High school students, kids as young as 13 and other teens under 16 were reported missing by their families and friend. Last week they all were found by police among 16 juveniles who were forced for prostitution during Super Bowl festivities in and around New Jersey.
According to TribLive, FBI arrested more than 45 pimps and other involved persons, some of whom said they traveled to the New York region to traffic the women and minors at the most expected sport game of the year.
Authorities claim that they managed to resque more than 50 women forced to work as prostitutess. Officials also revealed that many of the women and children were forced to travel to the New York City area during the sport event.
“The FBI and its partners remain committed to the identification and rescue of minor victims, and to hold accountable those who exploit children for financial gain,” said Aaron Ford, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Newark field office.
Police reported the Super Bowl and other similar event may provide lucrative opportunities for sex traffickers. There’re sad numbers showing significant increase of trafficking during such events, but New Jersey, like previous hosts for the game, paid particularly close attention to it.
Michael Osborn, chief of the Violent Crimes Against Children unit at the FBI, revealed to reporters: “We’re constantly evaluating intelligence to determine where the biggest threats are.”
“Large sporting events draw a lot of people into a compressed area with a lot of disposable income and as part of that you attract a certain criminal element,” he added.
As ABC 15 reports, the operation was conducted after months of intense search for sex trafficking rings and training aimed at enforcement personnel, hospitality workers, airport employees and others on identifying the signs of sex trafficking.
The New Jersey Attorney General’s office set up a Super Bowl sex trafficking task that included major partners, such as FBI, shortly after it was announced that the game would be held at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
The FBI spokesperson confirmed that the complex operation consisted of more than 50 law enforcement agencies. Last week, a Florida citizen was apprehanded for trying to prostitute her 15-year-old daughter during the Super Bowl 2014.
Authorities in New York City admitted the number of arrests connected with trafficking and prostitution triggered in the week leading up to the game.
New Jersey officials had previously voiced their concerns that the state’s sprawling highway system, proximity to New York City and diverse population make it an attractive base of operations for traffickers.
“The Super Bowl crackdown came on the heels of the FBI’s largest such effort in June, in which the agency said 105 children were rescued and 150 pimps arrested,” The Huffington Post reports.
The FBI revealed to journalists that it works together with state and local authorities to assess the long-term needs of victims, including counseling, medical care and access to educational opportunities.