Trafficking networks have been expert at evading laws here and abroad. Last week, the state announced arrests in a human trafficking and diamond smuggling operation that stretched from Manhattan and Atlantic City to Las Vegas and beyond. Women were ensnared in a prostitution ring they could not escape. State Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa said the victims were “degraded, threatened and isolated from any support in their lives.” It is the modus operandi of trafficking.
Polaris rates the states on the statutes they have in place to effectively prevent and prosecute human trafficking. New Jersey rates 6 out of 12 possible points — in the middle of the pack — and a new bill is pending in the Legislature. The state has sex and labor trafficking laws and penalties, including asset forfeiture, but still needs to allow victims to have removed or “vacated” convictions that occurred as a result of being trafficked, among other things. Law enforcement officials, in many cases, mistake trafficking victims for criminals who have been willing accomplices. More training is also needed to help police recognize a trafficking victim. | NJ.com