NEWARK, NJ - The FBI, in partnership with more than 50 law enforcement agencies in four states, including the South Plainfield Police Department, recovered 16 juveniles during an enforcement action focused on commercial child sex trafficking. Additionally, more than 45 pimps and their associates were arrested, some of whom claimed to have traveled to New Jersey from other states specifically for the purpose of prostituting women and children at the Super Bowl. Enforcement operations in New Jersey recovered six juveniles.
“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 minors recovered during the Super Bowl operations ranged in ages from 13 to 17 years old and included high school students and children who had been reported missing by their families.
Additionally, enforcement actions resulted in the recovery of international human trafficking victims.
Over the course of the operation, the FBI’s victim specialists provided 70 women and children services such as food, clothing, and referrals to health care facilities, shelters, and other programs.
Today’s announcement comes after more than six months of localized FBI-led law enforcement preparation. Working with a variety of federal, state, and local partners, the FBI has provided training on how to identify and address child exploitation.
“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 FBI’s Super Bowl operation efforts are part of the Innocence Lost National Initiative that was established in 2003 by the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division, in partnership with the Department of Justice and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, to address the growing problem of child prostitution.
To date, the FBI and its task force partners have recovered more than 3,100 children. The investigations and subsequent 1,400 convictions have resulted in lengthy sentences, including 11 life terms and the seizure of more than $3.1 million in assets.
“As with Super Bowl security, the collaboration of federal, state, and local law enforcement in the operations targeting commercial child sex trafficking was unprecedented,” said Aaron T. Ford, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Newark Division. “The FBI and its partners remain committed to the identification and rescue of minor victims and to hold accountable those who exploit children for financial gain.”
The Newark FBI worked closely with the New Jersey State Police in executing these operations and would like to thank the following federal, state, and local law enforcement partners who participated in these Super Bowl enforcement efforts:
- Department of Homeland Security-Homeland Security Investigations
- New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice
- New Jersey Department of Child Protection and Permanency
- New Jersey Department of Human Services Police Force
- Atlantic County Prosecutors Office
- Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office
- Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office
- Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office
- Essex County Prosecutor’s Office
- Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office
- Morris County Prosecutor’s Office
- Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office
- Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office
- Atlantic County Sheriff’s Office
- Bergen County Sheriff’s Office
- Hudson County Sheriff’s Office
- Absecon Police Department
- Bridgewater Police Department
- Cape May County Prosecutors Office
- Clifton Police Department
- Edison Police Department
- Egg Harbor Township Police Department
- Fairfield Police Department
- Hopatcong Police Department
- Little Ferry Police Department
- Mount Arlington Police Department
- Newark Police Department
- New Brunswick Police Department
- Ocean City Police Department
- Paramus Police Department
- Parsippany Police Department
- Paterson Police Department
- Pequannock Township Police Department
- Rochelle Park Police Department
- Roxbury Police Department
- Secaucus Police Department
- Somers Point Police Department
- South Hackensack Police Department
- South Plainfield Police Department
- Totowa Police Department
- Wayne Police Department
- Newark FBI National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
- KlaasKids Foundation
- IST Research
- Polaris Project