(TRENTON) — Assembly Human Services Committee Chair Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) issued a multimedia package Tuesday on her comprehensive human trafficking prevention legislation, which received final legislative approval Thursday.
The legislation (A-3352), known as 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.
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, and provide for increased training and public awareness on human trafficking issues.
In drafting the legislation, Vainieri Huttle spent the better part of last year gathering input by meeting with experts and advocates, including the NJ Coalition against Human Trafficking, an alliance comprised of diverse organizations, including the Junior League, the NJ Catholic Conference, The League of Women Voters and the NJ State Association of Jewish Federations.
The multimedia package consists of a video of comments from Assemblywoman Vainieri Huttle on her legislation and audio and a transcript of same.
The audio file is available upon request.
A transcript of comments from Assemblywoman Vainieri Huttle is appended below:
Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen), Assembly Human Services Committee Chair:
“Human trafficking is modern day slavery; that’s how it’s defined. Young women are being coerced into sex and labor trafficking. We need to eradicate this in New Jersey.
“This bill, the ‘Human Trafficking Prevention, Protection and Treatment Act,’ will help eradicate that right here in New Jersey and in our neighborhoods.
“This is a topic that we don’t believe happens here in New Jersey. We think it happens in third world countries or undeveloped countries, but it happens right here. We have had 179 cases of sex trafficking in New Jersey. And out of those 179 cases in New Jersey, zero convictions. So, therefore, this bill will hold people accountable, it will make people aware that it is going on here, and it really serves as protection and treatment.
“We want to make sure that the perpetrators are held accountable and that the survivors are empowered to get out from under their slavery.”