The opinions expressed herein are those of the author, and not necessarily those of The New Agenda.
The 2011 Superbowl has arrived, and fans all around the United States are preparing to watch the game between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers in hopes that their favorite team will be victorious. And as they host their parties, high-five their friends, scoff down the chips and guzzle their beers in the secure and cloistered confines of their homes or neighborhood bars, they are removed from a harsh reality that comes hand-in-hand with the famed Super Bowl games: Sex trafficking of young girls as young as 12.
According to Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, “each year, 100,000 to 300,000 American kids…are exploited in the sex trade,” and because the Super Bowl attracts thousands upon thousands of football fans, particularly men, sex traffickers target the city hosting the game to make money from the forced sexual labor of young girls. Since evidence has shown that there has been a rise in sex trafficking during previous Super Bowl events and the game this year will be hosted by the Dallas – Fort Worth area, which is near the Mexican border, law enforcement officials, along with anti-sex trafficking organizations, are preparing for the dark side of the Super Bowl to show its vile and ugly face by creating awareness. Even Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott concedes that “The Super Bowl is one of the biggest human trafficking events in the United States.”
The following video was created by Traffick911 with its “I’m Not Buying It” campaign, and they have organized a petition that everyone should sign aimed at the Super Bowl Host Committee in helping them end sex trafficking associated with the game as it attracts pimps, traffickers, and their many silent victims.
Mickey Goodman’s Atlanta article on the subject cites a 2010 Dallas Police report that reveals the following information relevant to how young girls are recruited and forced into the sex slave ring:”Typically, pimps recruit unwitting girls at shopping centres, mall events and on the internet. Once ensnared, shame, fear and psychological manipulation make it hard for them to break free. Clients hook up with girls via the internet, through hotels, massage parlours, strip clubs and escort services.”
According to the Polaris Project, organizations and volunteers opposed to sex trafficking have traveled this past week to Arlington Texas to create awareness and find means of contacting victims. They are talking to people who live in the community, shop owners, and even taxi cab drivers, since taxi cabs have been used in other Super Bowl hosting cities as mobile brothels, inspiring them to do their part in reporting sex rings and/or violence they witness in the neighboring areas as well as reaching out to the victims. They are going as far as implementing “creative tools to connect potential victims with resources. As part of the “Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution (S.O.A.P.)” project, TraffickFree will be offering bars of soap with the NHTRC hotline number to hotels in the area.”
So as much gaiety and machismo-like fun is supplied by annual Super Bowl events, know that these male-centered games and celebrations are used as a means of corrupting young and powerless young girls into the forced trade of selling their sex. Sex trafficking exists and runs rampant because there is a supply and demand for the sex of minors — and many perpetrators don’t care if the girl sold to them is drugged, lucid, forced, coerced, bruised, or underage. As Dallas Cowboys’ player and father of two girls, Jay Ratliff participates in Traffick911’s video campaign of “I’m Not Buying It,” addressing men who profit from selling sex and pay for sex: “Real men don’t buy children. They don’t buy sex.”
Let’s all do our part in addressing, exposing, and redressing the dark and corrupt underbelly of this beloved National pastime we call the Super Bowl.