The proposed construction of the new and expanded Enbridge Line 3 pipeline has raised fears about increasing drug and sex trafficking along the route, particularly sex trafficking of Native women.
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved Line 3’s permits with several conditions. Among them, it required Enbridge to develop a Human Trafficking Prevention Plan.
Enbridge submitted its plan to the PUC May 5. It’s so short and vague it’s hard to tell what if any impact it would have. The PUC staff needs to reject the plan and require Enbridge to start over, if for no other reason than the company failed to follow directions.
The media has rightly criticized President Donald Trump for making up stories to justify his border wall. In addition, it should point out that Trump’s a hypocrite.
Trump has repeatedly told terrifying stories of women being trafficked across the Mexican border into the United States. Yet his administration has yet to provide facts to back him up. And while Trump expresses this deep concern about human trafficking, his administration has actively worked against efforts to address it here in the United States, specifically the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW).
Day Four of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) deliberations on Enbridge Line 3 included concerns about possible civil disobedience after the vote, how law enforcement should respond, and plans to mitigate the sex trafficking and drug problems that can follow these large construction projects. Continue reading →
On Valentine’s Day, a group of more than 60 of us crowded into the Sierra Club North Star Chapter’s offices in Minneapolis to march in solidarity with the numerous Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’s Marches happening in communities in the United States and Canada.
The Sierra Club was asked to help co-sponsor this year’s march by Rene Ann Goodrich of the Native Lives Matter Coalition. This is the fourth year Native Lives Matter has held a march in the Twin Cities and Twin Ports (Duluth/Superior) and the second year the Sierra Club has organized a solidarity march. In addition to the Coalition, co-sponsors included MN350, the Women’s Congress for Future Generations, and Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light.
Winona LaDuke, founder of Honor the Earth, spoke during a brief program at the Sierra Club, saying every indigenous family she knows in northern Minnesota “has someone they have lost.”
Joe Vital, a member of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Oil and Tars Sands Committee, participated in the march. Vital, also a member of the Red Lake band of Ojibwe, commented on how it was odd that some passersby seemed to think the march was something of a parade.
“For many of us, it’s mourning,” said Vital, who has an auntie who is missing. “It’s weird. We’re in solidarity in mourning.” Continue reading →
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.