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NJ human trafficking summit tomorrow expected to draw 200

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot File Photo
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

PUBLIC SAFETY: Nearly 200 people will gather tomorrow to learn the roles they can play in the state’s anti-trafficking strategy for the 2014 Super Bowl and beyond.

Plans for the all-day summit at the War Memorial in Trenton are to also “address the needs and concerns of human trafficking victims and survivors and highlight the effective ways to resolve those issues,” acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman said today.

The approach of the Super Bowl demands heightened awareness of human trafficking, authorities said.

Attendees will include human trafficking survivors, law enforcement officials, victim-service providers, legal service providers, immigration advocates, social workers, mental health professionals, faith-based leaders, school administrators, teachers, clinicians, nurses, guidance counselors, and school resource officers.

Hoffman and Department of Children and Families Commissioner Allison Blake will give opening remarks before two human trafficking survivors will talk about their experiences during a morning panel discussion moderated by Division of Criminal Justice Director Elie Honig.

Authorities say the Super Bowl each year is a magnet for prostitution — often through human trafficking.

  • YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: The growing scourge of human trafficking will become more pronounced around the Super Bowl, warn state officials who today announced the launch of a round-the-clock tips hotline staffed by experienced detectives. At the same time, acting New Jersey Attorney General John J. Hoffman pointed to two new billboards outside MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford that are promoting the state’s anti-trafficking/anti-demand campaign. READ MORE ….

New Jersey is already a hub for modern-day imprisonment and slavery because of its proximity to New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. It’s also the most densely populated state and has the third-highest percentage of foreign-born legal residents, at nearly 20%.

Those exploited — men, women and children — often are used for prostitution and pornography, as well as forced labor. Traffickers control their victims by direct abuse, fraud or coercion — including threatening to hurt their loved ones back home.

For that reason, New Jersey lawmakers adopted — and Gov. Christie earlier this year signed into law — a measure that tightened the state’s human trafficking laws.

It boosts penalties for those who fail to verify that advertisers on their websites aren’t minors, while establishing “john schools” to educate patrons of prostitutes about the industry’s exploitation of women and minors. The law also allows judges to acquit those convicted of related offenses when it’s show that traffickers forced them courts to commit the crimes. It applies not just to prostitution but also to other forms of forced labor.

New Jersey Sen. Jeffrey S. Chiesa, a state attorney general, will address tomorrow’s summit at lunch.

The event begins at 9 a.m.

MORE INFO, FULL AGENDA: NJ Office of Attorney General – Human Trafficking Summit

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