NJ uses Super Bowl to spotlight human trafficking

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - The Super Bowl is bringing hundreds of thousands of people to the New York-New Jersey area, and law enforcement authorities want to make sure they don’t worsen an already widespread human trafficking problem.

Gov. Chris Christie, acting state Attorney General John Hoffman and numerous other officials appeared at a news conference Wednesday to discuss their efforts to crack down on the illegal sex trade and the human traffickers who fuel it.

Christie said the illegal sex trade flourishes at every Super Bowl because of the influx of out-of-towners with cash to spend. Hoffman said a task force is coordinating undercover operations and scanning websites that specialize in adult services to watch for any spike in activity. He said the effort won’t cease when the Super Bowl leaves town after Sunday.

Christie signed legislation last year that toughened New Jersey’s human trafficking law, adding more severe penalties for websites that fail to verify that advertisers on their sites are not minors.

Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said Wednesday that law enforcement agencies had set up hotel rooms in the area to harbor women or men found to have been forced into the sex trade against their will.

Also in attendance at the news conference was Cindy McCain, wife of Arizona Sen. John McCain. Next year’s Super Bowl is scheduled to be played in Glendale, Ariz.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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