January 29, 2014

Sex Trafficking at the Super Bowl

Pornography drives the demand for prostituted women, propelling the global sex trafficking trade into mainstream society. When Dallas hosted the Super Bowl back in 2011, Texas Attorney General Gregg Abbot said, “It’s commonly known as the single largest human trafficking incident in the United Stated.”

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, 10,000 women and girls were trafficked to Miami for the 2010 Super Bowl. Pictures and videos of trafficked women and girls are often used in pornography, which is then used to sell them on websites. This material is posted online where these victims can easily be sold.

Congress hosted a hearing on January 27 to detail best practices to prevent trafficking at sporting events like the Super Bowl. The House Foreign Affairs Committee had advocates for those exploited share their expertise and suggestions on what to do.

“In less than a week, New Jersey will be hosting the Super Bowl, and along with welcoming enthusiastic fans, the state also is preparing for a likely influx of both domestic and international traffickers,” Rep. Christopher Smith (R-N.J.) at the hearing.

Advocates explained police, hotel, transit, and other security staff have received training on how to spot victims and what to do when they find victims. These tips include watching out for those checking in younger guests without luggage and paying cash.

As Rep. Ann Wayner (R-Mo.) said at the hearing, “Online customers choose websites like Backpage and other advertisers to order an underage girl to their hotel room as easily as if they were ordering a delivery pizza.” This is simply unacceptable and more needs to be done to stop the sexual exploitation of unwilling and coerced women and girls.

Pornography creates demand for prostitution and sex trafficking, as demonstrated in the excellent journal article by our former president, Robert Peters, and leading anti-trafficking lawyer Laura Lederer. “The Slave and the Porn Star: Sexual Trafficking and Pornography,” appeared in The Protection Project’s Journal of Human Rights and Civil Society, based at John’s Hopkins University. This is why Morality in Media will continue to lead a national education campaign to tie these two evils together.

Further Reading