ASSEMBLY, No. 4477

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

221st LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED JUNE 3, 2024

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman  JESSICA RAMIREZ

District 32 (Hudson)

Assemblyman  GABRIEL RODRIGUEZ

District 33 (Hudson)

Assemblywoman  GARNET R. HALL

District 28 (Essex and Union)

Assemblywoman  ELLEN J. PARK

District 37 (Bergen)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Establishes affirmative defense to prosecution for any crime committed by victim of human trafficking under certain circumstances. 

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning crimes committed by victims of human trafficking and amending various parts of the statutory law.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    Section 1 of P.L.2005, c.77 (C.2C:13-8) is amended to read as follows:

     1.    Human trafficking. a. A person commits the crime of human trafficking if he:

     (1)   knowingly holds, recruits, lures, entices, harbors, transports, provides or obtains, by any means, another, to engage in sexual activity as defined in paragraph (2) of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:34-1 or to provide labor or services:

     (a)   by causing or threatening to cause serious bodily harm or physical restraint against the person or any other person;

     (b)   by means of any scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause the person to believe that the person or any other person would suffer serious bodily harm or physical restraint;

     (c)   by committing a violation of N.J.S.2C:13-5 against the person;

     (d)   by destroying, concealing, removing, confiscating, or possessing any passport, immigration-related document as defined in section 1 of P.L.1997, c.1 (C.2C:21-31), or other document issued by a governmental agency to any person which could be used as a means of verifying the person's identity or age or any other personal identifying information;

     (e)   by means of the abuse or threatened abuse of the law or legal process;

     (f)   by means of fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation against the person; or

     (g)   by facilitating access to a controlled dangerous substance or controlled substance analog as set forth in chapter 35 of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes; or

     (2)   receives anything of value from participation as an organizer, supervisor, financier or manager in a scheme or course of conduct which violates paragraph (1) of this subsection; or

     (3)   knowingly holds, recruits, lures, entices, harbors, transports, provides or obtains, by any means, a child under 18 years of age, to engage in sexual activity as defined in paragraph (2) of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:34-1, whether or not the actor mistakenly believed that the child was 18 years of age or older, even if that mistaken belief was reasonable.

     b.    An offense under this section constitutes a crime of the first degree.

     c.     It is an affirmative defense to prosecution for [a violation of this section] any offense enumerated in Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes that[,] :

     (1) during the time of the alleged commission of the offense [of human trafficking created by this section], the defendant was a victim of human trafficking; and

     (2) the defendant committed the offense as a direct result of the human trafficking offense committed against the defendant.  

     An affirmative defense pursuant to this subsection shall not be precluded solely due to the fact that a prosecution for the human trafficking offense committed against the defendant terminated without a conviction.

     d.    Notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S.2C:43-6, the term of imprisonment imposed for a crime of the first degree under paragraph (2) or (3) of subsection a. of this section shall be either a term of 20 years during which the actor shall not be eligible for parole, or a specific term between 20 years and life imprisonment, of which the actor shall serve 20 years before being eligible for parole.  Notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S.2C:43-3, the sentence for a conviction for a crime of the first degree under this section shall include a fine in an amount of not less than $25,000, which shall be collected as provided for the collection of fines and restitutions in section 3 of P.L.1979, c.396 (C.2C:46-4) and forwarded to the Department of the Treasury to be deposited in the "Human Trafficking Survivor's Assistance Fund" established by section 2 of P.L.2013, c.51 (C.52:17B-238).

     e.     In addition to any other disposition authorized by law, any person who violates the provisions of this section shall be ordered to make restitution to any victim. The court shall award to the victim restitution which is the greater of:

     (1)   the gross income or value to the defendant of the victim's labor or services; or

     (2)   the value of the victim's labor or services as determined by the "New Jersey Prevailing Wage Act," P.L.1963, c.150 (C.34:11-56.25 et seq.), the "New Jersey State Wage and Hour Law," P.L.1966, c.113 (C.34:11-56a et seq.), the Seasonal Farm Labor Act, P.L.1945, c.71 (C.34:9A-1 et seq.), the laws concerning the regulation of child labor in chapter 2 of Title 34 of the Revised Statutes, or any other applicable State law, and the "Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938," 29 U.S.C. s.201 et seq., or any other applicable federal law.

