2016 Recap: Native Hope Hits the Streets to Combat Sex Trafficking

Native Hope joins a young generation of Native Americans who are rising up and fighting for change. Together we took to the streets of Sturgis, SD, during the annual rally—determined to make a difference.

In a quiet office in Chamberlain, SD, a young Native American woman, born and raised on one of the nine American Indian reservations the state is home to, sits and candidly tells Native Hope about her journey in—and out—of sex trafficking.

She tells her story in this video:

Caught in a cycle of meth, family upheaval, financial needs, and low self-esteem, there was no easy way out of the sex trafficking she found herself in. 

"I was strung out on meth...I thought they knew the hurt I had in my heart. They enabled me and fed me. When you are high, there are no emotions. They threatened to take my life...I gave in to them."

Just one story

Thankfully, this young Native woman got out.

But her heartbreaking tale is just one story of the many girls and women on Native American reservations who are trafficked each year. 

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Human trafficking occurs far too often across the state, and in the last few years the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally has led to multiple arrests and indictments as undercover sting operations revealed a dark side to the event.

Last year, Native Hope walked the streets of the Sturgis rally to raise awareness and combat trafficking—talking to locals and tourists alike.

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"Not everything is easy," the young survivor says to other young girls and women. "You're worth it. Don't do drugs! Choose to get out and do it—make your move. The stuff you are going to throw away for this drug...these are not things you can get back—your family, your friends."

"Give yourself a chance," she says as she finishes her story.

So where does hope start?

It starts with young Native Americans dreaming about a brighter tomorrow. It starts with programs and partners like The Pathfinder Center, Sacred Heart Center and Wiconi Wawokiya offering counseling, therapy, and a place for victims to go.

It starts with us spreading the word—sharing the conversation of awareness and hope on social media and with our friends and family.

This August, we are returning to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally for the second year in a row to continue our mission to raise awareness of this very serious issue. Our goal is simple: zero trafficking victims during the Sturgis Rally.  We are actively partnering with local businesses, bike clubs, media outlets, and local law enforcement to arm thousands of people with the knowledge of how they can take action to stop traffickers and help bring them to justice.

Join us!

You can help by spreading the word, volunteering with our team at the rally, or donating to help support our on the ground efforts! 100% of donations will help provide prevention and protection for victims of sex trafficking. Our gift to you, when you donate $35 or more toward our Sturgis outreach, is an authentic Rally Together t-shirt. Together, we can be a powerful force in raising awareness and bringing an end to this dark industry.

Let’s Rally Together to prevent sex trafficking!

Topics: Culture and Identity, Stories of Hope, At Risk Issues

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