MORRIS COUNTY, NJ - The Morris County Freeholders this week proclaimed January 2017 as Human Trafficking Awareness Month, asking county residents to recognize that trafficking, which especially targets vulnerable women and non-English speaking people, occurs across our state and right here in our county.  

“Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery. It occurs when a trafficker exploits a vulnerable victim with force, fraud, or coercion to make them perform commercial sex or physical labor,’’ said Freeholder Director Doug Cabana. “You would think this type of activity does not occur in Morris County. However, sadly, it does.’’

The proclamation was presented to the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office and the Morris County Advisory Committee on Women at the Jan. 25 Freeholder Board meeting in Morristown.

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Attending were Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp, Assistant Prosecutor Laura Magnone, and Detective Supervisor Marshall Wang. Also attending were Pan Bennett-Santoro, Gayle Pearson, and Virginia Lyttle of the Advisory Council on Women.

Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery. It occurs when a trafficker exploits a vulnerable victim with force, fraud, or coercion. There are two types of trafficking:

  • Labor Trafficking: Individuals are compelled to work or provide services by force, fraud, or coercion.
  • Sex Trafficking: Adults are compelled to engage in commercial sex by force, fraud, or coercion. Minors are compelled to perform a commercial sex act regardless of the presence of force, fraud, or coercion.
  • For more information human trafficking, visit: http://www.njhumantrafficking.org/and https://www.dhs.gov/blue-campaign/awareness-training

Jan. 25, 2017 Morris County Human Trafficking Awareness Proclamation:

WHEREAS, Morris County residents value freedom and fully recognize the dignity of every single life, and 

WHEREAS, it goes against our core values to know that men, women, children, and entire families are treated like commodities, forced into labor or purchased for the sex trade to the benefit of traffickers, sex buyers and criminals who solicit prostitution – including right here in the relative safety of Morris County, and   

WHEREAS, this vile practice is a hard-to-accept reality, and Morris County residents, elected officials, and our law enforcement community must not avoid the challenge of eliminating trafficking and slavery in our county and state, and  

WHEREAS, it is estimated that there are millions of people who are victims of this hidden crime across the world, and the State Department estimates as many as 800,000 people are trafficked in our own state each year, and

WHEREAS, both citizens and foreign nationals, especially those who do not speak English, fall prey to traffickers who threaten their lives, isolate victims, and make it impossible for them to escape, and 

WHEREAS, no agency or organization can solve this problem alone, and we commend the Morris County Prosecutors Office, local police, and groups like the Morris County Advisory Committee on Women for peering into the darkest corners of humanity to rescue victims and call attention to this situation; 

NOW THEREFORE, I, Douglas R. Cabana, Director of the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders, proclaim January 2017 as Human Trafficking Awareness Month in Morris County, and commend the Prosecutor’s Office and the Advisory Committee on Women for raising awareness about the signs and consequences of human trafficking and promoting opposition to trafficking in all of its forms.