A bill that tightens restrictions on the practice of human trafficking has been approved by the New Jersey Senate.

Human Trafficking Awareness (Uriel Sinai, Getty Images)

Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle says the practice of coercing people into prostitution, labor and drug activity isn't just restricted to impoverished, foreign countries. The Bergen County Democrat also says the measure approved Monday doesn't go far enough.

Human trafficking has been classified as a felony in New Jersey since 2005. The state's Division of Criminal Justice has reported 179 cases of trafficking in the past seven years, and experts estimate the often unreported cases could number in the thousands.

The bill expands the law to criminalize additional activities related to human trafficking and increase protections for victims, among other actions.

The full Assembly is scheduled to vote on the measure Thursday.

 

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