|With the support
of a grant from the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services'
Office of Refugee Resettlement, the
International Institute of New Jersey, an organization that has been
providing services to immigrant communities in New Jersey for more than
60 years, has formed the New Jersey Statewide Anti-Trafficking
New Jersey State Attorney General's Office and
Congressman Christopher Smith (R-NJ), a longtime leader in the fight
against human trafficking, have expressed support for this Initiative,
which is planned in collaboration with the
Monmouth University School of Social Work and
Safe Horizon, a social service organization in metro New York with a
model anti-trafficking initiative in that area.
The New Jersey Statewide Anti-Trafficking
Initiative aims to develop a coordinated statewide system for
identifying trafficking victims and getting them the help they need.
This includes increasing awareness and understanding of the scope of
human trafficking in New Jersey; identifying and strengthening areas
where coordination and services are lacking; and establishing a network
of law enforcement officers, service providers and other first
responders to trafficking victims in the state.
The Initiative held its first Advisory
Committee meeting on August 26, 2003. Participants included social and
legal service providers; law enforcement officials; and state and
federal government officials, including Assistant U.S. Attorney Carolyn
Murray. Some of their initial discussions focused on increasing trust
between trafficking victims and law enforcement, and the need for
emergency shelter for pre-certified trafficking victims.
Human trafficking is an increasing
occurrence in New Jersey, as it is throughout the United States. In
August 2003, two women were convicted for trafficking four young girls
from Mexico and brutally forcing them into prostitution in a brothel in
Plainfield, New Jersey.
For more information on the New Jersey
Statewide Anti-Trafficking Initiative,
contact Avaloy Lanning, Project Coordinator.