Statement by Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director of NCOSE
Washington, DC – As the Super Bowl approaches, authorities are preemptively working to ensure the safety and security of the many thousands of men and women that will be pouring into the San Francisco Bay Area. This annual sporting event shines a light on the tragedy of sex trafficking that occurs every day in America, aided by websites like Backpage.com.
“It is imperative to not only pay attention to the spike in sex trafficking during the Super Bowl but to also be alert to the signs of trafficking in our own cities and online,” said Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. “Backpage.com is the leading known website for the facilitation of online prostitution and sex trafficking in America, and unfortunately the Super Bowl presents pimps and sex traffickers with opportunities to make money through exploitation via Backpage’s free advertising for commercial sex. But whether during the Super Bowl or any other time, it is vital that law enforcement officials monitor Backpage.com for sex trafficking and prostitution in order to identify and aid victims across the country.”
“Backpage.com is unapologetic about its business model based on sexual exploitation,” Hawkins continued. “Last year, the CEO of Backpage skipped a Senate sex-trafficking hearing that was assembled to address the website’s role in perpetuating the sale of men, women, and children for sex. Legislators and law enforcement alike know that Backpage will be a hub for trafficking during the Super Bowl, and so we encourage them to actively monitor and respond to any potential criminal activity.”