On Thursday, November 8, Harrah's Cherokee Casino Resort in Cherokee, NC hosted a forum on drug and human trafficking with local law enforcement and social service organizations. Seventy attendees representing 17 organizations from across Western North Carolina gathered for the event. The intertwined issues of drug and human trafficking effect the entire country as well as our rural and seemingly isolated communities.
The meeting was led by Dr. Halleh Seddighzadeh, an international counter-trafficking advisor and Forensic Traumatologist. She has worked in refugee settings, war torn and crisis-affected communities with child and adult survivors of trafficking and torture in the Middle East doing psychological first aid and investigative research. Dr. Seddighzadeh frequently provides consultation and training to law enforcement agencies, service providers, faith-based organizations, prosecutors, investigators, medical practitioners as well as international and domestic businesses on trauma-sensitive best practices.
It was the first forum of this nature in Western North Carolina. Attendees included the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) Family Safety Program, EBCI District Attorney’s Office, REACH of Haywood, Macon, Clay & Cherokee Counties, Cherokee Indian Police Department, Andrews Police Department, as well as Haywood and Macon county Sheriff offices. The different organizations discussed their individual, local needs and shared their thoughts on how to work together to combat drug and human trafficking more effectively.
Jo Ray, Regional Vice President of Community Relations and Employee Wellness at Harrah's Cherokee said of the event, “It is important for Harrah’s Cherokee to be involved as we are dedicated to ensuring the communities in which we live and work are thriving and safe.”
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