Human Trafficking Commission Proposed by Sparta Lawmaker
Bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Alison Littell McHose passes Assembly.
A bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Alison Littell McHose of Sparta that expands New Jersey's human trafficking laws was approved Thursday by the General Assembly.
The bill revises and expands the state’s human trafficking laws by creating a new human trafficking commission; criminalizing additional activities related to human trafficking as well as upgrading certain penalties on existing human trafficking or related crimes; increasing protections afforded to victims of human trafficking; and providing for increased training and public awareness on human trafficking issues.
“This measure is an effort to oppose slavery, because that’s exactly what human trafficking is — modern day slavery,” said McHose, R-24. “The media, those in positions of authority, even our friends and neighbors have, for far too long, adopted a ‘head in the sand’ attitude that slavery was something that occurred and was abolished long ago. But that’s only a half truth. It still exists today. It is very real and it’s happening all around us," she said in a statement.
According to the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, there were 179 reported human trafficking victims from Sept. 16, 2005, to March 1, 2012, including 93 victims of labor trafficking, 60 of sex trafficking, and 26 of both labor and sex trafficking.
“One of our best weapons against this despicable crime is increased education and awareness,” McHose said. “The other is additional stringent laws and penalties. The public needs to be better informed about the severity of this problem while those who engage in all aspects of this heinous form of slavery need to know there will be dire consequences for their actions.”
The bill awaits a vote in the Senate.