With the Super Bowl approaching, efforts against human trafficking ahead of the game are intensifying in the state. Assistant Attorney General Tracy Thompson told NJTV News Managing Editor Mike Schneider that she is satisfied with the precautionary steps being taken.
“There are things that are still left to be done in terms of our law enforcement operations,” said Thompson. “They are in the height of planning but we will be ready.”
Over the years, in locations were the Super Bowl is held, human trafficking cases increase and follow the game. Thompson said that with this year’s game being held in a cold weather outdoor stadium and with security increased, it won’t be the traditional Super Bowl.
Since being named as the director of the human trafficking program, Thompson said that she has learned that traffickers are crafty and trafficking is an internet-driven industry.
Thompson said that victims that are used for human trafficking vary by location. They can be brought in from out of state or out of the country. With the game being held in New Jersey, the Garden State will become the hub of human trafficking, according to Thompson.
In order to reach out to victims and create awareness about human trafficking surrounding the Super Bowl, New Jersey has created a hotline where victims can call. Thompson also said that “Say Something Assemblies” are being held to make victims and potential victims aware of their rights.
As for the consumer end of human trafficking, Thompson said that there are various penalties against offenders.
“The solicitation for minors under 18, that is a crime that is punishable. It’s a third degree crime because it’s considered statutory,” said Thompson. “So the John need not know what the victim’s age is in this particular instance. If it’s an adult and it’s prostitution, it would be a disorderly person’s offense, but the penalties increase if it’s a repeated crime. If it’s a trafficking victim, then participating in that activity would be a second degree crime.”