The New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking applauds the New Jersey State Senate for their recognition of Human Trafficking Awareness Day on Monday, Jan. 11.
The proclamation was presented publicly to the coalition by Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Senator Nellie Pou, with a series of statements by Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr., and Senators Ronald Rice and Diane Allen given afterward. It was noted that through the strong relationship between advocates, service providers, law enforcement officials, and legislators, New Jersey is one of the leading states in anti-human trafficking efforts.
The proclamation states: "The NJ State Senate and General Assembly honor the NJ Coalition Against Human Trafficking and urge all citizens to participate fittingly in the observance of Human Trafficking Awareness Day…. This Proclamation reaffirms the current work of the NJ Coalition and its members to raise awareness and our pledge as members of a free democratic society to raise awareness of human trafficking, to promote opposition to this horrific crime, to support survivors, and to encourage prevention efforts."
"I am proud to have sponsored groundbreaking legislation that has already resulted in the state’s first guilty plea and a $25,000 fine to the Human Trafficking Survivor Assistance Fund. It is important that we help victims become survivors and give law enforcement the tools they need to prosecute traffickers," said Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle. "Human Trafficking Awareness Day is a day that reminds us that we need to be consistent in our fight to end this modern-day slavery."
According to Senator Nellie Pou, who was an original champion of the 2013 legislation, "It is up to us legislators and every NJ Citizen to be aware that Human Trafficking is happening in our states and to do what we can to stop it."
In addition to commemorating the legislative efforts, the coalition presented the 2015 Abolitionist Award to Mayors James Barberio, of Parsippany-Troy Hills, and David Mayer, of Gloucester Township, for their collaboration with the coalition to champion the resolution "Urging Local Officials to Provide Leadership in Ending Human Trafficking" at the recent 100th Annual New Jersey State League of Municipalities Conference in November 2015.
The award was given at the New Jersey Human Trafficking Summit which brought together 400 people in Wayne, co-sponsored by the coalition.