PHOENIX — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Friday that law enforcement,
religious groups and public shame can work in concert to prevent the scourge of
human trafficking at major events like the Super Bowl.
“This ruins lives. It absolutely ruins lives,” he said during an event with
U.S. Sen. John McCain’s wife, Cindy. Christie has championed anti-trafficking
legislation in New Jersey.
Christie said the trafficking of immigrant men and women can be difficult to
guard against because victims are often untrusting of law enforcement. He said
religious groups like the Catholic Church have helped victims in New Jersey and
public shame can often discourage the use of websites that promote the activity.
Police say sex trafficking tends to spike as women forced into prostitution
flock to sporting events. New Jersey is hosting the 2014 Super Bowl and Arizona
holds the event the following year.
Christie told Cindy McCain, who chairs the Arizona Governor’s Task Force on
Human Trafficking, that trafficking is essentially “abject slavery” and
recalled prosecuting a case involving a young woman who was forced into the sex
trade and threatened if she spoke out. He noted that many of the victims are
immigrants who are vulnerable to criminal enterprises.
“These criminals play on people’s heart-felt desire to come to this country
and be free,” Christie said.
Cindy McCain, whose husband was the GOP’s 2008 presidential nominee, applauded
Christie for his sweeping re-election in New Jersey and told him he was “such
an inspiration to folks around the country.”
Christie, a potential presidential candidate in 2016, said Republicans need
“to campaign in places where we’re uncomfortable.” The New Jersey governor was
in Arizona this week to attend the Republican Governors Association meeting.
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