Women’s Safety and Public Transportation: New Jersey Assembly Bill 2638

Bill: New Jersey Assembly Bill 2638 – Requires public transportation employees to complete training course on handling and responding to suspected human trafficking.

Date: June 10, 2020

Sponsors: Rep. William Moen, Rep. Carol Murphy, Rep. Gabriela Mosquera

Hearing Date: No hearing currently scheduled 

Committee: Assembly Judiciary Committee

Contact: Drake Institute of Research and Policy, 202-891-1988

POSITION: SUPPORT  WITH  AMENDMENT

The Drake Institute of Research and Policy SUPPORTS New Jersey Assembly Bill No. 2638 if amended per the recommendations proffered below. The bill calls on the New Jersey Legislature to pass, and the Governor to sign legislation to establish a one-time training course, in consultation with the Commission on Human Trafficking, for New Jersey Transit Corporation employees. 

Human trafficking was made federally illegal in the United States in 2000 through the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. In 2018, the National Human Trafficking Hotline identified 15,042 female victims of human trafficking. Transportation systems play an important role as traffickers use every opportunity that presents itself to recruit new victims. Bus stops and train stations are believed by traffickers to have vulnerable individuals and traffickers search out potential victims in these environments. Since 55% of transit riders are women, they are more vulnerable to predation on public transit systems.  In particular, runaway youth are one of the most vulnerable populations that frequent transportation hubs and are estimated to comprise 41.4% of child sex trafficking victims. 

Women who ride public transit regularly are more vulnerable to sexual harassment, assault, and human trafficking. New Jersey Assembly Bill 2638 would present New Jersey Transit Corporation employees with the knowledge of what human trafficking can look like in a transportation setting. Due to the evolving nature of human trafficking, New Jersey Assembly Bill 2638 should also amend the requirement that employees receive a one-time training on human trafficking activities as specified for each department under Section 19 of P.L.2013, c.51 (C:2C:13-12) to the requirement that such a training reoccur every two years to account for changes in the information available about human trafficking. This amendment is necessary as Section 19 of P.L.2013, c.51 (C:2C:13-12) already contains provisions that training materials on human trafficking courses are reviewed and modified every two years. Requiring retraining every two years ensures that any new or updated material is conveyed to employees. Furthermore, the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) encourages the training of employees on the signs and methods of reporting human trafficking. US DOT leads by example by conducting training to all its employees and requiring additional training every three years. New Jersey should follow suit and ensure that additional training are mandatory in order to keep up with new and evolving information surrounding human trafficking. 

For these reasons, the Drake Institute of Research and Policy SUPPORTS the New Jersey State Legislature Assembly Bill No. 2683 if amended as recommended and asks for a FAVORABLE report. 

By: Johana Earnhart

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