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Updated Nov 22, 2013 - 3:49 pm

Cindy McCain, Gov. Christie talk human trafficking

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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Follow Ken Thomas on Twitter at https://twitter.com/AP_Ken_Thomas

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