Sex Trafficking & The Super Bowl
The 57th Super Bowl is just around the corner, and this means that a spotlight is about to be shown on the sex trafficking problem in Glendale, Arizona. This negative spotlight is the one downside of hosting the Super Bowl and often creates a misconception that sex trafficking is only happening in that area or only during the big game. Reality is much different.
Sex trafficking is running rampant around the country 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The number of victims is nearly impossible to measure effectively, but we do know that the internet has allowed this crime to grow rapidly. There are an estimated 150,000 new escort ads posted daily on the surface web with 75% of victims reporting being sold online after 2004 . While not every escort ad is for someone that is being trafficked, this is the mechanism traffickers use to advertise their victims in plain sight. This process can be as simple as purchasing something off Amazon.
Shining the spotlight on these victims for one day out of the year does a huge disservice to the fight to end this form of slavery. It is vital that this misconception is challenged, and we realize that many victims are trafficked long before kickoff and will be long after the final whistle blows.
What makes the Super Bowl attractive to traffickers?
The Super Bowl being one of the largest annual American events makes it an excellent scapegoat for highlighting this crime, however, the Super Bowl is not alone in its attractiveness. Any event that creates a situation in which a great number of people are congregated in one geographical location draws attention from traffickers. Events as little as the county fair and local golf tournament to those as big as a sold-out stadium concert and March Madness attract this form of crime. Remember traffickers need to find those willing to buy sex to be successful. A greater population of people makes the job of connecting with buyers easier.
Some traffickers travel great distances to capitalize on events. The Super Bowl is just another example of this occurrence.
How can you make an impact on the fight against sex trafficking?
Now that we know that any event is vulnerable to increased trafficking in the area being strategic and thoughtful in our approach will allow for greater impact across the nation. Join Guardian Group in this fight by becoming a Guardian.
A Guardian is someone who acknowledges that trafficking is happening every day of the year and is committed to the daily battle to end this form of slavery. Guardians donate monthly at whatever level is comfortable for them and help generate the reliable funding necessary to fight this horrific crime every single day all across the country.
As you prepare your go to game day snacks and get ready to cheer your team all the way to that coveted Super Bowl ring remember that most victims are not forced into the sex trade moments before kickoff and let go after the final whistle blows. This crime is larger than the biggest game of the year and deserves the spotlight every single day.
 Thorn (2018, January). Survivor Insights: The Role of Technology in Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking [PDF].