(cf: P.L.2013, c.51, s.3)

 

     2.    Section 5 of P.L.2013, c.51 (C.2C:13-9) is amended to read as follows:

     5. a. A person commits a crime of the second degree if he:

     (1) provides services, resources, or assistance with the knowledge that the services, resources, or assistance are intended to be used in furtherance of the commission of the crime of human trafficking in violation of section 1 of P.L.2005, c.77 (C.2C:13-8).

     (a)   For purposes of this paragraph, "services, resources, or assistance" shall include financial support, business services, lodging, transportation, the provision of false documentation or identification, equipment, facilities, or any other service or property with a pecuniary value that exceeds $200, whether or not a person is compensated for the services, resources, or assistance, but shall not include humanitarian or charitable aid or services provided directly to a victim of human trafficking.

     (b)   For purposes of this paragraph, the requisite knowledge that services, resources, or assistance are intended to be used in furtherance of the commission of the crime of human trafficking may be inferred if the defendant was aware that a person to whom the defendant was providing services, resources, or assistance: (i) was subject to or subjected another to restrictions on the person's freedom of movement, so that the person could not leave without accompaniment of another person or was otherwise subjected to obvious restrictions on mobility; or (ii) did not possess or have access to any means of communication, including but not limited to a cellular or other wireless telephone or other electronic communication device, and was not permitted or was otherwise unable to communicate with another person without supervision or permission; or

     (2)   procures or attempts to procure a person to engage in sexual activity as defined in paragraph (2) of subsection a. of N.J.S.2C:34-1, or to provide labor or services, whether for himself or another person, knowing that the person provided or to be provided was a victim of human trafficking, or under circumstances in which a reasonable person would conclude that there was a substantial likelihood that the person was a victim of human trafficking. 

     (a)   For purposes of this paragraph, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the defendant knew, and that a reasonable person would conclude there was a substantial likelihood, that a person was a victim of human trafficking if the person: (i) could not leave the premises where the person provided labor or services without accompaniment of another person or was otherwise subjected to significant restrictions on the person's freedom of movement; or (ii) did not possess or have access to any means of communication, including but not limited to a cellular or other wireless telephone or other electronic communication device, and was not permitted or was otherwise unable to communicate with another person without supervision or permission.

     (b)   For the purposes of this paragraph, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that:  (i) a person knew that a child under the age of 18 years of age procured to engage in sexual activity or for whom attempts were made to procure for that activity was a victim of human trafficking; and (ii) a reasonable person would conclude that there was a substantial likelihood that a child under the age of 18 years of age procured to engage in sexual activity or for whom attempts were made to procure for that activity was a victim of human trafficking.

     b. (1) [It] Pursuant to the provisions of subsection c. of section 1 of P.L.2005, c.77, (C.2C:13-8), is an affirmative defense to prosecution for a violation of this section that[,]:

     (a) during the time of the alleged commission of the crime, the defendant was a victim of human trafficking; and

     (b) the defendant committed the crime as a direct result of the human trafficking offense committed against the defendant.

     (2)   There shall be a rebuttable presumption that a child under the age of 18 years of age charged with a violation of this section was a victim of human trafficking.

     c. (1) Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, a person convicted for a violation of this section shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment, which shall include a period of parole ineligibility of one-third to one-half of the term of imprisonment imposed or three years, whichever is greater.  Notwithstanding the provisions of N.J.S.2C:43-3, the sentence for a conviction under this section shall include a fine in an amount of not less than $15,000, which shall be collected as provided for the collection of fines and restitutions in section 3 of P.L.1979, c.396 (C.2C:46-4) and forwarded to the Department of the Treasury to be deposited in the "Human Trafficking Survivor's Assistance Fund" established by section 2 of P.L.2013, c.51 (C.52:17B-238).

