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According do the Blue Campaign, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security program for public education about the illicit industry, sex trafficking is a $32 billion a year illicit industry, second only to drug trafficking, and victimizes between 300,000 to 400,000 American children every year.
This weekend, thousands of people will flock to New York to watch the Seattle Seahawks take on the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII. But more than football will happen this weekend in New York. Advocates for victims of sex trafficking say major sporting events like the Super Bowl increase demand for prostitution. Pimps from around the country will transport their victims to New York for what some experts and organizations say is the largest weekend in prostitution in the United States.
As of Wednesday, Jan. 29, prostitution ads on New York websites had increased 50 percent. They are expected to triple by Sunday. During the 2011 Super Bowl in Dallas, there was a 300 percent increase in prostitution Internet adds; in 2009, young women were advertised as a “Super Bowl Special,” says Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.
Klobuchar recently introducted a bill with Texas Sen. John Cornyn focusing on providing a “safe harbor” for children of sex trafficking.
The NFL, the city of New York and the State of New Jersey are doing their parts to help raise awareness about the issue. But you can help too. Tweet about it. Share this PSA from the New Jersey Attorney General.
Modern day slavery exists in America because our society prefers not to talk about the issues that affect hundreds of thousands of victims every year. If we want things to change, we can no longer afford to turn a blind eye and ignore the issue.
Whether or not Super Bowl weekend is the most profitable weekend in the profitable industry is debatable, sex trafficking is real. If you aren’t convinced, check out Polaris Project webpage on sex trafficking in the U.S.