In early 2011 the Texas Attorney General shocked the public by announcing that the Super Bowl is the single largest human trafficking incident in the United States. As tourism increases in the cities where the Super Bowl is held so does sex tourism. Traffickers travel to large public sporting events across the country to sell young women and girls in the lucrative sex industry. By advertising online ahead of time, the traffickers are able to let potential buyers know the location and time that the girls and women will be available for sex. The Attorney General’s shocking statement has proven to be correct as there have been human trafficking arrests every year at the Super Bowl for the past five years.
- A man was arrested at the 2009 Super Bowl in Tampa, Florida for selling a 14 year old online listed as the Super Bowl Special for $300.
- The 2010 Super Bowl in Miami, Florida saw an estimated 10,000 girls and young women involved in sex trafficking.
- At the 2011 Super Bowl in Dallas, Texas, 133 individuals were arrested for underage prostitution.
- In 2012, law enforcement made 68 commercial sex arrests and recovered two human trafficking victims at the Indianapolis Super Bowl.
- Despite passing a strong anti-trafficking law before the 2013 Super Bowl in New Orleans, Louisiana, 85 human trafficking suspects were arrested.
The government of New Jersey is refusing to allow human trafficking at the 2014 Super Bowl being held at the MetLife Stadium on February 2 and since 2013 has taken steps to strengthen its human trafficking laws in order to combat human trafficking during the Super Bowl. The state is also working with local NGOs, anti-trafficking organizations and law enforcement to raise awareness for those taking part in the Super Bowl festivities.
ECPAT-USA trained all Jersey City hotels on how to identify victims of human trafficking and S.O.A.P (Save Our Adolescent from Prostitution) has mobilized and raised money to give out bars of soap to tourists with the national human trafficking hotline number printed on them. Even local student groups like Not on Our Turf have organized to increase awareness of the connection between human trafficking and the Super Bowl. New Jersey will be the first host of the Super Bowl to tackle the issue of sex trafficking so thoroughly by passing new laws, holding trainings and public awareness campaigns. In a couple short weeks we will find out if all their hard work is enough to curb the demand of the sex industry.