Large sporting events draw large crowds of people and large amounts of money. They also draw in sex trafficking rings. During this year’s Super Bowl, 16 juveniles and 50 adult women were rescued; these individuals were being forced to work as prostitutes.
Each year the Super Bowl provides lucrative opportunities, through commercial airtime, for big name companies such as Coca Cola and Pepsi. Unfortunately, statistics have shown that the Super Bowl and other big sporting events provide potentially lucrative opportunities for sex traffickers as well. Sex trafficking occurs when people are forced or coerced into the commercial sex trade against their will.
In the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, sixteen juveniles were rescued in the New York City area; these juveniles had been forced to come and work as prostitutes for the Super Bowl. Along with these juveniles, more than 50 adult women who were forced to work as prostitutes were rescued. Officials said that the children who were rescued ranged in age from 13 to 17 years old. Some of these children had been reported missing by their families. One of the minors, a 17-year old girl, had spent the past two years with her pimp.
So how did authorities know these young juveniles would be forced into the big city? Officials said that they pay particular attention to big sporting events because they draw a lot of people together into a compressed area. Based on past statistics, officials say that they spent the months leading up to the Super Bowl investigating sex trafficking rings and training the necessary personnel of the Super Bowl and law enforcement on identifying the signs of sex trafficking.
The FBI said its operation consisted of more than 50 law enforcement agencies. As the Super Bowl approached, law enforcement officers working on the operation saw advertisements of the prostitutes start to spike and suspects starting to travel. In total, more than 45 pimps were arrested and numerous guns were seized as a result of the operation.
Source: Palm Beach Post, FBI: Kids forced into prostitution for Super Bowl, Katie Zezima, 2/4/14