File- This Dec. 17, 2009, file photo shows U.S. Rep. Chris Smith speaking to members of the media in Rio de Janeiro. “New Jersey has a huge trafficking problem,” said Smith, R-N.J., who is also co-chairman of the House anti-human trafficking caucus. “One Super Bowl after another after another has shown itself to be one of the largest events in the world where the cruelty of human trafficking goes on for several weeks.” (AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File)The Associated Press
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – New Jersey law enforcement agents are intensifying efforts to combat sex trafficking ahead of the Super Bowl.
Officials are training legions of law enforcement personnel, hospitality workers, high school students and airport employees to watch for signs of it before the Feb. 2 football game, when hundreds of thousands of people are expected to descend on New Jersey.
Authorities believe New Jersey's sprawling highway system, proximity to New York City and diverse population make it an attractive base of operations for traffickers.
They say victims of sex trafficking may feel they have little control, look frightened and exhibit signs of physical abuse.
The nonprofit Polaris Project says a nationwide human trafficking tip line received about 20,000 calls last year, but many cases go unreported.