This article was contributed by Mary Ann Fusco of NJ Safe & Sound.
Psychological coercion and isolation—elements of undue influence and predatory alienation—are among the weapons that human traffickers use to control and exploit their victims.
Since 2012, NJ Safe & Sound volunteers have been educating the public on how to recognize the tactics of coercive control and other forms of extreme undue influence, and encouraging New Jersey lawmakers to offer legal recourse against such psychological abuse.
On May 8, 2017, Governor Chris Christie signed into law S2562/A4244, which calls on the NJ Department of Children and Families and the NJ Department of Human Services to study predatory alienation and its effects on young adults and senior citizens. The bill, which had robust bipartisan support with nine sponsors from both sides of the aisle in the Senate and seven in the Assembly, passed both houses of the Legislature unanimously.
The Rutgers University School of Social Work has been funded to conduct the study on predatory alienation, and researchers are in the process of holding confidential interviews with victims, advocates, and other stakeholders from the fields of law enforcement, education, and mental heath. They expect to issue a report with recommendations in mid-November.
Based in Teaneck, NJ Safe & Sound is proud to be a member of the NJ Coalition Against Human Trafficking. More information is available at www.njsafeandsound.org and www.facebook.com/njsafeandsound.