With weekend football festivities fast approaching, law enforcement and child advocates in Texas are getting in high gear, preparing for what state Attorney General Greg Abbott calls, a “looming potential explosion of human trafficking around the Super Bowl.”
As scads of fans descend on Dallas, Abbott and others expect to see thousands of girls smuggled into the city for sexual exploitation — similar to what has occurred during past Super Bowls.
Texas reportedly has the second worst trafficking record, behind California.
Hoping to preempt the tragic phenomena, Traffick911, a local Christian organization, has rallied dozens of groups and sponsors to launch the national “I’m Not Buying It” campaign to raise awareness and educate the public on how to prevent, rescue, and rehabilitate these tortured children.
In the days before the Super Bowl, the coalition (composed of groups such as The Rebecca Project for Human Rights and the Salvation Army) is spreading its message by distributing pamphlets, organizing rallies, volunteering with police and educating others.
On Monday, Traffick911 and coalition member Airline Ambassadors International brought in experts to help train airline workers to recognize symptoms of trafficking victims and the procedures to help.
“The Super Bowl captivates our nation and is a unique platform for awareness and education,” Nancy Rivard, president and founder of Airline Ambassadors International, said. “This is a chance to save the lives of helpless children being brutalized right under our noses and we want to educate as many flight attendants as we can.”
In the final push before the big game, Traffick911 is working to get the Super Bowl Host Committee to recognize, endorse, and implement safety measures to aid their effort. The group is currently circulating a petition to meet that end.
“You have a unique platform to prevent the crime of child sex trafficking during Super Bowl celebrations,” the petition reads, urging the committee to sign on with their initiative.
According to a 2007 Justice Department report, up to 300,000 girls between the ages of 11 and 17 are forced into the sex trade each year.