New Jersey’s high regulation enforcement workplace is beginning a human trafficking unit to deal with crimes of compelled labor and sexual exploitation.
About two dozen human trafficking circumstances have been prosecuted by counties since January 2018, in accordance with state Lawyer Normal Matthew Platkin. The brand new unit — below the Division of Felony Justice — will take the lead on investigations going ahead.
In a press release concerning the initiative on Thursday, Platkin’s workplace mentioned litigators and investigators would tackle the “aggressive pursuit of criminal networks that trade in people and exploit them for profit.” The lawyer normal introduced the unit on the Division of Felony Justice’s thirteenth annual Human Trafficking Consciousness Occasion on the Trenton Struggle Memorial.
The unit will be led by Theresa Hilton, a deputy director within the Division of Felony Justice who was employed in September to supervise sexual and home violence prevention coverage and felony enforcement. She beforehand led the home violence unit on the Union County Prosecutor’s Workplace.
Platkin’s workplace mentioned it’s onerous to estimate how widespread human trafficking is, as a result of individuals who’ve been trafficked hardly ever communicate to regulation enforcement.
However he mentioned the FBI considers New Jersey a hub for trafficking, partly as a result of it’s positioned between main metropolitan areas.
“We know about some of the activity, whether in Atlantic City or in motels along some of the highways in the state, and occurring online,” Platkin mentioned. “It’s also a problem on the labor side, where people are trafficked to provide low-cost labor, which we’ve seen happen in this state.”
Final yr, a New Jersey State Police hotline obtained 97 calls about alleged human trafficking, the workplace mentioned, although it didn’t specify what number of of these had been substantiated or led to prosecutions.
Col. Patrick J. Callahan, superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, described human trafficking in a press release as a few of the “reprehensible bodily and emotional abuse that ends in psychological scars that final a lifetime.”