Feds rescue juveniles in underage prostitution sting
The FBI, in partnership with more than 50 law enforcement agencies, 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.
“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.”
Arrests were made in Jersey City and other municipalities in New Jersey, federal officials said.
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.
The 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 sexual exploitation of children promotes the practice of inducting innocent victims into a life of prostitution,” said George Venizelos, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s New York Field Office. “This epidemic, which is spreading rapidly throughout the nation, not only traps children in a life of misery but helps facilitate the activities of other criminals with direct connections to human trafficking, organized crime, and the illegal movement of immigrants. The migratory nature of these crimes makes it critical for law enforcement entities to work together to tackle this widespread dilemma. On behalf of the FBI’s New York Field Office, I would like to thank our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners who played a leading role in this operation and directly contributed to its overall success.”
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.
Parking authority to be brought into Department of Public Safety
Mayor Steven M. Fulop has announced that the administration will present to the City Council at their meeting next week a resolution to authorize an application to the New Jersey Local Finance Board for the consolidation of the Jersey City Parking Authority into the Department of Public Safety. The consolidation will save millions in taxpayer dollars, improve enforcement and create greater efficiency and transparency.
As part of the process, the administration will also present to the council next week an ordinance dissolving the agency.
“This consolidation will save millions in taxpayer dollars by reducing redundant administrative costs, will improve the efficiency of enforcement and will allow us to better leverage technology,” said Fulop. “Not only will this improve our parking enforcement operations, but it will also provide for greater enforcement of other public safety and quality of life issues.”
Fulop also noted that the merger would increase accountability and transparency for the public.
The consolidation was studied by the city with a report on the agency’s finances (revenue, expenses, and debt.), operations, enforcement and performance prepared by the law firm Weiner Lesniak, LLP, which will be presented to the City Council.
“Many of the job duties performed by the Parking Authority are already being performed by city staff,” said Fulop. “There is no reason a city taxpayer should be paying twice for the same service.”
Specifically, many of the administrative functions such as payroll, administration of health benefits, etc. can be absorbed by the city staff already performing these duties. The maintenance of Parking Authority lots, for example, could be performed by the City’s Department of Public Works.
In addition to millions of dollars that are spent on duplicative administrative and operations functions that would be greatly reduced by the merger, the report cites potential cost benefits of dissolution in the sale of the Central Avenue building which is underutilized, reduction in equipment, as well as the utilization of new technology to perform enforcement.
The report also cites the ability of the city to concentrate efforts on the collection of scofflaw and outstanding time payments which total more than $20 million.
HCCC board reorganizes
At its monthly meeting on Jan. 28, the Hudson County Community College (HCCC) Board of Trustees approved the reorganization of the college’s senior leadership team, and the installation of Thomas A. Brodowski to the newly-created position of vice president for administrative services.
HCCC Board Chair William J. Netchert, Esq. said that over the past several months, members of the board’s Executive Committee – along with the chairman of the board’s Personnel Committee and HCCC President Dr. Glen Gabert – had examined and assessed the structure and organization of the college president’s cabinet.
“We determined that we should restructure the president’s cabinet so as to best utilize the strengths of current staff and to make certain the college was positioned to meet long-term goals associated with our mission, vision and growth,” Mr. Netchert stated.
The Board concluded that the position of vice president for administrative services should be added to the staffing table, and the positions of vice president for finance and vice president for college operations should be deleted and replaced with the positions of chief financial officer and executive director for college operations. The vice president for administrative services will report directly to the president, and four areas currently reporting to the president — Finance, Operations, Technology and Human Resources — will now report to the new vice president and thereby form the new Administrative Services Branch.
The board approved the appointment of Thomas A. Brodowski as the new vice president for administrative services. A native of Hudson County, Brodowski holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering/Construction Management and master’s degree in Engineering Management from New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). He is an adjunct professor at NJIT, where he teaches Strategic Planning and Project Management on the graduate level.
School musical set for Feb. 9
Waterfront Montessori presents its 2014 musical “The Little Mermaid” on Sunday, Feb. 9. Two shows are scheduled at 3 and 5:30 p.m. at the MS 4 Theater, 107 Bright St., Jersey City. Tickets are $10 each, available at the door. Presented by the WFM Elementary and Middle School students.