The New Jersey General Assembly unanimously granted final legislative approval and passed to the Governor Christie bipartisan legislation to crack down on human trafficking. The Human Trafficking Prevention, Protection and Treatment Act, builds upon more than a year’s worth of research and consultations with experts and advocates to tackle a growing crime that is estimated to claim up to 20 million victims worldwide.
“Human trafficking is a horrific crime that is vastly underreported, making it all that much harder to crack down on,” said Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen), a sponsor of the legislation. “Because the victims, often children and vulnerable women, are too afraid and dependent on traffickers to break their silence, human trafficking has remained largely in the shadows of society. Many times they are exploited for years and coerced into prostitution, labor, and drug activity. This bill will help raise awareness and toughen prosecutorial tools, two key elements needed in the fight to end this modern day slavery.”
The comprehensive legislation would crack down on every aspect of trafficking by revising and expanding the state’s current laws to create a new human trafficking commission, criminalize additional activities related to human trafficking, upgrade certain penalties on existing human trafficking or related crimes, increase protections afforded to victims of human trafficking, use fines and penalties to fund a “Human Trafficking Survivors Assistance Fund”, and provide for increased training for law enforcement including mandated training on responding to the needs of human trafficking victims, and public awareness on human trafficking issues.
The bill also provides an additional measure of redress for any person injured as a result of human trafficking by allowing them to file a civil claim regardless of whether or not a criminal prosecution of human trafficking occurred. The bill would also create an expedited removal process for tenants engaged in human trafficking. Furthermore, the bill would establish the Prostitution Offender Program, a “Johns School,” to educate anyone who has been convicted of engaging a prostitute about the health risks and legal ramifications of their unlawful activity.
Learn more at the njtoday.net article: Assembly Unanimously Approves Human Trafficking Bill.