A South Jersey activist is applauding state Assemblywoman Valerie Vanieri Huttle and her proposal to crack down on human trafficking.
"What she's doing is amazing," says Kelly Master, founder of Dining for Dignity, a faith-based organization that raises awareness about human trafficking and its costs. See the column I wrote about the group here.
The Human Trafficking Prevention, Protection and Treatment Act proposed by Vanieri Huttle, a Bergen County Democrat, would set up a 15-member commission to focus law enforcement and other governmental resources and responses.
The proposal, which also would increase fines and penalties for those convicted of promoting human trafficking and establish a fund for victims, was approved Monday by the Assembly's judiciary committee.
While she welcomes the attention being paid to the issue, Master did sound a cautionary note.
"Human trafficking is becoming a buzz word," as well as a potentially inappropriate catch-all term for offenses that may not involve commercial exploitation, she says.
Nevertheless, "I think there's an awakening," Master adds. "For people who didn't realize it was happening, there's an anger that rises up."
That's for sure.