July 12th, 2024

BTPS launch new human trafficking position

By Alejandra Pulido-Guzman - Lethbridge Herald on May 7, 2022.

Submitted photo The Blood Tribe Police launched the first Indigenous policing service-based Human Trafficking Coordinator Position with Sr. Cst. Jennaye Norris.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDapulido@lethbridgeherald.com

The Blood Tribe Police launched the first Indigenous policing service-based Human Trafficking Coordinator Position on National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit People.
BTPS Sr. Cst. Jennaye Norris has been appointed as Human Trafficking Coordinator of the BTPS and said that there was a need for a human trafficking coordinator because the BTPS has been gathering intelligence on the reserve that involved human trafficking with the Blood Tribe Band members, which was concerning to them but they did not have anyone trained on human trafficking.
“I brought this up to our new chief of police, Chief Iron Shirt and he was super on board with it, so he sent me to training for two weeks in Ottawa in February and now we are creating our own First Nations Human Trafficking unit and it is the first in Canada,” said Norris.
During her two week training in Ottawa Norris said she acquired tools and techniques on how to investigate files of human trafficking, what the indicators of human trafficking are, how to help the victims recover and exit the human trafficking life style and what types of needs the victims will have once they exit the lifestyle.
Norris said she has been in the role since she came back from her training but they thought it would be appropriate to announce it on MMIWG2S day.
“It was super important and beneficial to announce that we now have a human trafficking coordinator and working towards getting a human trafficking unit on the MMIWG2S day, because many of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit People quite often go hand and hand with human trafficking,” said Norris.
She said that when people go missing they tend to live a higher risk style which could lead to human trafficking and those are the trends they have seen in the reserve.
Norris explained that at this point her role involves training her fellow officers at the BTPS with the knowledge she acquired throughout her two weeks in Ottawa.
“Once we start to get files to investigate, either myself will take on the file or I will assist other officers in investigating,” said Norris.
She said the fact that they have the first human trafficking position in Canada for a stand alone First Nation police Service is very important for their community because they were seen trends where victims of human trafficking from the reserve did not feel comfortable going to city police services.
“For our program that we created for the human trafficking program, we incorporated the Blackfoot culture into our program and that’s a big step of the victims recovery is getting them back involved in their culture,” said Norris.
She said that is part of the healing that involves their culture is something other police services would not be able to provide the victims and that is one of the reasons they created the program.
“Unfortunately this is a part time position right now as we don’t have funding for a specialized role, so I’m doing it kind of on the side of my desk, as well as on taking calls for service on general duty patrols, so it’s quiet challenging but I’m definitely 100 per cent willing to take on the role,” said Norris.
She said if anyone is interested in providing funding they can contact Chief Brice Iron Shirt at the Blood Tribe Police Services by calling 403-737-3800.

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