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Murphy & Advocates Raise Awareness of Human Trafficking, Bringing National Red Sand Project to NJ Capitol

Assembly Panel Advances Bills to Deter Trafficking, Support Survivors

On Thursday, Assemblywoman Carol Murphy, joined by fellow legislators and advocates, brought the Red Sand Project to the New Jersey State House to raise public awareness of human trafficking. The Red Sand Project is a participatory artwork created by Molly Gochman that tasks participants with pouring red sand in sidewalk cracks to represent filling in the gaps that can lead to human trafficking and exploitation. The event at the State House was livestreamed on Facebook and a recording is available here.

“Human trafficking is one of the most offensive and inhumane crimes that plague our communities,” said Assemblywoman Carol Murphy (D-Burlington). “The Red Sand project asks us to investigate the cracks in our society that undermine the safety of our most vulnerable residents. This is about raising awareness and making sure people aren’t subjected to the unimaginable horrors of forced labor or sexual exploitation. I am proud to sponsor legislation to help bring attention to this important issue.”

In New Jersey, the National Human Trafficking Hotline has identified 1,799 cases of human trafficking totaling 3,882 identified victims since 2007.

Assemblywoman Speight, Chair of the Assembly Homeland Security and State Preparedness Committee, has prioritized measures to eliminate human trafficking. Following the event, her committee advanced legislation to help residents learn how to identify potential trafficking situations and provide services for human trafficking survivors.

“Combating human trafficking has long been a priority of the Assembly Homeland Security and State Preparedness Committee. Human trafficking poses a serious public safety concern, and we must take action to safeguard our residents,” said Assemblywoman Shanique Speight (D-Essex). “I am proud that we have advanced such important legislation to provide our communities with valuable information about human trafficking while working to safeguard vulnerable residents and prevent these crimes from continuing.”

One of the measures advanced by the Assembly Homeland Security and State Preparedness Committee was A-476 sponsored by Assemblywomen Carol Murphy and Gabriela Mosquera. The bill calls for the Commission on Human Trafficking, which is tasked with raising public awareness of human trafficking, to promote initiatives including the Red Sand Project as part of its efforts.

Participating in the Red Sand Project and signaling support for the legislation, advocates issued the following statements:

“At In His Image Justice Coalition we are completely invested in preventing men and women, boys and girls from ‘falling through the cracks,’ into human trafficking,” said Judi Worgess, Co-founder and President of In His Image Justice Coalition. “We envision a day when human trafficking is a thing of the past, and are grateful for the awareness that the Red Sands project brings.”

“The Red Sand Project represents the victims and the survivors. It’s hard for people to grasp what it means to be victim of human trafficking. It’s even harder to understand the depths of healing and overcoming to become a survivor of human trafficking,” said Ashely Boyer, Human Trafficking Survivor. “Bringing awareness is one of the major priorities of making sure no victims or survivors fall through the cracks!”


The following bills addressing human trafficking were advanced by committee:




Requires DCA, in consultation with Commission on Human Trafficking, to establish Statewide initiative for Red Sand Project.


Makes supplemental appropriation of $750,000 to Department of Law and Public Safety for public awareness campaign of victims’ rights and VCCO assistance.


Requires transportation network company drivers to participate in educational training course on dangers, harms, and warning signs of human trafficking.



Expands authority of Missing Persons and Human Trafficking Unit; creates rebuttable presumption of criminal activity in high risk missing persons cases.


Concerns investigation of missing persons cases.


Specifies additional services for victims of sex trafficking and domestic violence; makes $1,000,000 appropriation.


Directs fines collected for certain prostitution crime to “Human Trafficking Survivor’s Assistance Fund.”


Urges United States Senate to pass certain federal legislation to protect trafficking victims.
Assembly Committee Substitute to A-1705, A-3803, and A-4205



Requires Commission on Human Trafficking to post public awareness signage in additional establishments.