Under the Turf: Super Bowl Human Trafficking

Lexie Holder, Dani Davis, Austyn Evans, and Charlotte Moore

Super Bowl LXlll took place Sun. Feb. 3 in Atlanta, Georgia.  With this large event comes parties, bets, and gambling, food, etc. However, there is a darker, lesser-known side to the Super Bowl: sex trafficking.  Sex trafficking is human trafficking in the form of sexual exploitation where a victim is forced into situations where they become dependent on their trafficker. According to the U.S. Senate report from 2017 approximately 1.5 million people, mostly young children, in the U.S were victims of sex trafficking in 2017 alone. Ahead of the 2017 Super Bowl, U.S.police arrested 750 participants involved in sex trafficking operations.

The Super Bowl’s most pressing security concern is not necessarily an influx of abductions, but rather an increase of buyers, as well as the number of people who attend the Super Bowl. For specifically this weekend each year, there is an outpouring of people which makes it easier to disguise crime.  Also, each year, the Super Bowl is held in a different city, which results in it being more difficult to track down traffickers.

With Highway 75 running straight through Atlanta, there will be victims transported by 18-wheelers all throughout the city without suspicion.  Highway 75 is a main route for transportation with many rest/truck stops on the route. Along with the highway, Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport is the busiest airport in the world and is the largest in North America. Since it is the busiest airport, TSA and flight attendants have a difficult time distinguishing victims of sex trafficking from regular travelers. Delta Airlines implemented specialization in training flight attendants on how to approach victims

With a one million dollar plan, law enforcement is able to crack down on this issue with new technology such as drones, helicopters, and applications on smartphones for the general public. International Labor Organization estimates that 71 percent of victims of human trafficking are women, 25 percent are children, and 4 percent are men which totals to 40.3 million people being victims of human trafficking globally. According to the Washington Post,169 people were arrested as a result of an 11-day effort targeting human trafficking in the lead-up to the Super Bowl in Atlanta.¨

Human trafficking is a real issue globally and can happen anywhere at any time. If you see anything or experience anything call: 1 (888) 373-7888.