On National Human Trafficking Awareness DaySmith calls on House to pass Frederick Douglass bill to bolster efforts to combat modern-day slavery
Marking National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), an international leader in the fight to combat human trafficking, today recognized the dedicated work of grassroots anti-trafficking organizations to combat modern-day slavery and called on the House to immediately pass the comprehensive Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act of 2021 (H.R. 5150) that he and Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) authored to bolster efforts to end the scourge of human trafficking.
“Human traffickers have benefitted from a culture of denial and a lack of awareness throughout our communities,” said Smith. “Education and awareness programs—especially and including those provided by local grassroots organizations—are the victim’s best friend and the trafficker’s worst nightmare and go a long way toward preventing this heinous crime in the first place.”
“The amazing work done by organizations across the country—including the NJ Coalition Against Human Trafficking, Prevent Child Abuse-New Jersey, the Child Wellness Institute, Covenant House NJ, and the NJ Restaurant and Hospitality Association in my home state—has protected so many vulnerable people from exploitation while providing tremendous support and resources to victims,” said Smith.
Smith said that while incredible progress has been made to bring awareness to human trafficking since his historic Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 was signed into law, Congress must take further action to provide additional resources to eradicate trafficking.
“The House must take immediate action and pass the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act of 2021—which would provide approximately $1.6 billion over five years to strengthen and expand education, awareness and other critical programs that protect victims, prosecute perpetrators and prevent trafficking,” said Smith.
“We cannot let our guard down,” Smith said. “We must continue to do everything we can to stop predators from harming the most vulnerable and innocent among us.”
Recognized each year on January 11th, National Human Trafficking Awareness Day is part of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month and is commemorated by the Blue Campaign run by the Department of Homeland Security, which encourages people to wear blue on this day to raise public awareness of human trafficking.
To report human trafficking in New Jersey, call the NJ Human Trafficking Hotline at (855) 363-6548, or call the national hotline at (888) 373-7888 to report anywhere in the United States.