Sex Trafficking and the Super Bowl: Raising Awareness about a Myriad of Issues that will last beyond the Super Bowl
The 2014 Super Bowl, the fierce battle between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks, will bring thousands of fans to New Jersey in hopes of watching the best team win. While New Jersey law enforcement is preparing to manage the large crowd that the Super Bowl will bring, they are also preparing for a much lesser known side of the large sporting event, sex trafficking. Traffickers, hoping to capitalize on the large crowds of men, bring trafficked women, children, and men to areas holding grand sporting events with expectations that the sports fans will seek out sex with the trafficked persons.
However, the residents of New Jersey are taking a stand against sex trafficking by becoming proactive in the fight to inhibit its proliferation during the Super Bowl. Once it was announced that New Jersey would host Super Bowl XLVIII, law enforcement reached out to residents and set up trainings for officers, employees in the hospitality business, high school students and airport employees on signs of sex trafficking.
Additionally, churches have distributed fliers to their congregations about ways to identify victims of sex trafficking. Some signs that they have been told to look for include women who appear very submissive, look afraid, and who may have exhibit signs that they have been physically abused. A Super Bowl task force has also been created, which is composed of local, state, and federal law enforcements, social workers, and several community groups.
Officials in New Jersey have taken a commendable and impressive role in combating the proliferation of sex trafficking during the Super Bowl. The critical piece of New Jersey officials’ bid to curb sex trafficking in February lies in their mission to educate their residents.
While the Super Bowl will bring many trafficked persons to the area, once the game has ended and people return to their daily lives, New Jersey will still be a site for human trafficking due to its close proximity to New York, its large highway system, as well as its diverse population. It is important that people continue to be educated on the signs of sex trafficking, as well as with the knowledge that human trafficking does not begin and end with the Super Bowl.
Based on non-statistical information, GEMS, an anti-sex trafficking organization, claims that the Super Bowl is a sex trafficking mecca and is the result of overzealous politicians’ propaganda to show that they are tough on crime. GEMS also argues that this primary focus on sex trafficking during the Super Bowl takes attention away from sex trafficking that occurs every other day of the year.
Although we at Amara agree with GEMS in their assertion that narrowly focusing on the Super Bowl is disadvantageous to fighting sex trafficking as a whole, it is important to note that this form of information dispersal has gotten the attention of many. People who may have never heard of sex trafficking before have now been introduced to the concept. It is possible that the emphasis of sex trafficking at the Super Bowl should be abridged and should also include statistics about sex trafficking that occurs everyday, in every city and every country. At the same time, it is also possible that the intensified focus during Super Bowl weekend may save the lives of several trafficked victims. Read the full GEMS article click here.
Furthermore, Amara acknowledges that a number of sex workers will travel to the Super Bowl this year for their work. Amara emphasizes that we make no distinction in the availability of our services between a sex worker who is seeking our legal services for right’s violations they have suffered and survivors of sex trafficking who are seeking our services due to their victimization.
It is Amara’s mission to raise awareness about unfair exploitation which occurs in various sectors of commercial sex and empower our clients to advocate for their own human and civil rights and seek the justice they deserve through the court system and other local entities.
In short, Amara urges you to remember that there will likely be a spike in sexual exploitation surrounding the Super Bowl AND that this phenomenon happens every day, in every city and state in America. Please join us in raising awareness about this issue through reposting this blog!
By Kayla Faulkner