What could the Super Bowl and human trafficking possibly have to do with one another?

A lot actually. Evidence suggests that large scale sporting events provide one-stop shopping opportunities for human traffickers and it doesn't get any larger than the Super Bowl which will be played at the New Jersey Meadowlands in 2014.

Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle plans to introduce a large-scale legislative bill package to target human trafficking in time for the 2014 Super Bowl. She explains, "There is evidence to suggest that there will be a sharp increase of trafficking victims shipped to NJ due to the Super Bowl. Just as Indiana did in advance of the 2012 Super Bowl, we intend to exponentially reduce this potential."

The Super Bowl was played in Indianapolis this year. Prior to the event, the State of Indiana enacted laws cracking down human trafficking. Vainieri Huttle will push for New Jersey to do the same.

"Human trafficking is modern day slavery, yet it receives very little attention. New Jersey must take a strong stand against it by putting laws in place that prevent and address the sale of people for sex and labor," says Vainieri Huttle. "Traffickers and those who enable them must be dealt with more rigidly and victims must be helped in escaping these horrific circumstances. These bills will better equip us to fight this terrible crime by giving law enforcement the tools they need to crack down on perpetrators and consumers."

Stiffer penalties and increased fines are at the core of Vainieri Huttle's legislation which includes getting tougher on pimps.

The Assemblywoman is praising State Attorney General Jeff Chiesa for issuing a statewide directive ordering law enforcement to identify, investigate and prosecute human sex and labor trafficking more aggressively. She feels Chiesa's initiative supplements her bill package, which she has been working on for several months and will introduce when the Assembly returns in the fall.

According to statistics by the Division of Criminal Justice, there were only 179 cases of sex and labor trafficking reported in New Jersey from Sept. 16, 2005 to March 1, 2012. However, according to the Polaris Project, a nonprofit organization that assists human trafficking victims, the number of unreported trafficking crimes in New Jersey is closer to the thousands. The U.S. State Department estimates that 50,000 men, women and children are trafficked into the United States each year, in addition to the 100,000 domestic victims already enslaved.

Vainieri Huttle says, "We welcome the Super Bowl and the fans who will come to our great state to enjoy the game and experience all that New Jersey has to offer, but we will not allow this event to generate human exploitation."