05-23-2018  3:39 pm      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Mississippi Avenue Giving Tuesday

On Tuesday, May 22, 10 percent of proceeds from participating Mississippi Ave. businesses will go to SEI ...

Raina Croff to Speak at Architectural Heritage Center

'When the Landmarks are Gone: Older African Americans, Place, and Change in N/NE Portland’ describes SHARP Walking Program ...

Portland Playhouse Presents August Wilson’s ‘Fences’ Through June 10

May 20 performance will include discussion on mental health; June 10 performance will be followed by discussion of fatherhood ...

Peggy Houston-Shivers Presents Benefit Concert for Allen Temple CME

Concert to take place May 20 at Maranatha Church ...

Lawmakers hold hearing to discuss Oregon dairy's downfall

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon lawmakers are asking questions about what went wrong with a large dairy that is facing a lawsuit, regulatory problems and bankruptcy in an effort to find ways to prevent a similar situation in the future.The Senate Interim Committee on Environment and Natural...

Editorials from around Oregon

Selected editorials from Oregon newspapers:_____The Oregonian/OregonLive, May 23, on rebuilding faith in police oversight board:Derek Ashton, an attorney representing former Portland Police Chief Larry O'Dea, didn't mince words in criticizing a committee's recommendation that O'Dea lose his police...

Tanker spills 3,500 gallons of liquid asphalt near Cle Elum

CLE ELUM, Wash. (AP) — Officials say a tanker rolled spilling about 3,500 gallons of liquid asphalt as it was taking an exit off Interstate 90 near Cle Elum.KOMO-TV reports the incident happened Wednesday when the tanker took the exit and went off the shoulder.The Washington State Patrol...

Amazon, Starbucks pledge money to repeal Seattle head tax

SEATTLE (AP) — Amazon, Starbucks, Vulcan and others have pledged more than 0,000 toward repealing Seattle's newly passed tax on large employers.The Seattle City Council on May 14 unanimously passed the so-called head tax that will charge businesses making at least million in gross...

OPINION

Golfing While Black Is Not a Crime

Grandview Golf Club asks five Black women to leave for golfing too slow ...

Discovering the Best of Black America in 2018

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis discusses the DTU Journalism Fellowship & Scholarship Program ...

Will Israel’s Likud Party Ever Respect the Rights of Palestinians?

Bill Fletcher weighs in on the precarious future of the two-state solution between the Israeli government and the Palestinian people ...

The Future of Medicinal Marijuana in Pets

Dr. Jasmine Streeter says CBD-derived products show beneficial therapeutic benefits for pets ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Video of Bucks guard's arrest in Milwaukee to be released

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Milwaukee police are poised to release body camera footage Wednesday from the officers who used a stun gun on NBA Bucks guard Sterling Brown during a January arrest.The release comes as city officials who've viewed the videos have expressed concern about how officers...

Offshore worker alleges bias in federal lawsuit

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — An African-American offshore oil worker has filed a federal lawsuit saying he was intimidated on the job by a supervisor who drew a picture of him dangling from a high rig structure while surrounded by co-workers in Ku Klux Klan hats.The lawsuit claims the worker was...

Comedian Josh Denny not sorry about N-word tweets

NEW YORK (AP) — Comedian and Food Network host Josh Denny has called his tweets using the N-word and comparing use of "straight white male" to the racial slur as "very incendiary," but he said he's not sorry.The host of "Ginormous Food" appeared on Van Lathan's podcast "The Red Pill" on...

ENTERTAINMENT

'Good Morning America' to expand; 'The Chew' canceled

NEW YORK (AP) — ABC's "Good Morning America" is expanding to a third hour — and swallowing "The Chew" to make room.The network said Wednesday the new third hour will air at 1 p.m. Eastern, which is often the spot for the cooking show. "GMA" starts at 7 a.m."The Chew" has aired for...

Deadliest Catch' star pleads guilty to misdemeanor assault

SEATTLE (AP) — Celebrity crab-boat captain Sig Hansen has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge that he spat on an Uber driver last year in Seattle.The Seattle Times reports (https://bit.ly/2s3scWE) the 52-year-old "Deadliest Catch" star pleaded guilty Wednesday.Under the plea deal, a...

Comedian Josh Denny not sorry about N-word tweets

NEW YORK (AP) — Comedian and Food Network host Josh Denny has called his tweets using the N-word and comparing use of "straight white male" to the racial slur as "very incendiary," but he said he's not sorry.The host of "Ginormous Food" appeared on Van Lathan's podcast "The Red Pill" on...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

BE MINE: Maker of candy hearts, Necco Wafers sold at auction

BOSTON (AP) — The bankrupt 171-year-old candy maker known for its chalky Necco Wafers and those little...

Estimated 7,000 bodies may be buried at former asylum

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Some of the boxes stacked inside anthropologist Molly Zuckerman's laboratory...

Stand or stay out of sight: NFL takes on anthem protesters

ATLANTA (AP) — NFL owners approved a new policy Wednesday aimed at quelling the firestorm over national...

