victims of the big game
I love football and chips and friends. And great commercials. That's why I love the Super Bowl and our American tradition to cram as many people and snacks into one living room as possible and to act as though we're all sitting on the 50-yard line with our faces painted. Shouting at the TV on a regular Sunday afternoon might get you in trouble, but not for this game. Anything goes.
I love it. All of it.
But this year, I learned what other tradition the Super Bowl kicks off (sorry) in this country. And it has nothing to do with snacks. It's a matter of life and death, actually; of freedom and slavery. The Super Bowl, and other large sporting events, will bring a huge influx of people in the sex industry. Some will be here by choice. Many will not. Many are children. They have been kidnapped, lied to and deceived and are now trapped in a life of slavery. They have been taken from all parts of this country and brought to our neighborhoods to meet an outrageous demand for sexual consumption.
It's already begun in Dallas. There is more buzz in the city with every bus that pulls into town. It's anticipated that events like the Super Bowl can increase the demand for human trafficking by almost 80%. Women and children are being brought into Dallas this week along with celebrity SWAG and NFL apparel, and they will be sold right along side them.
Texas is already a hub of sex trafficking. The presence of the Super Bowl will only multiply the risk. The following is an excerpt from an article on PR Newswire today:
Pimps often travel with their prostitutes to cities hosting large sporting events or conventions. Dallas police predict the Super Bowl could attract between 50,000 and 100,000 prostitutes.
Child welfare advocates and Texas law enforcement officials are working to assist the young victims and arrest the people who buy and sell them.
Young women and men, some under 18, are frequently shuttled from city to city, sold to have sex with sports fans and conventioneers. Uprooted and often completely isolated, the victims are seldom able to find a way out of their violent situations. Some are sent out to prostitution at the age of 11, and are estimated to have a life expectancy of just seven years after hitting the streets.
Homeless young people are particularly vulnerable to being lured into a life of prostitution by pimps who seek them out, offering new clothes, the promises of money, and, often, the illusion of a romantic relationship.
"Homeless kids are really vulnerable, because they have no support system," said Janette Scrozzo, who spent many years heading the outreach program at the Covenant House in Newark, N.J. "They just don't have the love and support of their families, so when they're out there all alone, all it took was just someone who was nice to them and lead them into a false sense of security. That's how all of the victims I worked with got lured and manipulated into this horrible world of trafficking."My point in all of this is not to ruin the big game, but to hopefully be a reminder that there is a world - a very dark world - that is happening right under our noses. But it's one that we may never see first hand. The most important thing you can do is to be aware. And tell other people what you know. There are a lot of organizations that are doing great work to give victims a voice. Support them. Get involved.
If you get a few minutes, read this local (D/FW) story about a woman who was forced into sexual slavery right here in North Texas. It's real and it's happening now.
This is a PSA for Traffick 911. They say that it is our call as Christians to stand up against slavery. I completely, 100% agree with that. Seeking justice for the oppressed is something very close to the heart of God. But it's not just something Christians should be concerned about, and I don't think it is something that only Christians are concerned about. This is a global, human problem. I hope you, whoever you are, will see that you can do something.
National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline: 1-888-3737-888