Efforts underway to combat human sex trafficking in Arizona ahead of the Super bowl in Glendale in 2015 are heating up because the sports event is one of the largest drivers of the sex-trade industry.
Unfortunately there hasn’t been much media attention on this issue, who seem more concerned over underinflated footballs than human trafficking victims.
The Super Bowl is an annual football game which is among the most-watched sports events in the world and draws tens of thousands of people to its host city. State attorneys generals in Texas and Indiana, where recent Super Bowls were held, and other experts, have said the event creates an ideal setting for traffickers because they easily can go unnoticed in the influx of people.
Over 400,000 men from all over the country, including small town and major cities are expected to attend the Super bowl event this year. They will all converge in Glendale and Phoenix during the event. The men who engage in such activities by the way are not your stereotypical male sex predators – they are your next door neighbors, fathers, husbands. Many hold positions of respect and responsibility within their communities back home, they represent all demographic types including school teachers, doctors, lawyers, coaches, paraprofessionals and executives of major corporations representing the fortune 500 top companies in America.
Trafficking is not just an issue that happens to people in other countries. The United States is a main source and transit country, and is also considered one of the top destination points for victims of child trafficking and exploitation. Cases of human trafficking have been reported in all 50 U.S. States; anyone can be trafficked regardless of race, class, education, gender, age, or citizenship when forcefully coerced or enticed by false promises.
Human trafficking is a gross violation of human rights. It is the illegal trade in human beings through recruitment or abduction, by means of force, fraud, or coercion for the purposes of forced labor, debt bondage or sexual exploitation. Human trafficking is also referred to as modern day slavery. Trafficked persons are often forced, through sexual, physical and/or psychological violence, to perform work under slavery-like conditions. Of the estimated 700,000 to 2 million people who are trafficked globally each year, thousands are trafficked to or within the United States.
Trafficking within the United States is a $9.8 billion dollar enterprise!
Phoenix, Arizona is a hub for human sex trafficking. The city is a logical place for trafficking to occur because of its large population of immigrants, its close proximity to major international ports, and its concentration of many formal and informal industries where severe labor rights violations can go undetected.
There are a number of indicators which can help alert you to potential victims of human trafficking including:
* Is not free to leave or come and go as he or she wishes
* Is fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous
* Shows signs of abuse, confinement, or torture
* Is not in control of his or her own identification documents
* Lack of knowledge of whereabouts.
Note: No single indictor us necessarily proof of human trafficking. Do not approach a trafficker. It could result in harm to you or the victim.
ANY MINOR UNDER THE AGE OF 18 ENGAGING IN COMMERCIAL SEX IS CONSIDERED A HUMAN TRAFFICKING VICTIM BY US LAW.
If you think you see signs of human trafficking or you need help, please call 2-1-1 or the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888
If you or someone you know is a victim of human trafficking, please call the Phoenix Police Department Organized Crime Unit:
Phoenix Police Department
620 W. Washington St.
Phoenix, AZ 85003
You can also file a report online @ https://www.phoenix.gov/police/policereport