French government orders evacuation of Paris migrant camps

PARIS (AP) — Police are preparing to dismantle makeshift camps holding close to 2,500 migrants in the...

2 patients who fled Ebola ward among the dead in Congo

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — Two infected patients who fled from an Ebola treatment center in a Congo city of 1.2...

Summits give aged North Korean spies hope of returning home

GWANGJU, South Korea (AP) — He's spent nearly six decades trapped on enemy soil, surviving 29 years in a...

Super Bowl image
Katie Zezima and Samantha Henry, Associated Press

Law enforcement agents in New Jersey have redoubled efforts to fight what they worry could be one of the biggest menaces to come with next month's Super Bowl: sex trafficking.

Hundreds of thousands of visitors are expected to descend on New Jersey for the Feb. 2 football game. Many believe the state's sprawling highway system, proximity to New York City and diverse population make it an attractive base of operations for traffickers.

“New Jersey has a huge trafficking problem,” said U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., who is 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.”

Law enforcement in New Jersey has worked for years to battle forced prostitution. The state strengthened its human trafficking law in early 2013, but it hit a roadblock in August when a federal judge ruled that a portion of the law that pertains to commercial sex ads posted online may conflict with federal legislation. The state is appealing.

There are scant statistics and much debate over how much sex trafficking increases during a Super Bowl or other large sporting event, but it's been enough of a concern to prompt New Jersey and previous Super Bowl host cities to pay attention to it.

Danielle Douglas, a speaker and advocate who identifies herself as a sex-trafficking survivor, said any major sporting event attracts sex traffickers looking to make money.

“The Super Bowl is a huge, huge arena for sex trafficking,” Douglas said. Some visitors “are coming to the Super Bowl not even to watch football — they are coming to the Super Bowl to have sex with women, and/or men or children.”

Soon after the announcement that the 2014 Super Bowl would be held at MetLife Stadium, New Jersey officials set up training for legions of law enforcement personnel, hospitality workers, high school students, airport employees and others on identifying the signs of sex trafficking. Local houses of worship are handing out fliers notifying congregants of warning signs, and truckers are being trained to look for people — mostly women but also men — who may be held against their will. Sex trafficking, to be prosecuted as such, must involve — unlike prostitution — not only a buyer and seller of sex but also a pimp or trafficker controlling the transaction, according to the New Jersey attorney general's office.

Officials are also warning the public to watch for people who are forced into labor and individual pimps exerting control over young women and men who are oftentimes underage.

“We've enlisted, basically, every service provider that people coming to the Super Bowl are going to run into,” Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman said. “There are a lot of eyes that are going to be on their activities and going to be on spotting potential victims of this crime.”

The Super Bowl task force convened by Hoffman's office is composed of state, local and federal law enforcement officers, community groups, social workers and others. Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said ads are starting to pop up on Internet sites and law enforcement officials are gleaning information from them.

“When you're about ready to have 400,000 men come to this area of the country,” Molinelli said, “you're invariably going to have more people try to take advantage of that by providing prostitutes and prostitution.”

Officials in Texas, Louisiana and Indiana strengthened efforts to combat sex trafficking ahead of previous Super Bowls. In Arizona, which will host the 2015 Super Bowl, U.S. Sen. John McCain's wife, Cindy, has been speaking out, calling the Super Bowl the “largest human-trafficking venue on the planet.”

It is difficult to ascertain the exact number of trafficking cases in a given year or place because so much of it goes unreported. In 2012, the Polaris Project, a nonprofit that works to combat human trafficking, received 20,652 calls reporting trafficking to its hotline, 330 of which were from New Jersey, CEO Bradley Myles said.

“The overall size of the phenomenon in the United States is much more significant than statistics show,” Myles said.

Polaris plans to add additional staffers to the hotline in February, but the organization has seen only a modest uptick in calls during previous Super Bowls, Myles said.

In December, Kathleen Friess led a two-hour presentation in Hamilton Township for hotel and nightclub employees and tried to dispel notions of what human trafficking looks like. Often, Friess said, it's a local woman forced into sex work by a man she initially thought had romantic intentions. Other times, it's a woman from another country whose family is threatened.

Friess told the employees to look for women who may not be in control, who look frightened and may exhibit signs of physical abuse. Victims are often runaways, the impoverished, abuse victims or those living in the country illegally, she said.

“You guys are at that front line, seeing them coming and going,” Friess said. “You're in a position to prevent human trafficking.”

Ronald Moore, the security manager at the Grand Summit Hotel in Summit, said he plans to replicate the presentation for his staff. A former police officer, Moore said the hotel has been preparing for the possibility of crime during Super Bowl week.

“You're going to have the potential for everything from stolen goods to assault to check fraud. Everything you can imagine is going to be happening,” he said. “You have to be aware.”

Jane Wells, a filmmaker who recently released “Tricked,” a documentary about human trafficking, said she wants law enforcement to focus on the crime all the time, not just around sporting events.

“This is a 365-day-a-year problem,” Wells said.

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