Many people are preparing to watch Sunday’s Super Bowl. It’s a time for celebration with lots of food and friends gathered around the television to watch one of America’s largest sporting events.
What too many people don’t know is that the Super Bowl has a dark side, one that reduces girls and young women to products for sale—and I am not just talking about the ads that reduce women to sex objects. I’m talking about the increased occurrence of domestic commercial sex trafficking. Just like last year in Dallas, Texas, news reports project that thousands of girls from around the country will be brought to Indiana by their traffickers otherwise known as pimps to be sold for sex before, during and after the game.
There are several good initiatives to stop sex trafficking in Indiana including emergency legislation that passed that brings stiff penalties those who sell girls and young women for sex but also grassroots efforts including nuns calling hotels to educate front desk and housekeeping staff how to spot and pamphlets being passed out to taxi drivers. NFL players are also supporting the “I’m Not Buying it” campaign, sending a message to Johns. See the video of Jay Ratliff, Dallas Cowboy’s Defensive player.
Indiana has started a “Don’t Try it Here” campaign to let traffickers/pimps know that it’s not ok to sell girls for sex. The problem is that last year when the game took place in Dallas, Texas last year officials there were also very serious about stopping this. Yet it is estimated that 10,000 girls were brought into the state for that very purpose. About 100 people were arrested for trafficking.
I commend Indiana for all of its efforts and for the grassroots leaders out meeting with hotels and taxi drivers. The truth is we have to stop the problem at the root. Each of us needs to stand up and say out loud “I do not condone this kind of treatment of girls or young women. It is not okay to pay for sex from girls. We are outraged when it happens over seas and we must be equally outraged that it happens in the USA.
So when you are sitting around with your friends this Sunday I ask you to raise the question: what can we do to stop violence against girls and young women? Don’t accept the answer that the problem is too big for us to solve. Reality is the problem is too big for us NOT to solve.