Untitled Document

March 20, 2014


(Newark, NJ) – Essex County Freeholder Vice President Patricia Sebold tackled the issue of human trafficking on Wednesday, March 19th, when the Board’s resolution proclaiming January 11, 2014, as “Human Trafficking Awareness Day in Essex County” was presented to Melanie Gorelick of Livingston, Director of the Community Relations Committee of Greater MetroWest NJ, and her colleagues from the New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking.

Freeholder Vice President Patricia Sebold (front row, center) presented a Freeholder Board Resolution proclaiming January 11, 2014, as “Human Trafficking Awareness Day in Essex County” to Melanie Gorelick (front row, 3rd from left) of the Community Relations Committee of Greater MetroWest NJ, who was accompanied by other members of the New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking.  PHOTO BY GLEN FRIESON

“This evening I have the pleasure of making a presentation to Melanie Gorelick, a very good friend and someone with whom I’ve worked on many issues at MetroWest for many years”, said Freeholder Sebold, also of Livingston.  “But tonight, we are here to draw attention to a terrible, terrible problem that plagues civilized society everywhere in the world… the scourge of human trafficking… which is modern-day slavery.”  She added, “It imprisons and exploits people, too often women and children, it’s demeaning, it’s criminal, it’s exploitative, it deprives children of their futures and it’s evil.  It should not be permitted to exist in the 21st century, and it is incumbent upon us to do whatever we can to bring it to an end.”  “I want to commend Melanie, as well as her colleagues at MetroWest and the NJ Coalition Against Human Trafficking, for their hard and compassionate work to stamp out this despicable activity.”

“Our goal”, said Gorelick, “is to create an abolitionist movement in New Jersey, the United States and around the world.  We can bring human trafficking to an end if we make people aware of it, if we join forces, and if we engage elected officials at every level of government.”  She explained that the New Jersey Coalition was established in 2011 and has grown from five to over 100 organizations representing every imaginable faith-based, ethnic, educational and governmental entity.  “If we all join hands, we can make a difference.”  She also noted that anyone interested in joining the effort should visit the Coalition’s website at www.njhumantrafficking.org for more information.  Gorelick was accompanied by other members of the Coalition, including: Patricia Devine-Harms, Stephen DeLuca, Ricardo Bradshaw, Lesley Frost, Maida Mendez, Maria Navarro-DeBlasi, Ruthson Noel, Mary Braneck, Bradford Slutsky, Tamiko Suber and Susan Waldman.

The Board’s resolution included the following language:

“WHEREAS, human trafficking is a borderless crime against individuals that violates the most basic human rights and deprives victims of every shred of personal freedom; and

         “WHEREAS, human trafficking occurs when a person is recruited, harbored, obtained or exported through force, fraud, or coercion for the purposes of sexual or labor exploitation, involuntary servitude and other types of mental and physical abuse.  Human traffickers target impoverished and marginalized children, women and men, isolating them from society and supportive networks and exploiting them for personal and monetary gain; and

         “WHEREAS, the United Nations’ International Labour Organization has estimated that at least 12.3 million adults and children worldwide are currently in forced labor, bonded labor or forced prostitution; and it is estimated that more people are now harmed by human trafficking worldwide than have been at any other point in human history.  Approximately 80% of the victims are women and girls, and 50% are younger than age 18; and

         “WHEREAS, the County of Essex stands committed to protecting human rights and individual freedom by eliminating human trafficking and is resolved to support the goals and ideals of observing a National Day of Human Trafficking Awareness on January 11th of each year and to support all efforts by individuals, businesses, organizations and governing bodies to raise awareness of and opposition to human trafficking; and

         “WHEREAS, the County of Essex commends the work of the NJ Coalition Against Human Trafficking for its statewide efforts to end human trafficking through education, advocacy and assistance to survivors, and to increase coordination and visibility of New Jersey’s commitment to end human trafficking; now, therefore, be it

“RESOLVED, that the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders hereby proclaims January 11, 2014, as “Human Trafficking Awareness Day” in Essex County to raise awareness about the signs and consequences of human trafficking, to promote reporting mechanisms and opposition to human trafficking in all of its forms, and to encourage support for the survivors of human trafficking throughout the State of New Jersey and across the world to put an end to this criminal activity and restore freedom and dignity to its survivors.”


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For Additional Information:
Gary Kroessig, Public Information
Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders



Board of Chosen Freeholders, County of Essex
Hall of Records - Room 558, 465 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Blvd., Newark, New Jersey 07102
Tel: (973) 621-4486 Fax: (973) 621-5695