The Warm Up
In preparation for Super Bowl Sunday, the NJ Coalition Against Human Trafficking is mobilizing the nation to deter an increase in human trafficking activities that are often associated with large sports events. The NJ Coalition is working closely with the NJ Attorney General’s Office and the NJ Commission on Human Trafficking.
Why is there concern about sex trafficking in preparation for Super Bowl?
Sex Trafficking is often associated with large sporting events. In preparation for the Super Bowls, law enforcement, attorney generals, the interfaith community, and community advocates have worked together to deter trafficking and to raise awareness about the issue.
There’s no direct link between football and human trafficking. There is, however, a huge connection between supply and demand. The conditions surrounding huge sporting events — like the Super Bowl — foster an increase in sexual exploitation.
The Super Bowl attracts tens of thousands of fans to the host city, and millions of television viewers, making it the most watched broadcast each year. But it also attracts a sector of violence, organized criminal activity that operates in plain sight without notice. Surrounding large sporting events we find excessive drinking, inhibitions, and a greater demand for commercial sex. Like any other business, the sex trade industry responds with greater supply to meet the increased demand. This is human trafficking.
Our efforts should not be misconstrued as vilifying the National Football League, but rather acknowledging that unacceptable behavior can and does happen around major sporting events.
Best Practices Implemented to Deter Sex
Trafficking at Super Bowls
Starting in 2004, statistics began to be collected at international sporting events such as the Olympics, World Cups, and 2011 Super Bowl, and since then efforts to tackle and deter this crime have become a regular part of Super Bowl preparations at the State level.
Last year the NJ Coalition focused primarily on Education. This year the focus is Healthcare and Trauma.
Efforts have included initiatives to:
- Strengthen Law Enforcement & Victim Services
- Raise Community Awareness – through outreach, media, and training
- Engage Civil Society – local and national advocates, community organizations, churches, and colleges
- Anti-Demand Campaign
- Outreach to groups at risk
- Establish protocols within the travel and tourism industry including local hotels
- Distribute Victim Recovery Materials
- Strengthen laws to facilitate prosecuting traffickers and rescuing victims