Correction: the date in the article has been corrected; it is Jan. 11, not Jan. 12 as was stated in the township's release.
The Maplewood Township Committee proclaimed Jan. 11 "Human Trafficking Awareness Day," according to a release from the township on Monday.
Mayor Vic DeLuca originally made the proclamation at the committee's Dec. 19 meeting. "We have been working long and hard...to bring awareness to the scourge of human trafficking, which we never thought happened here but we are learning more that it is here and it is now and it is going to get worse," said Maplewood resident Michelle Bobrow, who accepted the proclamation on behalf of the League of Women Voters of New Jersey and the Community Relations Committee of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest.
Bobrow said one of the largest draws for human trafficking is during large sporting events, such as the Superbowl. The League of Women Voters and the Jewish Federation are working with the New Jersey State Legislature to bring awareness to the issue so that people know how to spot the signs of trafficking and how to report them, she said.
The first Human Trafficking Awareness Day Rally will be held on the steps of the Statehouse in Trenton on Friday, Jan. 11. More information can be found here.
DeLuca said he had received a request from the Human Trafficking Group at the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest to make the proclamation, which is printed in full here:
PROCLAMATION: HUMAN TRAFFICKING AWARENESS DAY
Whereas, human trafficking endangers the lives of millions of people around the world, and it is a crime that knows no borders. Trafficking networks operate both domestically and transnationally, and although abuses disproportionally affect women and girls, the victims of this ongoing global tragedy are men, women, and children of all ages. From forced labor and debt bondage to forced commercial sexual exploitation and involuntary domestic servitude, human trafficking leaves no country untouched. With this knowledge, Maplewood Township, dedicates itself to forging robust municipal partnerships that strengthen anti-trafficking efforts; and
Whereas, fighting modem slavery and human trafficking is a shared responsibility to successfully combat human trafficking the people of New Jersey must be informed about the problem in its local context, and must work to protect victims of human trafficking with effective services and support, prosecute traffickers through consistent enforcement, prevent human rights abuse by furthering public awareness, and addressing the root cause of modem slavery; and
Whereas, we are particularly mindful of the work that remains to be done on behalf of victims of human trafficking and we can work together to end this terrible injustice and protect the rights of life, liberty, and justice entrusted to us by our forbearers and owed to our children;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Victor De Luca, the Mayor ofthe Township of Maplewood, on behalf of the Township Committee, do announce and proclaim to all citizens, that January 12th (sic) is "HUMAN TRAFFICKING AWARENESS DAY" In the Township of Maplewood.