     (2)   Additionally, upon a finding of guilt or entry of a guilty plea for a crime described under this section, the court shall direct any issuing State, county, or municipal governmental agency to revoke any license, permit, certificate, approval, registration, charter, or similar form of business or professional authorization required by law concerning the operation of that person's business or profession, if that business or profession was used in the course of the crime.

     d.    Nothing in this section shall be construed to preclude, or limit in any way, the prosecution and conviction for any other offense, including prosecution and conviction pursuant to section 1 of P.L.2005, c.77 (C.2C:13-8), human trafficking, N.J.S.2C:34-1, prostitution and related offenses, and N.J.S.2C:2-6, liability for another's conduct.

(cf: P.L.2013, c.51, s.5)

 

     3.    N.J.S.2C:34-1 is amended to read as follows:

     2C:34-1.  Prostitution and Related Offenses.

     a.     As used in this section:

     (1)   "Prostitution" is sexual activity with another person in exchange for something of economic value, or the offer or acceptance of an offer to engage in sexual activity in exchange for something of economic value.

     (2)   "Sexual activity" includes, but is not limited to, sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, and oral-anal contact, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex; masturbation; touching of the genitals, buttocks, or female breasts; sadistic or masochistic abuse and other deviate sexual relations.

     (3)   "House of prostitution" is any place where prostitution or promotion of prostitution is regularly carried on by one person under the control, management or supervision of another.

     (4)   "Promoting prostitution" is:

     (a)   Owning, controlling, managing, supervising or otherwise keeping, alone or in association with another, a house of prostitution or a prostitution business;

     (b)   Procuring an inmate for a house of prostitution or place in a house of prostitution for one who would be an inmate;

     (c)   Encouraging, inducing, or otherwise purposely causing another to become or remain a prostitute;

     (d)   Soliciting a person to patronize a prostitute;

     (e)   Procuring a prostitute for a patron;

     (f)   Transporting a person into or within this State with purpose to promote that person's engaging in prostitution, or procuring or paying for transportation with that purpose; or

     (g)   Knowingly leasing or otherwise permitting a place controlled by the actor, alone or in association with others, to be regularly used for prostitution or promotion of prostitution, or failure to make a reasonable effort to abate such use by ejecting the tenant, notifying law enforcement authorities, or other legally available means.

     b.    A person commits an offense if:

     (1)   The actor engages in prostitution as a patron;

     (2)   The actor promotes prostitution;

     (3)   The actor knowingly promotes prostitution of a child under 18 whether or not the actor mistakenly believed that the child was 18 years of age or older, even if such mistaken belief was reasonable;

     (4)   The actor knowingly promotes prostitution of the actor's child, ward, or any other person for whose care the actor is responsible;

     (5)   The actor compels another to engage in or promote prostitution;

     (6)   The actor promotes prostitution of the actor's spouse;

     (7)   The actor knowingly engages in prostitution with a person under the age of 18, or if the actor enters into or remains in a house of prostitution for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity with a child under the age of 18, or if the actor solicits or requests a child under the age of 18 to engage in sexual activity. It shall be no defense to a prosecution under this paragraph that the actor mistakenly believed that the child was 18 years of age or older, even if such mistaken belief was reasonable; or

     (8) The actor engages in prostitution by personally offering sexual activity in exchange for something of economic value.

     c.     Grading of offenses under subsection b.

     (1)   An offense under subsection b. constitutes a crime of the first degree if the offense falls within paragraph (3) or (4) of that subsection.

     (2)   An offense under subsection b. constitutes a crime of the second degree if the offense falls within paragraph (7) of that subsection.

