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Human trafficking rates rise near Super Bowl, studies show

Sports fans across the country flocked to Miami on Feb. 2 to watch the most hyped football game of the year — the Super Bowl. But while many flock to the arena,  many others are forced elsewhere. To host such a large event requires an influx of temporary workers which can open the door to human trafficking.

Human trafficking is illegally transporting people, usually from one country to another, for the purpose of forced labor or sexual exploitation. While any age and gender can be targeted, young girls are usually the prime victims. It is estimated that 40.3 million people across the world are currently victims of trafficking, according to the UN International Labor Organization (ILO). The Forgotten Children Worldwide reports that 25% of that number are children.

A 2014 ILO report claimed that the industry generated an annual profit of $150 billion and that human trafficking is the world’s second largest criminal industry after drug trafficking. The U.S. Department of Defense reports that human trafficking is on the rise and has become the fastest-growing crime in the world. Freedom K9 Project reports that over 17,500 people are trafficked into the U.S. annually, 81% for sexual exploitation.

“The United States is the number one consumer of sex worldwide,” Geoff Rogers, co-founder of the U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking, told Fox News. “We are driving the demand as a society.”

In the past, data compiled by the Institute for Sport and Social Justice has shown that the host city of the Super Bowl tends to draw in more criminal activities of human trafficking and sex trafficking around January and February. During the 2019 Super Bowl, approximately 450 incidents were reported and 540 in February. The number dropped to 140 in March.

Because there are increased visitors in the host city, organized sex rings will follow the crowd to participate in the large party culture and meet the demand for paid sexual activities, according to the Institute for Sport and Social Justice.

Eleven days leading up to the 2019 Super Bowl, 169 people were arrested on trafficking charges, including 34 who were attempting to engage in sexual activities with minors, the FBI reported.

On the same day as the 2020 Super Bowl, Fox Business reported that Ivanka Trump, senior political advisor to Donald Trump, announced that the president will be proposing a $42 million increase in the 2021 budget to fight against human trafficking.

“We are resolved, and we are relentless in the fight to hold perpetrators accountable and restore dignity for victims,” said Ivanka Trump during a White House summit. “The administration has fought and will continue to fight for the crime and ensure that survivors can access the services they need.”

During the summit, Ivanka Trump talked about President Trump’s efforts to address trafficking, including the nine pieces of legislation he has signed into law. 

These include the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2017, the Abolish Human Trafficking Act of 2017, the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2017 and the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act of 2018.