When you think of the Super Bowl, what comes to mind?
Not being a football fan, I immediately envision the big budget commercials. The faithful remember the game, the players, and the statistics. However, everyone fondly reminisces about the time spent with friends and family.
Unfortunately, what people don’t realize is that the Super Bowl brings increased forced prostitution and human trafficking. The dark side of the Super Bowl is created by a combination of self-indulgence, exploitation and abuse. With Super Bowl XLVI this weekend, it is important to show people what happens behind the curtain.
Regrettably, increased human trafficking and forced prostitution are direct side effects of large sporting events. The 2010 Super Bowl in Miami brought an estimated 10,000 additional prostitutes to the city. The same year, the World Cup, brought an estimated 40,000 commercial sex workers to South Africa (Huffington Post)
The Super Bowl is known as a magnet for sex traffickers. Women and children are brought by their pimps to be exploited for sex and often times sold to the highest bidder. Even Craigslist advertisements increase leading up to the Super Bowl. Last year ABC reported,
“In 2009, in the days leading up to the Super Bowl held in Tampa, agents arrested two alleged pimps who had advertized the sexual services of a 14-year-old girl in a Craigslist ad titled, ‘Super Bowl Special,’ according to news reports at the time” (ABC news).
Indianapolis is currently preparing for the big game in more ways than one. In hopes of raising awareness, 11 congregations of Catholic nuns and organizations such as the Coalition for Corporate Responsibility for Indiana and Michigan, CCRIM, are attempting to prevent the increase human trafficking. They hope by educating “more than 220 places of lodging within a 50-mile radius of Indianapolis” it will help deter criminal activity (Cleveland.com). Other organizations take a more hands on approach and pass out hotline cards to girls controlled by pimps. Though there is preparation for the event, it will not stop the sex traffickers taking advantage of young women, boys and girls (ABC news).
What’s important for people to understand is that human trafficking is not a foreign affair. Forced prostitution occurs on drastic levels in the United States. It is currently estimated “that human trafficking is an annual $15.5 billion business in the United States alone.” (Cleveland.com) With this knowledge, individuals have the ability to spread the word and make this issue public. Education and awareness are the first steps to ending modern-day slavery!