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January is Morris County Anti-Trafficking Prevention Month – Morris County, New Jersey

 

Published January 25, 2023

Proclamation presented to Mendham resident Dr Christine Blood

The Morris County Board of Commissioners today proclaimed January 2023 Morris County Human Trafficking Prevention Month Raise awareness of human trafficking and inform the public on how to detect and prevent this crime.

During the public session of the Board in Morristown, Dr. Christine Blood, Mendham resident and President of Prism Medical Communications, presented on the issue of trafficking in children. Doctor Blood came over Deputy Director Commissioner Christine Myers regarding public speaking on the issue of child trafficking, Deputy Director Myers fully supported the request. She invited her Morris County Attorney’s Office and Morris County Sheriff’s Office to a working meeting of the Morris County Board of Commissioners on January 25, 2023 to address this issue directly.

“This is a problem that is little known and difficult to talk about. It’s even harder to accept that this could be happening here in Morris County. I applaud Dr. Blood as a citizen for taking on this important initiative. Here’s how our district is making a difference – individuals are helping to prevent this growing atrocity,” Deputy Director Myers said.

Dr. Blood opened her presentation with a nasty statistic: two babies are sold every 60 seconds, mostly from Mexico to the United States. Her focus shifted to the Goya Cares initiative (and the importance of addressing this widespread crisis.

After her speech Commissioner Director John Crikkus thanked Dr. Blood and handed her a signed, framed copy of the appeal.

Bureau of Judicial Statistics (BJS), main United States source for criminal justice statistics, reports that the number of persons prosecuted for human trafficking increased from 729 in 2011 to 1343 in 2020, i.e. by 84%.

During the working session Prosecutor Robert J. Carroll and Morris County Senior Assistant Attorney Laura Magnone, member Attorney General’s Task Force on Human Trafficking Morris County Criminal Investigators spoke about the efforts being made by the Morris County Attorney’s Office to tackle the problem at the regional level.

First human trafficking trial in Morris County, State v. Aldofus Mimstook place in 2019. Mims was convicted of human trafficking, promoting the prostitution of two minors, sexual assault, endangering the welfare of a child, and distributing heroin, and was sentenced to 40 years in state prison without parole. The test gained national recognition when Senior Assistant Attorney Magnone and Sergeant Marshall Wang were invited to present the case at North American Conference on Human Trafficking took place in September 2022 in Las Vegas. Law enforcement from over 39 states and three countries attended.

“We conducted undercover operations to search for victims of human trafficking and bring to justice those who commit such crimes. We work with numerous municipalities in Morris County and are proud that we have been able to bring back many of the victims of these operations,” Senior Assistant Attorney Magnone said.

The Morris County Attorney’s Office conducts human trafficking education seminars for the police academy, Morris County schools, local organizations and the general public, and trains staff at the Morris County Correctional Facility, Youth Home and Juvenile Detention Center. They hold monthly meetings and group training sessions with the Morris County Correctional Facility to assist members in identifying potential victims of human trafficking within the facility.

Morris County Bureau of Corrections Deputy Sheriff Alan J. Robinson, long time Representative of Project Alert (America’s Law Enforcement Retirement Group) per National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), provided updates on Help project proposal.

Project proposal Help is an anti-trafficking Morris County Correctional Facility (MCCF) initiative developed in October 2020 to identify and assist incoming inmates who are potential victims of human trafficking, sex trafficking, or forced labor. Initiative agreed with Social Services, FBI Newark Field Office and Suffolk County Sheriff’s Officewhich runs one of the most successful human trafficking programs in correctional facilities nationwide.

Undersheriff Robinson stated: “After the success of the first poster contest 2nd Morris County Middle and High School Poster Competition on Human Trafficking is currently in place. This program directly invites and informs the most vulnerable groups of the population and victims of human trafficking. It also ensures that the issue is brought to the attention of the children’s parents in the schools.”

AND Human Trafficking Committee Consisting of MCCF Correctional Police, Morris County Attorney’s Office, Newark FBI Field Office, Battered Women of Jersey Society, and the New Jersey State Board of Inquiry, meets monthly to address policy issues.

Correctional Police Captain Joseph Michael Fucci who chairs the Anti-Trafficking Committee, was the first senior official to introduce a program such as Project Offer Help to any county correctional facility in New Jersey. Jennifer Kastner with the MCCF Department of Social Services and Retired Detective Corporal Edwin Santanacurrently a civilian systems analyst at the Morris County Sheriff’s Office, support the success of the program.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Strategy to Combat Trafficking in Persons, Importation of Forced Labor Goods, and Sexual Exploitation of Children (January 2020) reports that human trafficking and sexual exploitation of children remain underreported crimes as victims rarely seek help, whether it be inability or exploitation of their vulnerability that prevents them from seeking help.

Victims are rarely aware of their rights and how to get help, or they are afraid to reach out for fear of being hurt, arrested or deported.

According to Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) and its 2003, 2005, and 2008 reauthorizations, human trafficking occurred if a person was forced into labor or commercial sexual intercourse through force, fraud, or coercion. Any person under the age of 18 who engages in commercial sex is considered a victim of human trafficking, regardless of whether force, fraud or coercion was used.

To report suspicions of human trafficking, importation of forced labor goods, or child sexual exploitation to federal law enforcement, call: 1-866-347-2423. To get help from National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-373-7888 Or text HELP or INFO to 233733 (FREE). To get help in case of sexual exploitation of children from National Center for Missing and Exploited Children: 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) or report.cybertip.org.

 

A PHOTO:

Top right: Commissioner Douglas R. Cabana, Commissioner Deborah Smith, Bureau of Corrections Associate Sheriff Alan J. Robinson, Commissioner Stephen H. Shaw, Director John Crikkus, Attorney Robert J. Carroll, Dr. Christine Blood, Senior Assistant Attorney Laura Magnone, Deputy Director Christine Myers, Chief Assistant Attorney Maggie Calderwood, Commissioner Typhoon Selenium, Commissioner Thomas J. Mastrangelo.

Top left: Dr. Kristin Blood speaks to the Commissioners for Combating Child Trafficking.

Center right: (left) Director Commissioner John Crikkus, Dr. Christine Blood, and Deputy Director Commissioner Christine Myers.

Center left: Morris County Bureau of Corrections Under Sheriff Alan J. Robinson.

Bottom right: Morris County Attorney Robert J. Carroll, Senior Assistant Attorney Laura Magnone, Chief Assistant Attorney Maggie Calderwood (seated).

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