February 7, 2021
The 55th Super Bowl game is scheduled for February 7th, in Tampa, Florida. As the Tampa Bay Buccaneers face off with the Kansas City Chiefs, we will celebrate an American ritual with gusto.
The Super Bowl allows us to set aside the trials and stresses of last year. You can cook up a batch of chicken wings, break out the nachos and chips, or whatever your favorite food preferences are for this National Event. Kick back, take a break from the everyday reality and cheer for your team. Enjoy the half time show and the crazy and hopefully creative commercials.
February 1st starts the official pre-game week in Tampa. The teams are getting ready for the biggest game of the year. There is lots of media hype. Las Vegas keeps us updated on the winning odds, and the fans swarm into town to get the party started.
Attendance will be limited to 22,000 due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Typically, 250,000 people would be attending the Super Bowl Events. Revenue numbers are in the billions with advertising revenue, ticket sales, food, accommodations, merchandise sales, broadcast rights, etc. One Big Party!!!
Cities invest millions courting the NFL to host the Super Bowl hoping for a billion-dollar payout for their city. The down-side of hosting the Super Bowl, is the increase in crime and security issues, the dramatic increase in Sex Trafficking and Human Exploitation that comes along with hosting this event.
Every major event across the country has had to deal with Human Trafficking. Wherever people gather to party and spend their money, you can guarantee that the Human Traffickers will be there to take advantage of recruiting, grooming, coercing, kidnapping, enslaving, and profiting from putting these vulnerable women and children to work as sex slaves.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, Human Trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery that may materialize in the form of sex trafficking, labor trafficking, or both.
This is not new news. For years, the Super Bowl has been designated the top event for sex traffickers. It is estimated that more than 10,000 sex workers are transported to the event each year.
According to a February 20, 2018 article in the Twin Cities Press –“at the 2017 Super Bowl in Houston Texas, a sting operation called Operation Guardian Angel yielded 94 Human Trafficking arrests. The operation received 1,560 responses to sex ads placed by law enforcement.”
That is just the tip of the iceberg. If we are going to End Human Trafficking for both sexual exploitation and manual labor it will take a coordinated effort between local and federal law enforcement, all of the social justice organizations and non -profits, as well as communities of alert educated citizens.
We also need to change many of the laws that are often more punitive to the person enslaved than to the person paying for their services or to the Trafficker once identified.
Last month was Human Trafficking Awareness Month. The NFL through their International Justice Mission showed their support by extending a grant to The Hillsborough County Commission on Human Trafficking. Florida has the third-highest number of trafficking victims in the country making this an important issue for the State and the NFL.
This Social Justice project was spearheaded by Kirk Cousins, of the Minnesota Vikings. He has been passionate about this cause for years and was excited to join The International Justice Mission Pro Athlete Group. Along with other NFL players such as Jason and Devin McCourty of the New England Patriots and Zack Ertz of the Philadelphia Eagles, it was important to the athletes that they were part of the solution. They were excited to use their celebrity to make an impact on such an important issue.
Human Sex Trafficking, a 150-billion-dollar business, affects more than 25 million women and children worldwide. The way that you can start to make a difference is by getting educated on the causes of human trafficking and support new legislation in your community to protect victims and punish demand.
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