The week before Thanksgiving, Rep. Chris Smith, R-NJ 4, delivered the following speech to Borgata Hotel, Atlantic City, in front of hundreds of county prosecutors in the County Prosecutors Association of New Jersey.

In the speech, Smith warned of the dangers of trafficking, a public security risk that he had warned people about for decades. However, legislators and the general public have only recently realized how serious it is, he says.

Smith is the longtime Republican Congressional Congressman for the fourth congressional district covering almost the entire county of Monmouth, including the cities of Holmdel, Middletown, Colts Neck, Rumson, Manalapan, Freehold, Red Bank and Wall Township. The fourth district also spans Jackson and Lakewood in Ocean County, as well as Hamilton and Robbinsville in Mercer County. After the half-time in the fall of 2018, Smith was the only Republican Congressman in New Jersey who could keep his seat.

About ten years ago, Smith gained national fame after helping Holmdel-born David Goldman retrieve his abducted son from Brazil.

Here are excerpts from Smith's speech of November 24:

"When I introduced the Law on the Protection of Victims of Trafficking (TVPA) for the first time more than twenty years ago, the law encountered a wall of skepticism and opposition that many rejected as a solution to finding a problem Congress members turned away When I asked them to support the bill, I was depressed, and for most people at the time – including lawmakers – the term "trade" was almost exclusively for drugs and weapons, not humans.

Reports of vulnerable people, especially women and children, for sale often met with surprise, disbelief or indifference.

My legislation – the Law on the Protection of Victims of Trafficking, signed in 2000, which provided for a new national and international strategy for the entire government, including numerous new programs for victim protection, trafficking and, where possible, prevention of this strategy. the three Ps.

(Over the years, I have issued four additional anti-trafficking laws, including 2003, 2005, 2016 and 2019.)

Of particular interest to you as a prosecutor was that the Law on the Protection of Victims of Trafficking provided for a series of reforms to the Criminal Code on "Marine Change", including the treatment of individuals who had failed to meet a commercial sexual act that did not comply with the law; 18 years were used as victims and not as perpetrators of a crime, and all older persons in whom violence, deceit or coercion existed.

The TVPA radically reformed the US Criminal Code to authorize the confiscation of assets and imprisonment up to life imprisonment.

Thousands of traffickers have been prosecuted and imprisoned under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, including all charges against Jeffrey Epstein and the infamous sentencing of Smallville actress Allison Mack and another recent Monmouth County case.

That is, assuming that the federal law requires parallel state and local laws to implement an effective law enforcement strategy, my law included new judicial authority programs to assist states in drafting laws and approved the creation of new task forces to combat them trafficking – there today There are 57 task forces across the country.

Obviously you know the law of Megan that protects children at home and work to implement it. In 2008, for the first time, I introduced the International Megan Law. It was passed in 2010, 2014, and 2016 – and luckily it has finally unlocked the United States Senate and was enacted in 2016 – eight years later!

As you can remember, Megan Kanka came from my hometown of Hamilton and was only seven years old when she was kidnapped, raped and brutally murdered in 1994. Her attacker lived across the street. Unknown to her family and other neighbors, he was a convicted repeat offender.

Megan's broken parents – Maureen and Richard Kanka – have been incredibly effective, courageous and heroic in successfully getting every union state, including New Jersey, to pass Megan's law.

Why the international Megan law? We know from law enforcement, academic, and media documentation that Americans are frequently caught in the US sex offenders registers in Asia, Central and South America, Europe, and frankly, often, sexually abusing children. The inherent international travel secret allows the exploitation of children.

A deeply troubling 2010 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report revealed that in 2008 alone, at least 4,500 US passports were issued to registered sex offenders. Typically, a passport is valid for 10 years, which means that some or many of the tens of thousands of registered sexual offenders who hold a passport are in search of exploitation and abuse internationally.

Under international megan law, condemned sex offenders traveling abroad must notify the US government – via the Angel Watch Center – of all planned goals. Otherwise, a significant prison sentence will be imposed, equivalent to a convicted child abuse that does not go to local law enforcement agencies. Upon receipt of the itinerary, the US government will inform the destination country or countries of destination of these plans.

The destination country or countries will then be provided with useful information to make the traveler ineligible.

The law works as intended. In just over two years, the US government has informed foreign governments about the planned trip of 10,541 captured sex offenders to their countries. As of July, 3,681 people convicted of sex crimes against children were denied entry from these nations.

In January last year, President Trump signed my fifth law against trafficking, the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Act.

This law provides:

• Over $ 430 million for numerous programs and initiatives;
• housing, interventions and reintegration of victims of trafficking;
• Facilitate supply chains that are free of human trafficking in US trade;
• Training of US Government clients in reducing the purchase of goods and services related to sex or trafficking
• Government travel reservations preference for those airlines that have a workable situational awareness protocol to detect and report suspected trafficking incidents.

Importantly, the new Frederick Douglass Act also authorizes the Minister of Health and Human Services, in collaboration with a non-profit non-governmental organization, to award grants to local educational institutions to set up, expand and support programs:

• educate school staff to recognize and respond to signs of sex and trafficking;
• Provide students with age-appropriate information on how to avoid becoming victims of sexual and human trafficking.

Victims of trafficking hide in public. Victims are our neighbors. As a prosecutor, you have achieved great things. However, more needs to be done to protect the weakest and the weakest from this cruelty.