Vainieri Huttle Announces First Human Trafficking Awareness Day Rally on Steps of Statehouse

Event Sponsored by NJ Coalition Against Human Trafficking Will Shine Spotlight on “Modern Day Slavery” that Affects Up to 20 Million Worldwide

(TRENTON) – Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle will join with the NJ Coalition Against Human Trafficking to host the first Human Trafficking Awareness Day Rally on the steps of the Statehouse this Friday, Jan. 11.

“One of our best defenses against this scourge is awareness,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “This trade thrives in the shadows, unbeknownst to many, in neighborhoods and businesses right in our own back yards. In addition to toughening our law enforcement approach, we need to educate everyone in order to help rescue the innocent victims of human trafficking, many of whom are women and children. I hope everyone will come out and join us for this event.”

The rally will kick off at 11 a.m. on Jan. 11 on the steps of the Statehouse, located at 125 W. State Street, Trenton. Also expected to be in attendance are Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean, Jr., Senator Nellie Pou, human trafficking survivors, and representatives from the Polaris Project.

“This is a chance for all of us to stand together in one single voice and tell perpetrators that we are not going to tolerate it anymore,” said Pou (D-Bergen/Passaic). “Equally important, it’s an opportunity for us to show our support for victims and survivors of human trafficking and to learn from their experiences so we can better target our resources to crack down on this problem.”

Following the rally, the Coalition and the NJ Attorney General’s Office will co-sponsor the Third Annual National Human Trafficking Awareness Program in Committee Room 4 of the Statehouse Annex. Featured speakers include Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa, special agents from the FBI and various human trafficking experts who will detail case studies, survivor stories and efforts to combat human trafficking.

The day is designed to shine a spotlight on human trafficking, which is estimated to affect up to 20 million victims worldwide, while highlighting the legislative efforts being undertaken to combat the growing problem.

Vainieri Huttle has worked closely with the coalition on pending legislation to help eradicate what many consider to be a modern form of slavery, including the Human Trafficking Prevention, Protection and Treatment Act (A-3352), as well as a resolution that would compliment federal law by designating Jan. 11 of every year as “Human Trafficking Awareness Day” in New Jersey.

“Human Trafficking must be eradicated. We can start right here in New Jersey and the first step is to raise awareness. The Coalition, working with dozens of groups across the state, has begun the arduous task of making sure New Jersey is at the forefront of combating this treacherous epidemic. Our Human Trafficking Awareness Day program will serve as notice to every citizen that we intend to end modern day slavery in New Jersey,” said Melanie Roth Gorelick, Facilitator of the Coalition and Director of the Community Relations Committee of Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ.

“Awareness is vitally important, but education without action is only half of the solution. Attendees will gain concrete action items and learn how to add their voice to the collective outcry against human trafficking,” added Patricia Devine Harms, emcee of the rally and member of the NJ Coalition Against Human Trafficking and Chair of the Junior Leagues of New Jersey State Public Affairs Committee.

The NJ Coalition Against Human Trafficking is comprised of a broad swath of organizations from across the state, including: the NJ Chapter of the National Organization for Women, the League of Women Voters, the National Council of Jewish Women, the New Jersey Catholic Conference, the NJ Commission on Holocaust Education, Jersey Battered Women’s Service, Inc., and Kean University.