TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) — New Jersey law enforcement is highlighting efforts to combat human trafficking during its eighth annual conference on the dilemma in Trenton.
It’s a $9.5 billion a year business worldwide, and the Garden State by fault of geography is right in the middle of it. Newly installed Attorney General Grabir Grewal knows the problem all too well, since he served two years as Bergen County prosecutor.
“Given the situation of where New Jersey is in this country where so many interstate highways bisect us, we’re particularly touched by human trafficking,” Grewal told KYW Newsradio. “It’s the second most profitable trans-national criminal enterprise, second only to narcotics trafficking.”
A victim turned activist told his story and delivered a warning for everyone to be vigilant.
Jerome Elam flirted with suicide as a child sex victim, turned his life around in the Marines and now runs the Trafficking in America Task Force. He says law enforcement can’t fight the battle alone and parents in particularl have to know what to look for in finding a predator in plain sight or online.
“I always like to say that if we can spend an hour learning CPR, we can spend an hour learning sins of human trafficking to save the lives of not only one child but 10 or a hundred,” Elam said.
Efforts within the state are paying off with an arrest in Lawrenceville along 295 just a couple weeks ago and thousands in law enforcement are trained. But invariably citizen tips are valuable. That’s why there’s a hotline set up at 855-END-NJ-HT (855-363-6548.) Tips may also be reported online at www.njhumantrafficking.gov.
And an award was given to Sgt. Noelle Holl, who’s worked for two decades to combat the problem. Health issues have curtailed her work, but this award will be handed out every year to highlight those who carry on.