The Community Relations Committee of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ was recognized for its leadership of the NJ Coalition Against Human Trafficking by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. The Program Excellence Award was presented to CRC director Melanie Roth Gorelick at the JCPA Plenum, the annual policy gathering of Jewish community relations professionals from around the country, held March 8-11 in Atlanta.
The coalition, established in 2011 by the CRC, is made up of about 100 groups, including faith-based, ethnic, and community organizations; government agencies; law enforcement; and direct-service providers whose mission is to eradicate human trafficking through education, advocacy, and assistance to survivors.
Gorelick, who also conducted two workshops on the topic at the plenum, said, “We are on our way to creating an abolitionist movement in the United States against human trafficking, a horrific crime.”
In addition, the CRC wrote a resolution on “Countering Human Trafficking in the United States,” which was passed unilaterally at the plenum, and was a prime sponsor of the resolution on “Rising Anti-Semitism and Other Threats to Jewish Communities in Europe.”
The GMW delegation included David Dranikoff, past CRC Israel & World Affairs chair, and CRC associate Hilary Levine.
“Greater MetroWest’s Coalition Against Human Trafficking is a truly exemplary program and one we are proud to honor at the plenum,” said JCPA president Rabbi Steve Gutow. “Their success in reaching out to new partners…to create and implement local proclamations and laws is the kind of work that puts the ideal of tikun olam into action.
“As a broad-based, interethnic, and interfaith group of individuals and organizations, the coalition is a classic model of Jewish community relations,” Gutow said.
In addition to facilitating the issuance of over 50 local proclamations, the coalition worked with legislators to introduce and pass the Human Trafficking Protection, Prevention, and Treatment Act to provide better support for survivors, harsher laws against perpetrators, and consequences to users of human trafficking services. The coalition also launched a series of education initiatives timed with the 2014 Super Bowl.