By RAISA BARAKA and CHRISTIAN ELLIOTT, Contributing Writers
January 28, 2019
The illegal transport of people from one country to another is the definition for human trafficking, so is modern-day slavery, sexual exploitation, and the possible effect of damaging people emotionally and physically. For example, a 10-year-old girl who was enslaved since age 7; and, now 17 years old was finally rescued in Mount Olive, New Jersey, about 3 years ago. The suspect was Michael Keenan, 23, he was holding her in hotels to engage in prostitution.
NJ Coalition Against Human Trafficking is aware of this definition and works to raise awareness of the millions of men, women, and children who are trafficked in countries around the world. Formed in 2011, this organization is made up of over 170 diverse groups in the state, which include nonprofits, academics, law enforcement, and direct service providers. One of their awareness programs include “Locker Slam”, directed towards schools, they have shipped over 7,000 magnets to more than 30 schools, including our high school. NJ Coalition Against Human Trafficking has a belief that education is one of the most effective tools in the prevention of human trafficking as people learn the risk factors and warning signs. Look around and see the multi colored magnets on lockers with the National Human Trafficking Hotline to report trafficking and the website link and phrases like: “THERE ARE MORE SLAVES TODAY THAN EVER BEFORE” or “ABOLISH MODERN-DAY SLAVERY”. This is used to provide resources and support in awareness efforts.
“ The reason we do it is because January is human trafficking awareness month, and I run the human rights coalition. So we care very much of people’s human rights if they been violated or not, and one of the quintessential essential of human rights is freedom and not being enslaved. Human trafficking is like the modern word for slavery when you transport people from different places whether they want to or not. Later, they started this concept of the locker slam to make people aware of what is going on in your state” Ms. Passner, history teacher, said.
Think you might have seen human trafficking but unsure? Learn more about the signs of trafficking and what you can do on the NJ Coalition Against Human Trafficking website by clicking the link below! You can also call the Human Trafficking Hotlines in New Jersey, which is 855-363-6548 or call the National Call Center (888-373-7888).