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NJ Unveils Human Trafficking Hotline [AUDIO]

Big events that draw huge crowds often lead to a spike in human trafficking.

Flickr User Thomaswanhoff

With the Super Bowl coming to MetLife at the Meadowlands in 2014, NJ’s acting Attorney General has unveiled a new hotline number for you to call to report suspected cases of human trafficking.

“It’s a terrible problem,” says acting AG John Hoffman. “It’s a terrible crime. It really preys upon the weak and it preys upon the most vulnerable and we’re trying to do everything we can to stem it…..To be clear; it’s not just an issue for women. Unfortunately, as terrible as this is it’s an issue for children as well, young boys and young girls.”

With the Super Bowl expected to bring hundreds of thousands and probably millions of people into NJ, the state will be at an increased vulnerability to human trafficking. The Garden State is already a prime location for domestic and international human trafficking because of its central location between the New York metropolitan area and the tri-state metropolitan region of Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C.

It is the most densely populated state in the U.S. and has the third highest proportion of foreign born residents at nearly 20 percent.

“The hotline number is 1-855-END-NJ-HT, which is end NJ human trafficking,” explains Hoffman. “If somebody sees suspicious activity they should definitely access the hotline. Let people who are trained in this area deal with the problem, take a look at it (and) investigate it.”

The hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by detectives in the Human Trafficking Unit within the Division of Criminal Justice.

“Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery that deprives its victims of their most basic right, their freedom,” says Hoffman. “As the nation’s attention turns to the 2014 Super Bowl at the Meadowlands, those of us in law enforcement will continue protecting people within our borders from the atrocities of human trafficking.”

Human trafficking victims are often forced into commercial trades, including prostitution and pornography, as well as many types of forced labor, including domestic servitude and migrant agricultural work. Hoffman says traffickers lure and control their victims through the use of force, fraud, or coercion, and employ techniques such as physical and psychological abuse, false employment offers, document holding, and isolation.

Officials in NJ saw a spike in calls to the Division of Criminal Justice in July, after the Division announced the arrests of a Lakewood man and four male associates on charges of human trafficking for allegedly operating brothels in Lakewood that were part of a network of brothels in NJ, NY and other states that trafficked women from Mexico to the United States to work as prostitutes.

The alleged ringleader’s girlfriend also was arrested for helping him operate the brothels.

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