Multi-level law enforcement working to combat trafficking | Local News


A dizzying number of agencies are working on the issue of human trafficking in Atlantic City, including the FBI, state police, and local agents. The Atlantic County District Attorney’s Office Victim Witness Unit works with victims of human trafficking, and Chief Assistant District Attorney John Flammer is the Atlantic County Human Trafficking Liaison humans.

A recent statement from the prosecutor’s office warned that a victim of trafficking can look like many people you see every day.

“Mental, physical and emotional coercion are among the main methods of control by the trafficker. It is important to recognize some of these signs that are often displayed by victims of trafficking – submission, engaging in prostitution, physical abuse, living in a cramped space with multiple strangers – and alert law enforcement,” Flamer said.

Flammer said it’s also important to recognize that victims are often under the control of the trafficker or his network for many months or years. Once released, these survivors need lots of time, space and resources to heal, he said.

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One of the resources available to victims of human trafficking in New Jersey is the recently passed Prevention, Protection, and Treatment of Human Trafficking Act, to assist in the erasure of criminal offenses from victims of human trafficking.

“As they move forward, removing certain crimes from their record in accordance with the Prevention, Protection and Treatment of Human Trafficking Act is a way to further the healing process,” Flamer said.

In Atlantic City, a pilot effort by a nonprofit organization is working to help victims of human trafficking…

In March, the State Assembly’s Homeland Security and State Readiness Committee introduced a package of bills aimed at combating human trafficking.

“Human trafficking is one of the most heinous and reprehensible crimes currently threatening public safety. To deprive someone of their agency and subject them to unknown horrors in the form of sex trafficking or forced labor is despicable and inhumane,” said Shanique Speight, an Essex County Democrat MP who leads the committee. She cited information from the National Human Trafficking Hotline which indicates that 1,648 cases of human trafficking were reported in New Jersey between 2007 and 2020.

Local police say they are working with other agencies to address the issue.

“The Atlantic City Police Department has developed a multi-faceted approach to combating human trafficking, including partnering with local, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies, as well as with various social service-oriented groups,” said Sgt. Paul Aristizabal, the department’s public information officer.

Detectives from the ACPD’s Special Investigations Section are working with members of the FBI, the Atlantic County Sheriff’s Office, the New Jersey State Social Services Police and the County Attorney’s Office Atlantic to form the child exploitation and human trafficking task force, he said.

“Additionally, ACPD detectives have joined Volunteers of America (VOA) in conducting educational sessions to inform the public about the warning signs of human trafficking. Detectives also partner with VOA to conduct outreach and offer services to people suspected of being victims of human trafficking,” Aristizabal said.

More recently, the Atlantic City Police Department partnered with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to train all of its officers in the organization’s Missing Kids Readiness program. This training focuses on responding to and investigating cases of missing and sexually exploited children.

If you or someone you know is a victim of human trafficking, call 911 for emergencies, the attorney’s office advises. For victim assistance, call Covenant House at 862-240-2453. Those who believe they have identified a trafficking victim can call the NJ Human Trafficking Hotline at 855-END-NJ-HT or 855-363-6548.

Contact Bill Barlow:


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