What Do Sex Trafficking and the Super Bowl Have in Common?
February 3, 2011 § Leave a comment
It’s Super Bowl weekend and most people I know are gearing up for the big game. My friends are talking about team stats, who has the best tv for game watching, and what they want to munch on while they watch (sweet or savory? buffalo wings or barbecue?). What my friends haven’t been talking about, and I imagine most of your friends probably aren’t either, is sex trafficking.
We rarely make the connection between big sports events and the selling of young women and girls, but the fact is there is a connection, a huge one. Take for instance last year’s Super Bowl in Miami, police statistics show that the event drew as many as 10,000 prostitutes- including children and human trafficking victims. In 2009, when the Super Bowl was held in Tampa, police arrested 2 men who were advertising sex with a 14 year old girl as a “Super Bowl Special.” Unfortunately these are not isolated incidents, some of the highest profits earned by pimps and traffickers happen around major sporting events (NASCAR, golf tournaments, and pro bowl games especially).
The AJC published an informative article on the issue this week reporting that, “For weeks, volunteers have been canvassing neighborhoods in Dallas and other cities, distributing door hangars and posters with information. Others have placed coasters in restaurants and bars. Traffick911 has also made public-service announcements, some featuring current and former NFL players.”
Most people in the United States think that we are safe from sex trafficking, but we aren’t. People in the U.S. are one of the largest consumers of sex with underage girls in the world and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimates that at least 100,000 children in the U.S. are victims of prostitution each year. The trafficking of girls and women to be used for sex is the fastest growing illegal trade in the world and is expected to outgrow the drug trade in the next few years.
I urge you to engage in at least one conversation about this issue in the next few days. Will it be as easy to have as deciding where to watch the Super Bowl? Probably not. Is it a conversation that is important and worth having? Definitely.