The FBI said today that it recovered 16 juveniles being sold during the time around the Super Bowl in a child sex trafficking operation.
More than 45 pimps and their associates were arrested, some claiming that they came to New Jersey for the purpose of taking advantage of increased tourism in conjunction with the event.
“High-profile special events, which draw large crowds, have become lucrative opportunities for child prostitution criminal enterprises,” said Ron Hosko, assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division. “The FBI and our partners remain committed to stopping this cycle of victimization and putting those who try to profit from this type of criminal activity behind bars.”
The youngest of the victims being trafficked for sex was just 13 years old. The teens included children who had been reported missing by their families.
The FBI added that “enforcement actions resulted in the recovery of international human trafficking victims.”
“Through partnerships, enhanced as a result of this operation, we hope to build a lasting framework that helps the community address this problem,” said Michael Harpster, chief of the FBI’s Violent Crimes Against Children Section. “It’s easy to focus on this issue in light of a high-profile event, but the sad reality is, this is a problem we see every day in communities across the country.”
The New York Police Department made nearly 200 arrests in a sex-trafficking sweep before the Super Bowl.