In addition, in a recent post on its website, the American Bar Association (ABA) highlights the serious issue of sex-trafficking of minors and points to homelessness as one of the causes contributing to this disturbing issue.
Often, homeless youth who are victims of sex trafficking need housing in order to stabilize their lives.
Says Richard Hooks Wyman,
“’We cannot end the sexual trafficking of minors unless we end homelessness for minors,’” said Wayman, who is pushing for housing provisions to be included in safe harbor laws for sex trafficking victims.
Wayman pointed to housing services for juvenile survivors of sex trafficking as not only effective, but also cost-effective. One study he cited found that the average annual cost for one detention bed is approximately $88,000, while the average cost of one supportive housing unit, with ancillary services, is only $18,000.”
The NJ legislation is a comprehensive update and expansion to state law and creates the Commission on Human Trafficking to review laws and enforcement and make recommendations to state policy makers; establishes a ‘Human Trafficking Survivor’s Assistance Fund’ to provide victims’ services, promote awareness, and develop training and educational materials; and increases both financial penalties and prison time for those who traffic individuals.
Coupled with the measure, the Governor also signed bills designating each January as “Human Trafficking Prevention Month” and January 11th as “Human Trafficking Awareness Day.”
“As public officials, we have a solemn responsibility to prevent and protect citizens from the dark world of human trafficking,” said Governor Christie. “This comprehensive and bipartisan approach strengthens and expands the state’s ongoing efforts to aggressively combat this brutal practice, and also ensures that the victims of human trafficking receive the treatment they need. This bill is a big step forward toward protecting the most vulnerable members of our society, and I am proud to sign it into law.”