     (3)   An offense under subsection b. constitutes a crime of the third degree if the offense falls within paragraph (5) or (6) of that subsection.

     (4)   An offense under paragraph (2) of subsection b. constitutes a crime of the third degree if the conduct falls within subparagraph (a), (b), (c), (f), or (g) of paragraph (4) of subsection a. Otherwise the offense is a crime of the fourth degree.

     (5)   An offense under subsection b. constitutes a disorderly persons offense if the offense falls within paragraph (1) of that subsection except that a second or third conviction for such an offense constitutes a crime of the fourth degree, and a fourth or subsequent conviction for such an offense constitutes a crime of the third degree.  In addition, where a motor vehicle was used in the commission of any offense under paragraph (1) of subsection b. the court shall suspend for six months the driving privilege of any such offender who has a valid driver's license issued by this State.  Upon conviction, the court shall immediately collect the offender's driver's license and shall forward it, along with a report stating the first and last day of the suspension imposed pursuant to this paragraph, to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission.

     (6)   An offense under subsection b. constitutes a disorderly persons offense if the offense falls within paragraph (8) of that subsection, except that a second or subsequent conviction for such an offense constitutes a crime of the fourth degree.

     d.    Presumption from living off prostitutes.  A person, other than the prostitute or the prostitute's minor child or other legal dependent incapable of self-support, who is supported in whole or substantial part by the proceeds of prostitution is presumed to be knowingly promoting prostitution.

     e.     [It] Pursuant to the provisions of subsection c. of section 1 of P.L.2005, c.77, (C.2C:13-8), it is an affirmative defense to prosecution for a violation of this section that, during the time of the alleged commission of the offense, the defendant was:

     (1) (a) a victim of human trafficking pursuant to section 1 of P.L.2005, c.77 (C.2C:13-8); and

     (b) the defendant committed the offense as a direct result of the human trafficking offense committed against the defendant; or

     (2) compelled by another to engage in sexual activity, regardless of the defendant's age.

     f. (1) Any fine set forth in N.J.S.2C:43-3 that is imposed upon a person by a municipal court for a conviction of a disorderly persons offense under this section shall be collected, notwithstanding the procedures for the collection of fines and restitutions in section 3 of P.L.1979, c.396 (C.2C:46-4), by the municipal court administrator and paid into the municipal treasury of the municipality in which the offense was committed.

     (2)   In addition to any fine, fee, assessment, or penalty authorized under the provisions of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes, a person convicted of an offense of prostitution or related offense under paragraph (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), or (7) of subsection b. shall be assessed a penalty of at least $10,000 but not more than $50,000, except if the offense involved promotion of the prostitution of a child under the age of 18, the penalty shall be at least $25,000.  All penalties provided for in this subsection, collected as provided for the collection of fines and restitutions in section 3 of P.L.1979, c.396 (C.2C:46-4), shall be forwarded to the Department of the Treasury to be deposited in the "Human Trafficking Survivor's Assistance Fund" established by section 2 of P.L.2013, c.51 (C.52:17B-238).

(cf: P.L.2013, c.51, s.9)

 

     4.    This act shall take effect immediately.

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill establishes an affirmative defense to prosecution for crimes committed by a victim of human trafficking under certain circumstances. 

     Under current law, it is a defense to a prosecution for the following crimes if the perpetrator of the offense is a victim of human trafficking: human trafficking; providing services, resources, or assistance with the knowledge that the services, resources, or assistance are intended to be used in furtherance of the commission of the crime of human trafficking; and prostitution and related offenses. 

     This bill establishes an affirmative defense for human trafficking victims charged with any offense enumerated in Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes if: (1) during the time of the alleged commission of the offense, the defendant was a victim of human trafficking; and (2) the crime was committed as a direct result of the human trafficking offense that was committed against the defendant.  The bill further provides that an affirmative defense under the bill is not precluded based solely on the lack of a conviction for the underlying human trafficking offense committed against the victim.