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United States
Latina Women & Children at Risk
New Jersey Forms Statewide Anti- Trafficking Initiative
From: Vital Voices - Trafficking Alert
October, 2003 Edition
October 1, 2003
 From http://www.VitalVoices.org

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 Initiative. The 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.