The Superbowl is the Biggest Human Trafficking Event of the Year, Says Law Enforcement
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Federal officials are descending on New Jersey this weekend, in anticipation of a major spike in human trafficking that is rumored to accompany the Super Bowl every year. It is believed that America's biggest game is also the largest concentration of human slave laborers of the year.
When a dense mass of humanity converges on a city like bees to a honeycomb, there are certain needs that arise. The shrewdest of human traffickers know which ones must be fulfilled and which ones can be indulged: toilets have to be cleaned and food has to be served, but sex can also be provided for those with the money to pay for it.
Every year, many people (there are no official numbers) from within the country and abroad are seduced by the promise of paid labor to travel to the city hosting the big game. Often, these jobs do not exist, and many victims are forced to enter into slavery without any means of escape.
"Whether it be the Olympics, the World Cup, or the Super Bowl, any high-profile event that brings a large influx of visitors to a new locale can also create circumstances conductive to human trafficking and sexual exploitation," said Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, to USA Today.
One major problem with combatting trafficking at these sort of events is how invisible the problem is. Kenneth Morris from the Fredrick Douglas Family Initatives told Al Jazeera that, "It's hard to make specific claims about whether sex trafficking increases around the Super Bowl" because it is so underground. New Jersey public schools have been holding prevention education seminars in schools about sex trafficking, but many will still fall through the cracks.
Luis CdeBaca of the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons at the US Department says that education can help awaken the public to the mostly invisible problem.
"The knowledge...doesn't expire when the Super Bowl clock ticks down to zero," the ambassador said to USA Today. "Once people understand modern slavery--the way it touches their lives and communities, how to spot it and who to call if they do--that knowledge doesn't go away, just as trafficing does not go away when the stadium lights are dimmed."