Lifezette: Spring Break: Shining a Light on the Dark Side
Blue skies, gorgeous water, big fun — in these environments especially, our kids need to beware of a sex-trafficking industry in overdrive
“Spring break” and “sex trafficking” are not terms you often find in the same sentence — but rather than provide parents with details about popular destinations or best hotels for vacations at this time of year, it’s time to shed some real light on the dangers that exist out there for our young people, whether they’re in high school, college or even beyond.
“Young women are historically vulnerable to sexual harassment, abuse, and exploitation as a part of the hook-up culture that infuses spring break venues,” warned Haley Halverson, vice president of advocacy and outreach at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation in Washington, D.C. “Some young women could even fall prey to sex traffickers in this environment.”
It’s also important to recognize that male spring breakers who participate in the commercial sex industry, whether that’s strip clubs or purchasing people in prostitution, could be perpetuating the modern-day sexual slavery market, Halverson told LifeZette.
“The conditions surrounding spring break — such as a large influx of males, the celebratory atmosphere, high alcohol consumption, and having money to spend — can create an increased demand for sex trafficking,” she explained. “Research from the Arizona School of Social Work found that any large event that provides a significant concentration of people in a relatively confined urban area becomes a desirable location for a sex trafficker to bring their victims — for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation.”
Halverson and the National Center on Sexual Exploitation shared similar concerns about sex trafficking and prostitution demand each year during the Super Bowl.