TRENTON – A measure sponsored by Senator Nia H. Gill that would criminalize human trafficking and upgrade the penalties for similar crimes was approved today by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“For thousands of years, people have been selling other humans for financial gain,” said Senator Gill, D-Essex and Passaic. ” No one should have the right to sell another person- It’s inhumane and barbaric, and it shows the lack of respect some people have for their fellow man.”
Senator Gill’s measure, S-1848, would create the crime of human trafficking , and define it as knowingly luring or harboring another person for labor or services including involuntary servitude or prostitution. The crime would also include anyone who benefits financially or in any other capacity from human trafficking.
Certain persons found guilty of human trafficking would be forced to pay restitution and serve a minimum of 20 years in prison. New Jersey’s racketeering statute would be amended to include human trafficking and involuntary servitude.
Victims of human trafficking and involuntary servitude would be afforded all of the rights and protections given to all victims of violent crimes. Senator Gill’s measure would authorize victims to petition the Violent Crimes Compensation Board for damages.
Victims would also have access to counseling services and the Office of Victim-Witness Assistance, which organizes the Statewide victim-witness rights information program.
“Statistics show that an estimated 45,000 to 50,000 women and children are trafficked to the United States every year,” said Senator Gill. “To put this into perspective, annually an estimated 5,000 people are trafficked through the metropolitan area. This bill will be a voice for the victims who are unable to speak for themselves- we must fight for these women and children.”
This measure now heads to the full Senate for approval.