NCJW/Essex Panel Holds Panel Discussion on Sex Trafficking for Community
On November 30, 2016, a special evening event, #EndDemand: Fighting Sex Trafficking – Our Children at Risk, was held at Temple B’nai Abraham in Livingston, NJ and featured a dynamic discussion with a distinguished panel of speakers.
The panel helped to shine a light on the motivations of those who promote sex trafficking, what New Jersey is doing to combat trafficking, what social service agencies are trying to do to help those who have been caught up in the web of trafficking and, most importantly, what can be done to combat this horrific problem.
Many factors contribute to the overall number of homeless youth each year, but common reasons are family dysfunction, exiting the child welfare or juvenile justice systems, sex trafficking and sexual abuse,”
According the National Network for Youth, runaway and homeless youth are at risk to falling victim to sex trafficking.
“Research has shown that 21-42% of runaway and homeless youth were sexually abused before they left their homes. These young people often flee abuse and violence at home, but are exposed to further sexual victimization and human trafficking once on the street.”
In 2013, Covenant House New York, a shelter for homeless youth, completed a study in conjunction with Fordham University which found that close to 25% of surveyed NYC Covenant House residents were victims of human trafficking or had been forced to engage in survival sex (trading sex for food or shelter).
A key message in how sex trafficking can be eliminated therefore decreasing the risk to homeless youth is to end the demand for it.
“Human trafficking is modern day slavery,” asserted Lauren Hersh, moderator of the panel and co-founder of World Without Exploitation. “It is the fastest growing human enterprise in the world because the profit is high and the risk to exploiters is low.”
Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle of the NJ General Assembly, 37th district concurred, noting that human trafficking, and in particular sex trafficking, is a “debasement of our common humanity.” In 2013, she sponsored bipartisan legislation in New Jersey, the Human Trafficking Prevention, Protection, and Treatment Act.
Attendees learned how they can join the fight to eradicate sex trafficking. NCJW/Essex is seeking participants to spearhead new efforts to bring this issue to light and educate the community and our children.
The National Council of Jewish Women, Essex County was the prime sponsor.
Monarch Housing Associates was proud to be a co-sponsor of this very informative program.
This program was also co-sponsored by other local organizations who share the goal of eradicating sex trafficking including:
- Temple B’nai Abraham of Livingston,
- The NJ Coalition Against Human Trafficking,
- The Community Relations Committee of Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ,
- The Reform Jewish Voice of New Jersey,
- Hadassah of Northern NJ,
- Temple Emanu-El of Westfield,
- Volunteer Lawyers for Justice, Church Abolition Network,
- Covenant House,
- Jewish Women’s Foundation,
- World Without Exploitation,
- NCJW Bergen County Section and
- NCJW West Morris Section.
National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) is a grassroots organization of volunteers and advocates who turn progressive ideals into action. Inspired by Jewish values, NCJW strives for social justice by improving the quality of life for women, children, and families and by safeguarding individual rights and freedoms.