Human Trafficking and Slavery
From our national website: “NCJW supports the elimination of human trafficking and has a long history of opposition to this practice. At the turn of the twentieth century, NCJW spoke out against ‘white slavery’ exploitation and sweatshop labor and provided assistance to young female immigrants arriving alone and without resources. Today, NCJW continues to condemn the trade in human beings that exploits thousands, predominantly women, each year for sexual exploitation, forced labor, and domestic servitude, among other purposes. The centerpiece of the U.S. government’s efforts to combat trafficking is the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA). Originally signed into law in 2000, the 110th Congress began considering a reauthorization of the TVPA in 2007. This bill, known as the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2007 (HR 3887), passed the House on December 4, 2007 but stalled in the Senate. The 110th Congress did not complete action on this legislation before adjournment. NCJW does not have a position on this bill as it is currently drafted.” To learn more visit, these websites: www.ncjw.org and www.polarisproject.org.
Our Section has joined hands with a local branch of a national organization, called Polaris, to help combat and respond to human trafficking. This national organization is named after the North Star, which guided slaves toward freedom along the Underground Railroad.
The Polaris Project has been providing a comprehensive approach to combating human trafficking and modern-day slavery since 2002. When victims escape their traffickers, they often come to Polaris without personal possessions or resources of their own. The Polaris Project provides clients with the basic necessities to start a new life.
Supporting Street Smart
Street Smart is an agency that helps homeless youth in Morris County. There are two caseworkers who literally go where homeless youth gather and offer assistance, develop relationships, and connect the youth with agencies that can help them find housing, jobs, and educational opportunities. Some of the youth have said that this is the first time in their lives that adults have shown that they cared about them.
Youth become homeless when they run away from abusive homes, are kicked out of their homes due to family problems, or age out of the foster care system and have no place to go when they turn eighteen. According to FBI statistics, if a youth runs away and is not found by their family within seventy-two hours, a trafficker will find them and they will easily become victims of human trafficking. We donate clothing and other supplies to this agency.
Separation of Religion and State
NCJW, West Morris Section recognizes the importance of the separation of religion and state and supports the use of public funds solely to finance public education.
Strategies to Prevent Domestic Violence
NCJW, West Morris Section raises awareness of the pervasiveness of domestic violence, as founding member and participant in the Rachel Coalition, which offers a kosher safe house, counseling, peer support groups and limited legal advice to victims of domestic violence.
Support for Israel
NCJW, West Morris Section recognizes the contributions that Israel is making to the world community and stands ready to support Israel.
NJ Coalition Against Human Trafficking Update
Many members of our Section participated in the SOAP campaign before the Super Bowl in 2014. We distributed thousands of bars of soap with the HT hotline phone number printed on their labels to hotels in northern New Jersey. The Coalition continues this project in 2015 in Essex and Middlesex counties and in 2016 in Atlantic and Union counties.
Many members of our Section spoke with our local mayors and freeholders, and successfully requested that they issue proclamations declaring that January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month and January 11th is Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Now the Coalition is expanding this effort by advocating for the NJ State League of Municipalities to pass a more binding resolution to institutionalize these declarations and also to create a non-accusatory rating of municipalities’ efforts to end Human Trafficking.
This year, the Human Trafficking Awareness Day official observance will take place on Saturday, January 16, at Calvary Temple in Wayne. The Coalition has over 110 member organizations, and the Church Abolition Network is convening this event. Unfortunately for NCJW, this will take place on Shabbat, so we cannot officially support it. However, for more information, you can visit the Coalition website, www.NJhumantrafficking.org, or write to CAN@calvarynj.com.
The main focus of the Coalition this year will be on prevention, done through education at high schools and colleges with the aim of engaging students and teachers in fighting human trafficking.
The Coalition has received a grant to purchase supplies to make plywood silhouettes which each member organization can embellish to represent a victim of Human Trafficking. This is where our own Section can be a leader. We would like to reach out to student groups to encourage them to participate in this project. This includes not only local schools, but synagogue youth groups. This project isn’t limited to just students. We can embellish a silhouette ourselves.
The silhouettes will be displayed at community events to promote public awareness of this important issue. Our Section can help to make this happen by organizing a community event on a Sunday in early April that would include a dramatic presentation, a fair trade goods sale, and—just to make things interesting—a judging of the silhouettes. The grant money includes funds for prizes to give to organizations to help fund their HT projects.
If you would like to participate in the silhouette or the SOAP projects, please contact Susan Neigher at firstname.lastname@example.org.