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Vainieri Huttle, Murphy Measure to Thwart Human Trafficking at Massage and Bodywork Businesses Approved by Assembly Committee

Acting on recommendations by the Polaris Project in the 2018 report, “Human Trafficking in Illicit Massage Businesses,” legislation was approved Thursday by the Assembly Homeland Security and State Preparedness Committee that would help end the crime of human trafficking in New Jersey.

The second measure (ACR-157), sponsored by Assemblywomen Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) and Carol Murphy (D-Burlington) calls on the State Commission on Investigation to issue a report summarizing is probe into human trafficking and other criminal wrongdoing at massage parlors.

The Assemblywomen issued the following joint statement today:

“Modern slavery still exists in the United States and it’s called human trafficking. It’s real and the numbers are staggering. The Polaris project found that 373 possible massage parlors that advertised sexual services in New Jersey alone. It also documented nearly 3,000 cases of human trafficking connected to more than 9,000 massage parlors across the nation.

“Human trafficking is a $150 billion industry affecting 25 million men, women and children around the world – the majority of the victims are women and girls.

“Our legislation would further expose modern day slavery and human trafficking by turning the spotlight on the activities conducted in these businesses. We believe it is important to expand the duties of the commission on human trafficking and require the panel to study the connection between human trafficking and illicit massage parlor businesses.

“As much as we would like to believe that the trafficking of people and the denial of freedoms does not exist, the reality is, it does. Ending human trafficking in the state and nation will require pointed action to close all loopholes and shut down all angles pursued by traffickers to keep their businesses going.”