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Published On: Tue, Jan 7th, 2014

New Jersey training officers and workers to battle sex trafficking concerns during Super Bowl

Authorities in New Jersey are doubling their efforts to battle against and raise awareness of sex trafficking surrounding the Super Bowl.

As thousands of fans will travel to East Rutherford, New Jersey, state officials have begun programs to set up additional training for law enforcement officers, airport employees and workers in the hospitality industry in an effort to identify signs of sex trafficking.

Photo/Sawso.org

Photo/Sawso.org

“New Jersey has a huge trafficking problem,” said Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., co-chairman of the House anti-human trafficking caucus.

“One Super Bowl after another after another has shown itself to be one of the largest events in the world where the cruelty of human trafficking goes on for several weeks,” he said.

Local churches are also working to bring awareness to the issue.

Danielle Douglas, a speaker and advocate who identifies herself as a sex-trafficking survivor, said in the AP article that any major sporting event attracts sex traffickers looking to make money.

“The Super Bowl is a huge, huge arena for sex trafficking,” Douglas said. Some visitors “are coming to the Super Bowl not even to watch football — they are coming to the Super Bowl to have sex with women, and/or men or children.”

Many believe New Jersey will appeal to sex traffickers because of its highway system, proximity to New York City, and its diverse population.

“We’ve enlisted, basically, every service provider that people coming to the Super Bowl are going to run into,” Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman said. “There are a lot of eyes that are going to be on their activities and going to be on spotting potential victims of this crime.”

The Super Bowl task force convened by Hoffman’s office is composed of state, local and federal law enforcement officers, community groups, social workers and others. Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said ads are starting to pop up on Internet sites and law enforcement officials are gleaning information from them.

“When you’re about ready to have 400,000 men come to this area of the country,” Molinelli said, “you’re invariably going to have more people try to take advantage of that by providing prostitutes and prostitution.”

 

 

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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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