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Assemblywoman will Introduce Measure Making January 11 “National Human Trafficking Awareness Day” in New Jersey to Coincide With National Efforts

In honor of national “Human Trafficking Awareness Day,” Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) on Wednesday announced plans to introduce a measure in the legislature that would declare January 11 of every year as Human Trafficking Awareness Day in New Jersey to help highlight the issue at home.

“The sad reality is that human trafficking flourishes in the shadows, overlooked by most of us because we’re so accustomed to our government-protected freedom,” said Vainieri Huttle. “But throughout the world there are millions who are forced into modern slavery, under deplorable circumstances, and many of them are predominantly women and children. It’s time we start raising our consciousness and doing all we can to fight the proliferation of this practice.”

In support of the issue, President Obama has also proclaimed the entire month of February as “National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month” in an effort to raise awareness of the ongoing enslavement of millions of people throughout the world.

Vainieri Huttle noted that while the U.N. Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking puts the number of victims at 2.5 million, the U.S. State Department estimates that as many as 12.3 million adults and children are “in forced labor, bonded labor and forced prostitution around the world.” Many human trafficking victims are forced to work in the sex trade, as domestic servants, on farms and in factories.

“This is a multi-billion dollar industry that is believed to affect every continent and every economy,” added Vainieri Huttle. “It preys on impoverished and marginalized victims and exploits them for criminal gain. As a global community, we need to stand up and help put an end to this.”

Vainieri Huttle is currently working on drafting a resolution to highlight the issue and hopes to introduce it as soon as possible.