Losing teams are not the only thing to be upset about on Super Bowl Sunday. While sporting events are generally a hub for human trafficking, the Super Bowl is often seen as the largest attraction of sex trafficking in the United States.
How bad was sex trafficking during past Super Bowl events? Forbes reports that 10,000 sex trafficking victims were brought to Miami for the Super Bowl in 2010. In 2011, 133 arrests for underage prostitution were made in Dallas.
So far this year, eight arrests have already been made in regards to sex trafficking, identifying five victims who would have been forced to partake in prostitution on Super Bowl Sunday.
The fact that more Americans are not aware of the Super Bowl as a magnet of human trafficking has officials and advocates concerned.
“Raising human trafficking awareness is not a one time, one event cause,” writes the NJ Coalition Against Human Trafficking. “Promoting Human Trafficking awareness, especially during a national event such as the Super Bowl, allows for wide-spread community attentiveness to the issue.”
The New Jersey state government and various advocacy organizations are helping set a tone of awareness and have pushed for vigilance among participants at the game in MetLife Stadium. By distributing pamphlets to local businesses, they hope to inform bystanders of what to look for in order to identify victims of sex trafficking.
“It’s not so much that you become a victim at the Super Bowl, but that many victims are brought in to be used for all the men at the Super Bowl,” Stephanie Kilper, a representative for Operation Freedom Taskforce, told newsnet5.com. With the influx of viewers to the stadium, pimps see the Super Bowl as an opportunity to take advantage of the captive crowd while allowing themselves and their victims to blend into the masses.
According to Clemmie Greenlee, a former sex-trafficking victim, the enslaved women are expected to sleep with 25-50 men on the day of the Super Bowl. Now an advocate for sex-trafficking victims in Louisiana, Greenlee said the added pressure for victims come Super Bowl Sunday is intense.
“If you don’t make that number, you’re going to dearly, dearly, severely pay for it,” she told the Times-Picayune.
While national organizations and state authorities are pushing for greater awareness regarding human trafficking, they need an informed public to support their efforts.
“On the one hand, it’s absolutely true that this is a 365-day-a-year issue,” said Bradley Miles, CEO of the Polaris Project, a nonprofit committed to abolishing human trafficking. “On the other hand, it people are more likely to get involved through the catalyst of some large rallying point like the Super Bowl, I think some good can come of it.”
Find out more about what you can do to help local efforts here.