Advocates tout human trafficking awareness campaign ahead of Super Bowl

Posted: Updated:
ELIZABETH -

Advocates for victims of human trafficking have started a campaign to raise awareness as Super Bowl Sunday approaches.

Authorities say that they see a spike in human trafficking and prostitution at every Super Bowl.

Advocates have released a public service announcement called “Don’t Buy It” to turn men off from buying sex.

Airport, hotel workers and others are taught how to spot victims of human trafficking leading up to the Super Bowl. Victims often do not have luggage, may have bruising from abuse and pay in cash.

New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking will try to raise awareness during Sunday’s game with their “Halftime Challenge.” They're asking people to post on social media, #HTChallenge, which will lead people to data and education about human trafficking.

Statistics show that there were 83 cases of human trafficking reported in New Jersey in 2017. Sixty-three of those cases involved sex trafficking, with 51 cases involving minors.

Covenant House executive director Jim White says that human trafficking is a form of slavery and often affects young people. Covenant House is an organization that takes in at-risk homeless kids.

White says that 50 of Covenant House’s clients last year were victims of human trafficking.

“We think that more people need to become aware of what’s going on and help us in identifying young people,” White says.

White also says that many of the victims say that they were treated in emergency rooms during their trafficking experience.

“There’s a real opportunity for the medical community to help us,” says White.

The awareness campaign comes as a 47-year-old Elizabeth man was arrested and charged for human trafficking.

The Union County Prosecutor’s Office says that Milton Valentine was arrested after a three-month investigation. Valentine was allegedly forcing two 18-year-old girls into prostitution at hotels around New Jersey.

Prosecutors say that the investigation began after a tip was sent into the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

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