The Division of Criminal Justice reported 179 cases of human trafficking in New Jersey in the past seven years, but experts estimate thousands of incidents occurring in the state annually.
This reporting discrepancy is often attributed to victims' fear of coming forward.
Join us for the third event of the four-part "Just Talk" series on Human Trafficking. Ingrid Johnson, College of Nursing alumna, manager at Overlook Medical Center and member of the New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking, will speak about her daughter's first-hand experience with the horrors of human trafficking. Also speaking will be FBI Agent Keyla Munoz, a victim specialist and graduate of the University's police studies program.
Thursday, March 21 at 6 p.m.
Jubilee Hall Auditorium
Ingrid Johnson's daughter, now 22 and a junior in college, was 13 when she became a victim of human trafficking. She was finally rescued at the age of 15 after hiding in a gas station bathroom and making a phone call to her mother. Johnson then contacted authorities, put up posters and searched the neighborhood the phone call was traced to. A few months later, her daughter was finally spotted.
As a victim specialist, Keyla Munoz is responsible for providing assistance and resources to victims identified in federal crimes. Since 2003, she initiated her role in providing direct services to victims of human trafficking cases. She is a part of the New Jersey Anti-Trafficking Task Force, which is spearheaded by the Attorney General's Office, Division of Criminal Justice. Like Johnson, she is also involved in the New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking. In 2009, Munoz received the Director's Award for Excellence for Distinguished Service for Assisting Victims of Crime, the most prestigious achievement in the FBI.
Both Johnson and Munoz have worked with Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle on garnering support for the "Human Trafficking Prevention, Protection and Treatment Act." The bill establishes a 15-member Commission on Human Trafficking, under the Department of Law and Public Safety. It evaluates existing human trafficking laws and victim assistance programs, seeks to better educate law enforcement personnel on human trafficking, promotes a more coordinated response by public and private resources for victims and enacts stricter punishments for the traffickers.
The "Just Talk" series ends on April 24 with a visit from Ambassador Luis De Baca from the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. Look for more details on this event in the coming weeks.
For more information please contact: