#EndDemand: Fighting Sex Trafficking

A special evening event, #EndDemand: Fighting Sex Trafficking – Our Children at Risk, was held in late November 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.

“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, Rep. Huttle sponsored bipartisan legislation in New Jersey, the Human Trafficking Prevention, Protection, and Treatment Act.

Attendees came away with a new found determination to 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. “Awareness of the issue is a start,” said Sharon Falkin of West Orange, NJ who attended. “I want to encourage our legislators to take bold steps against traffickers.”

This program was co-sponsored by 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, Monarch Housing Associates, Church Abolition Network, Covenant House, Jewish Women’s Foundation, World Without Exploitation, NCJW Bergen County Section and NCJW West Morris Section.

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Carol Cohen, (second from left), Chairwoman of the NCJW/Essex Anti-Human Trafficking Committee, is pictured with (from left): Nicole Bryan, PhD, Principal Investigator & Strategic Advisor, Human Trafficking Research, moderator Lauren Hersh, co-founder of World Without Exploitation, Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle of the New Jersey General Assembly, 37th District, and Jayne Bigelsen, Director of Anti-Human Trafficking Initiatives at Covenant House, NY.