Assemblywoman Alison Littell McHose (R-Sussex, Warren & Morris) joined fellow Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) and Senators Tom Kean Jr. (R) and Nellie Pou (D) at a rally today in Trenton to bring awareness to the modern day epidemic of slavery.
In what was billed as the “First Human Trafficking Awareness Day Rally”, participants met on the steps of the State House to share their perspectives and experiences. Among those who attended were victims of human trafficking who survived being kidnapped, transported, sold into slavery, and degraded.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) issued a report at the end of last year that noted that 79% of the victims of human trafficking are women and girls who are sexually exploited, while 18% are used for forced labor. It is estimated that more than 20 million are victims of modern day slavery.
The Executive Director of UNODC, Antonio Maria Costa, said that “many governments are still in denial. There is even neglect when it comes to either reporting on or prosecuting cases of human trafficking,” adding, “We fear the problem is getting worse.”
For a copy of the U.S. Department of State’s assessment, please click here:
Assemblywoman Huttle said: "One of our best defenses against this scourge is awareness. This trade thrives in the shadows, unbeknownst to many, in neighborhoods and businesses right in our own back yards. In addition to toughening our law enforcement approach, we need to educate everyone in order to help rescue the innocent victims of human trafficking, many of whom are women and children.”
Assemblywoman McHose told those in attendance: “I’m here today with my colleagues as part of a bi-partisan effort to oppose slavery. Because that is what it is. For too long our society has ignored the fact that slavery is a modern day problem. Too many think that slavery was something that happened long ago – that slavery is only in the history books.”
“My husband is a Sergeant in the U.S. Army. A few years ago, he was deployed in Kosovo as part of a unit sent to combat the enormous problem that country has with human trafficking. Kosovo is a ‘feeder’ country where terrorist gangs work to harvest a crop of women and children for export around the world. Including here in America.
We have to fight this. We have to stop this. We must destroy slavery root and branch in this country and around the world.”
Assemblywoman McHose is the second prime sponsor of A-3352, The "Human Trafficking Prevention, Protection, and Treatment Act," which will toughen laws against human trafficking in New Jersey.