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Trenton Times article on Smith bill'House passes Smith's human trafficking bill'
By Jonathan D. Salant | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
Legislation sponsored by a New Jersey lawmaker to renew programs to combat human trafficking overwhelmingly passed the House Tuesday.
The Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act of 2022 would earmark more than $1.1 billion to provide shelters, mental health care, education, life skills and job training for victims of trafficking. It would spend $35 million for housing to help women escaping their captors and increase education for children to teach them about trafficking and grooming.
“Human traffickers never take a holiday, nor can we,” said Rep. Chris Smith, R-4th Dist., the bill’s chief sponsor. “Because traffickers and the nefarious networks they lead always find new ways to exploit the vulnerable, especially women and children, we must aggressively strengthen laws and their implementation.”
The vote was 401-20, with only House Republicans voting no. All 12 New Jersey representatives supported the legislation.
The measure also renewed the Department of Homeland Security’s Angel Watch Center, which was created by Smith’s International Megan’s Law, signed in 2016 by then-President Barack Obama. Smith said more than 7,000 convicted sex offenders have been blocked from traveling overseas under the law so far.
The law requires that foreign governments be alerted when registered sex offenders travel abroad. It was named for Megan Kanka, a 7-year-old from Hamilton who was sexually assaulted and killed in 1994 by a convicted sex offender who lived across the street.
This latest bill was named for the former slave who became an abolitionist. Douglass’ great-great-great grandson, Kenneth Morris Jr., joined Smith at a 2017 press conference to push similar legislation, and then-President Donald Trump signed an anti-trafficking bill sponsored by Smith in 2019.
This article ran on July 29, 2022 on page 5 of the print edition of the Trenton Times and can be found online at: