In recognition of Human Trafficking Awareness Day, Saturday, Jan. 11, the Maplewood Township Committee issued a proclamation to inform residents of the issue.
Deputy Mayor Kathleen Leventhal presented the proclamation to Maplewood resident Michelle Bobrow, who first brought the issue to the Committee two years ago.
The United Nations International Labor Organization estimated that more people are now harmed by Human Trafficking worldwide than ever at any point in human history,” according to the New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking. “Approximately 80 percent of the victims are women and girls, and 50 percent are younger than 18 years old.”
“It is not only immigrants, it is citizens of the United States who are affected,” said Bobrow. “Over 70 organizations in New Jersey are working very hard leading up to the Superbowl. One of the major attractants to human trafficking and sexual exploitation are large sporting events.”
Their goals are educating the community about warning signs and looking for signs of human trafficking, she added.
Click here for more information on the New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking.
Read the proclamation in its entirety:
WHEREAS, human trafficking is a borderless crime against individuals that violates the most basic human rights and deprives victims of every shred of personal freedom; and
WHEREAS, human trafficking occurs when a person is recruited, harbored, obtained, or exported through force, fraud, or coercion for the purposes of sexual or labor exploitation, involuntary servitude, and other types of mental and physical abuse; and
WHEREAS, human traffickers target impoverished and marginalized children, women and men, isolating them from society and supportive networks and exploiting them for personal and monetary gain; and
WHEREAS, human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world today, and is tied with arms smuggling as the second largest international criminal industry, falling only behind the illicit drug trade; and
WHEREAS, many victims trafficked into the U.S. do not speak or understand English and are unable to communicate to seek rescue. Under U.S. law, any person under 18 involved in the commercial sex industry is considered a Human Trafficking victim; and victims include U.S. citizens and documented immigrants; and
WHEREAS we recognize that New Jersey is a prime location for Human Trafficking because it is a major national and international transportation corridor and a culturally diverse state; and
WHEREAS, the township of Maplewood stands committed to protecting human rights and individual freedom by eliminating human trafficking.
WHEREAS, the township of Maplewood is resolved to support the goals and ideals of observing a National Day of Human Trafficking Awareness on January 11 of each year.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Victor De Luca, mayor, on behalf of the Maplewood Township Committee do hereby proclaim January 11 of each year as: Human Trafficking Awareness Day in the township of Maplewood to raise awareness about the signs and consequences of human trafficking, to promote opposition to human trafficking in all of its forms, and to encourage support for the survivors of human trafficking throughout the State of New Jersey and across the world to put an end to this criminal activity and restore freedom and dignity to its survivors.