SOMERVILLE, NJ – United Reformed Church, 100 West Main St., will host guest speaker Kate Lee, executive director of the New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking, on Wednesday, Oct. 2 from 7-9 p.m. in Fellowship Hall.

The presentation is free and open to anyone who would like to attend and learn more about the issue of modern-day slavery in New Jersey and how to help prevent it.  Human Trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery, where people use force, fraudulent promises or extortion to control and exploit others for a profit. 

New Jersey is a hub for human trafficking, which is the fastest growing crime internationally. Densely populated with access to many forms of transportation, the Garden State is ideal for human trafficking to hide in plain sight, since most people don’t recognize it when they see it.

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One of the greatest weapons to combat trafficking is the average citizen, which is why education and raising awareness is key to ending trafficking altogether.

“The realities of human trafficking are not like the movies," Lee said. Her talk will include what modern-day slavery looks like.

“It shocks many to learn that the majority of victims of human trafficking in New Jersey and around the country are US citizens. Although there are foreign-born victims, brought to this country for forced labor or sexual exploitation, over 80 percent of all victims are American, and most are victims of sex trafficking," Lee said.

The New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking was formed in 2011 and includes 180 New Jersey organizations, including nonprofits, faith-based organizations, government agencies, academics, law enforcement, and direct service providers. United Reformed Church, a congregation of the Reformed Church in America, joined the coalition in 2015.

 The NJCAHT works to serve as the hub of community efforts statewide to increase coordination and visibility of NJ’s commitment to end human trafficking. The coalition co-sponsors numerous events annually and has many committees, including education, legislative, arts, healthcare and slave-free commerce. More information about human trafficking in New Jersey is on the website: njhumantrafficking.org