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Bill Would Tighten Ban On Human Trafficking In New Jersey

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- A bill that would add additional teeth to the ban on human trafficking has been approved by the New Jersey State Senate.

Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Englewood) said the current ban does not go far enough. She said the practice of coercing people into prostitution, labor and drug activity isn't just restricted to impoverished, foreign countries.

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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