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Senate Moves Gopal Legislation to Further Punish Perpetrators of Human Trafficking

Trenton – In an effort to crack down on the crimes of human trafficking and further punish offenders, the Senate approved legislation sponsored by Senator Vin Gopal to establish a lifetime disqualification from operating a commercial motor vehicle or transportation network company vehicle for any individual convicted of human trafficking under New Jersey law, or under other federal laws against the trafficking of persons.  

“Unfortunately, as an Atlantic seaboard state with lots of commercial traffic, New Jersey is also ripe territory for the most despicable forms of crime against humanity, where men, women and children are forced to perform sexual acts or pressed into brutal, never-ending servitude. We must make certain that individuals convicted of human trafficking will never again operate motor vehicles or use New Jersey roads to perpetrate these offenses,” said Senator Gopal (D-Monmouth).

Under the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000, the severe forms of trafficking means sex trafficking in which:

  • a commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion, or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age; or
  • the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.

The bill would also amend current law to comply with “No Human Trafficking on Our Roads Act,” a 2018 federal law that directs the Department of Transportation to disqualify from operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) for life an individual who uses such a vehicle in committing a felony involving a severe form of human trafficking.

The bill, S-356, was approved by a vote of 39-0.