand our legislators list human trafficking and sex trafficking as a violent crime and we demand harsher penalties for traffickers and more funding for victim services. We rise in solidarity against the exploitation of the 10,765 adults and children who are trafficked in New Mexico!