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Sex Trafficking at the Super Bowl

Sex Trafficking Doesn’t Just Happen During the Super Bowl

This coming Sunday, my wife and I will be nestled into our cozy couch as we watch the Super Bowl, and the kids will probably drift off into iPhoneAppLand staring at their tiny screens. We don’t really cheer for a particular pro football team, but watching the game (and the commercials) seems to be the American thing to do.

It also seems to be quite American to talk about “sex trafficking and the Super Bowl” this time of year – such as here and here and here.

I’ve heard the news media bring it up in years past, but the issue seems to be getting more press than ever this week. You gotta know that I’m no expert, and I’m relatively new to this conversation. Over the past year, I started envisioning the IN PLAIN SIGHT documentary (really a campaign) to help stop sex trafficking in the United States, but I was just as ignorant about the subject as the average American. Maybe ignorant is too harsh of a word, but most people are still relatively uninformed.

Don’t Be Ignorant:
1. Most victims of sex trafficking are NOT foreigners who are flown or trucked in. (They’re US citizens.)
2. Most “prostitutes” (as people call them) are not selling sex by choice. (They are victims and have been coerced, manipulated, or forced by a pimp/trafficker.)
3. Most victims are sold for sex 52 weeks of the year. (Not just the week of Super Bowl.)

Stacia Freeman, US Director of Hope for Justice, shared with me, “While we know that major events like the Super Bowl may increase the demand for sexual services, we must acknowledge that this issue affects America’s women and youth daily, and efforts should address long-term solutions to drive change on a continuous basis.”

backpage sex traffickingIt’s common knowledge that sex is used to sell products and services, but did you know that sex (itself) is being sold on a daily basis…in your city? You may not see a prostitute walking down your street or a pimp going door to door offering her services, but it’s happening in plain sight whether you realize it or not.

How to Hire a Sex Trafficking Victim to Have Sex With You
1. Go to Backpage.com, find your city on the right column, and then click on “escorts.” The majority of those women (and minors) are being trafficked.
2. Call her, and you can be with her in less than an hour.
3. Her pimp will keep all the money. If she doesn’t make enough money in one day, she’ll most likely be beaten.

Maybe you’ve heard the term sex trafficking.
It’s simply a politically-correct way of saying sexual slavery.

While public slavery in the United States is over, there is still a large market for buying and selling women and children…in your city. It’s being sold through ads in the back weekly newspapers, posts on Craigslist.com and Backpage.com, at massage parlors, via escort services, at truck stops, and at a motel you drive by on a daily basis.

How Do I Know This?
As we filmed the IN PLAIN SIGHT documentary, my team and I have travelled to five cities (Nashville, Baltimore, Washington DC, Sacramento, and Little Rock), and I’ve spoken with numerous law enforcement officials, child protective services, prosecutors, and FBI agents. I’ve interviewed survivor after survivor as they’ve told me how they were lured in by someone that seemed like a boyfriend or even a mother figure. Some have even been sold for sex by their own parents.

Do you know when this was happening?
52 weeks of the year – NOT just the week of the Super Bowl.

I asked James Pond, Director of Survivor Care of Hope for Justice, for his perspective on the phenomenon of focusing on sex trafficking during the week of Super Bowl: “Highlighting the tendency for large events and conferences to increase the volume of trafficking and exploitation of girls and women in an area is fine, but we need to extend our efforts to focus on long-term, meaningful solutions. Unfortunately, there is more attention on one-time events, like the Super Bowl and little to be said about what is happening in our communities every single day. Victims of human trafficking don’t need our salacious headlines, shocking statistics, and part-time engagement. Rather, they need our daily effort, sacrifice, and commitment to wade into the deep waters and and help them to find hope and healing.”

Sex Trafficking 101What If…?
1. What if we (men) stopped purchasing sex from these victims?
2. What if we (parents) protected our children from becoming vulnerable by loving them, educating them, and investing in them?
3. What if we (everyone) partnered (through giving and volunteering) with existing high-quality organizations who are working in the areas of prevention, education, and aftercare?
4. What if we (everyone) admitted that sex trafficking is an issue 52 weeks of the year – not just during the Super Bowl?

While one of the teams will be celebrating their victory in the weeks to come, there will still be victims suffering “in plain sight” long after Super Bowl fans return to their hometowns. I’ve looked into the eyes of children and women in cities across America who have been raped over and over again for the financial gain of someone they initially trusted, and I can’t stand by without doing something.

I have to take action. Will you?

 

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