TRENTON — A bill sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean that expands New Jersey’s Human Trafficking law was unanimously passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee last week.
“Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery that has a devastating impact on victims, their families and society as a whole,” said Kean (R-Union). “We have a responsibility to help these victims who suffer in despair waiting for anyone to take up their cause and demand justice.”
Under Kean’s bill, the Attorney General would be required to publicize and promote the state’s Human Trafficking Toll Free Hotline, any federal human trafficking hotline, and any local or county federally funded human trafficking hotline. Additionally, the bill requires police be trained in responding to the needs of victims of human trafficking and providing the services available to them.
Kean discussed the timely nature of the bill with the recent conviction and sentencing of a Newark woman who was involved in a trafficking ring, along with three other New Jersey residents. According to the U.S. Justice Department, more than 1, 200 human trafficking cases were reported nationwide during 2007 and 2008. Because of the large immigrant population, close location to major cities, and easy access to transportation hubs, New Jersey is fertile ground for human trafficking.
“The keys to successfully ending human trafficking are vigilance and communication,” Kean continued.” We have to make sure that the phone number for reaching this hotline finds its way into the hands of each victim. We have the energy and ability to end this human rights abuse and the responsibility to take action.”
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