ASSEMBLY, No. 5500

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

219th LEGISLATURE

INTRODUCED MARCH 17, 2021

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman† SHANIQUE SPEIGHT

District 29 (Essex)

Assemblywoman† VERLINA REYNOLDS-JACKSON

District 15 (Hunterdon and Mercer)

Assemblywoman† ANGELA V. MCKNIGHT

District 31 (Hudson)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblywomen Vainieri Huttle and Jimenez

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

†††† Expands duties of Commission on Human Trafficking to prevent human trafficking in women and children of color.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

†††† As introduced.

††


An Act concerning human trafficking, and amending P.L.2013, c.51.

 

†††† Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

†††† 1.††† Section 1 of P.L.2013, c.51 (C.52:17B-237) is amended to read as follows:

†††† 1. †a. †There is hereby created, in the Division of Criminal Justice in the Department of Law and Public Safety, a commission to be known as the Commission on Human Trafficking, consisting of 15 members as follows: the Attorney General, or his designee; the Commissioner of Children and Families, or his designee; the Commissioner of Human Services, or his designee; a county prosecutor, appointed by the Governor based upon the recommendation of the County Prosecutors Association of the State of New Jersey; one member of the New Jersey Human Trafficking Task Force established within the Department of Law and Public Safety, designated by the Attorney General; two public members appointed by the Governor based upon the recommendation of the Senate President, one representing law enforcement and one representing a victim's assistance organization; one public member appointed by the Governor based upon the recommendation of the Senate Minority Leader representing either a non-profit health care facility or mental health services; two public members appointed by the Governor based upon the recommendation of the Speaker of the General Assembly, one representing law enforcement and one representing a victim's assistance organization; one public member appointed by the Governor based upon the recommendation of the Assembly Minority Leader representing either a non-profit health care facility or mental health services; and four public members appointed by the Governor, one of whom shall be a representative of a child advocacy organization concerning missing, abducted, or exploited children, and one of whom shall be a human trafficking survivor.† All public members shall have experience with, possess a background in, or demonstrate a specialized knowledge of, the legal, policy, educational, social, or psychological aspects of human trafficking.

†††† b. †(1) †Of the public members first appointed:

†††† (a)†† the following shall serve for a term of three years:† one member appointed upon the recommendation of the Senate President; one member appointed upon the recommendation of the Speaker of the General Assembly; and two members appointed by the Governor; and

†††† (b)†† the following shall serve for a term of two years: one member appointed upon the recommendation of the Senate President; one member appointed upon the recommendation of the Speaker of the General Assembly; each member appointed upon the recommendation of the Senate and Assembly Minority Leaders; and two members appointed by the Governor.

†††† (c)†† Upon the conclusion of the initial terms, each public member shall be appointed for a term of three years.

†††† (2)†† Each member appointed shall hold office for the term of appointment and until a successor shall have been appointed and qualified.

†††† (3)†† Any vacancy in the membership of the commission shall be filled by appointment in the same manner as the original appointment was made.

†††† c. †(1) †The commission shall organize upon the appointment of a majority of its authorized membership.† The members shall elect one of the members to serve as chair and vice-chair, and the chair may appoint a secretary, who need not be a member of the commission.

†††† (2)†† The commission shall meet at those times and places within the State of New Jersey as the commission shall determine.† A majority of the commission's authorized membership shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of any business, for the performance of any duty, or for the exercise of any power of the commission.

†††† d.††† The members of the commission shall serve without compensation, but shall be eligible for reimbursement for necessary and reasonable expenses incurred in the performance of their official duties within the limits of funds appropriated or otherwise made available to the commission for its purposes.

†††† e.†††† The Division of Criminal Justice in the Department of Law and Public Safety shall, at the direction of the Attorney General, provide legal, stenographic, technical, clerical, and other staff and resource assistance to the commission, and additionally the commission may incur expenses as may be necessary in order to perform its duties within the limits of funds appropriated or otherwise made available to it for its purposes.

†††† f.†††† It shall be the duty of the commission to:

†††† (1)†† Evaluate the existing law concerning human trafficking and the enforcement thereof, conduct research and produce findings on human trafficking of women and children of color, identify social and racial factors that make women and children of color more vulnerable to human trafficking, identify effective strategies, support, and services to reduce human trafficking of women and children of color, study the interactions between law enforcement agencies and women and children of color who have been victims of human trafficking, and to make recommendations for legislation, if appropriate;

†††† (2)†† Review existing victim assistance programs and analyze the costs, organization, and availability of these services for victims of human trafficking and to make recommendations for legislation, if appropriate;

†††† (3)†† Promote a coordinated response by public and private resources for victims of human trafficking; and

†††† (4)†† Develop mechanisms to promote public awareness of human trafficking, victim remedies and services, and trafficking prevention including the creation of a public awareness sign promoting the national, 24-hour toll-free hotline telephone service on human trafficking described under section 18 of P.L.2013, c.51 (C.2C:13-11), and the promotion of training courses and other educational materials for use by persons required under section 19 of P.L.2013, c.51 (C.2C:13-12) to undergo training on the handling of and response procedures for suspected human trafficking activities.

†††† g.††† The commission shall report annually to the Governor and to the Legislature, pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1991, c.164 (C.52:14-19.1), its activities, as well as its findings and recommendations for any needed new services or resources for victims of human trafficking, and any proposed changes to the current law concerning human trafficking.

(cf: P.L.2021, c.3, s.1)

 

†††† 2.††† This act shall take effect immediately.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

†††† This bill would expand the duties of the Commission on Human Trafficking. In addition to its existing duties, the Commission would conduct research and produce findings on human trafficking of women and children of color, identify social and racial factors that make women and children of color more vulnerable to human trafficking, identify effective strategies, support, and services to reduce human trafficking of women and children of color, study the interactions between law enforcement agencies and women and children of color who have been victims of human trafficking.

†††† Data provided by the National Human Trafficking Hotline indicates that out of the 247 human trafficking cases reported in 2019 in New Jersey, 207 were female. Though studies and news reports indicate that human trafficking is more rampant in communities of color, there is no conclusive data on the number of women and children of color trafficked in the State of New Jersey.

†††† Nationally, the available data confirms that human trafficking in women and children is overwhelmingly for sexual exploitation and more widespread in communities of color.† According to a 2011 study by the Justice Departmentís Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), more than 80 percent of suspected incidents of human trafficking investigated between January 2008 and June 2010 involved allegations of adult prostitution (48 percent) or the prostitution or sexual exploitation of a child (40 percent). Based upon cases where the race was known, 40 percent of sex trafficking victims were black.