MORRIS COUNTY, NJ – The Morris County Board of County Commissioners on Wednesday recognized January as National Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Observed annually since 2010, the goal is to raise awareness about human trafficking, and to educate the public on how to identify and prevent this crime.
The proclamation celebrates the efforts of foreign governments, international organizations, anti-trafficking entities, law enforcement officials, survivor advocates, communities of faith, businesses, and private citizens all around the world to combat human trafficking.
Anyone can be a victim of human trafficking. However, those more susceptible to becoming victims are often the most vulnerable individuals in our population, such as runaways, homeless individuals, or those looking to fulfill a basic need.
In recognition of this public awareness campaign, Morris County Prosecutor Robert Carroll, First Assistant Prosecutor Maggie Calderwood, and Senior Assistant Prosecutor Laura Magnone, the Human Trafficking Liaison for the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, were present during the issuance of the proclamation. Senior AP Magnone briefed the Commissioners on the MCPO’s strategy in regards to human trafficking.
Morris County’s first Human Trafficking trial was State v. Aldophus Mims. Mims was convicted of Human Trafficking, Promoting Prostitution of two Minors, Sexual Assault, Endangering the Welfare of a Child and Distribution of Heroin. Mims was subsequently sentenced to 40 years in New Jersey State Prison, and must serve forty years before he is eligible for parole. Senior AP Magnone and Sgt. Marshall Wang were asked to present the case at the North American Human Trafficking conference held this past September in Las Vegas.
Senior AP Magnone reported that the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office has conducted undercover operations to recover victims of human trafficking and to prosecute those who commit such crimes, in conjunction with local law enforcement. Members of the MCPO teach regularly at the police academy, and have hosted educational assemblies at Morris County schools for school staff, parents and students. The MCPO participates in quarterly meetings and trainings with the Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Task Force and with other prosecutors around the state.
The MCPO also provides training to the staff at Morris County Correctional Facility, the Youth Shelter and Youth Detention Center on human trafficking. In addition, members of the MCPO meet monthly with Morris County Correctional Facility personnel for a victim-assistance program called Project Offer Help, to identify potential victims of human trafficking within the correctional facility.
According to the proclamation, it is estimated to be more than 27.6 million people — adults and children — subjected to human trafficking around the world, including in the United States.
“Human trafficking is an abhorrent crime that exists both in the shadows of society as well as right in front of us. Human trafficking includes sexual trafficking as well as labor trafficking. Traffickers force their victims to do jobs which are often illegal and keep their victims dependent on them through threats, holding on to victims’ identification, and taking away any money that is earned. We support all efforts which encourage awareness and education of the issue of human trafficking,” Carroll said.
Anyone that observes suspicious activity that may be human trafficking, immediately report the situation to your local police department or to the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office at 973-285-6200.