Law enforcement officials say efforts to prevent human trafficking in New Jersey are making a difference.
Assistant Attorney General Tracy Thompson, who chairs the New Jersey Human Trafficking Task Force, said increased awareness of the crime is spurring more people to report incidents of forced labor and sexual exploitation. But some victims, she said, are still reluctant to come forward.
“To the extent that there are threats — and threats of abuse and actual physical abuse — those cases are a lot more difficult especially when they’re away from their families alone in this state or alone in this country,” Thompson said Friday.
Some victims are brainwashed or drug dependent, said acting Attorney General John Hoffman. One goal of his office, he said, is to help victims get access to health care and an education to restore their dignity and give them the opportunity for a better life.
“Some don’t even know or think that human trafficking is a crime because it might not be a crime where they come from,” he said. “Some don’t trust that the justice system is there to help them.”