Strib Op/Ed: Enbridge pipeline’s ripple effect: Abuse of women and girls

Wanted to make sure you saw today’s Op/Ed in the Star Tribune: Enbridge pipeline’s ripple effect: Abuse of women and girls: We know that transient workers bring sex trafficking trouble. Women have spoken up, but their voices have been minimized or ignored.

The piece is written by Ann Manning of Minneapolis, director of Women’s Congress for Future Generations and associate director of the Science & Environmental Health Network. In critiquing the Line 3 tar sands pipeline project, her Op/Ed says:

Minnesotans should be fully aware not only of the environmental risks this so-called “good for the economy” project entails, but also the human risks. Large numbers of transient workers, often from out of state, will descend on small Minnesota towns along the pipeline construction route. They are housed in what’s become known as “man camps.”

The workers have no connection to the community, get paid large sums of money and have little to do in their free time. Some will bring trouble, attracting the drug trade, sex trafficking or both. They will pollute the land by day, and women and children by night.

Click on the link above for the full story.

The Line 3 environmental impact statement (EIS) discusses the impact of sex trafficking. The EIS says the impact would fall disproportionately on Native women and girls. See Chapter 11: Environmental Justice section:

Concerns have been raised regarding the link between an influx of temporary workers and the potential for an associated increase in sex trafficking, which is well documented, particularly among Native populations. (National Congress of American Indians Policy Research Center 2016). American Indian and minority populations are often at higher risk if they are low-income, homeless, have a lack of resources, addiction, and other factors often found in tribal communities (MDH 2014).

I appreciate that the Star Tribune ran this piece, though I disagree with the headline “Enbridge pipeline’s ripple effect,” as it seems to minimize the impact of sex trafficking as only a “ripple.” This is an incredibly important issue. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission needs to reject Line 3.

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