The Superbowl is the most prominent national sporting event where sex trafficking flourishes, with estimates up to as many as 10,000 victims flooding host cities to be offered to willing purchasers for sex. During the Super Bowl game in Atlanta Georgia, more than 160 people were arrested on human trafficking charges, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the nation’s Domestic Intelligence & Security Service Unit. Eighteen victims of trafficking were rescued during the same period. An influx of fans fosters the optimal breeding ground for pimps looking to boost their profits.” Host cities and federal law enforcement agencies now commonly use Super Bowl weekend as an opportunity to crack down on trafficking and to publicize their efforts.
Monday January 11th was Human Trafficking Awareness Day, Attorney General Ashley Moody joined hotel industry leaders and non-profit groups, are working to fight human trafficking, by outlining the efforts leading up to the Super Bowl on Feb. 7 in Tampa FL. During Super Bowl LIV in Miami, Attorney General Moody said law enforcement conduced 47 human trafficking arrests and recovered 22 victims, including four girls under the age of 18.
Tampa is less than a month out from the Super Bowl, what are the measurements that Law Enforcement Agencies will use to combat human sex trafficking. When you talk about eradicating human trafficking, it all comes back to the demand, and that’s why all of our operations have been focused on eradicating the demand,” says Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister.
As for the rescue of human trafficking victims, Sheriff Chronister said his department has been able to rescue eight victims over the last two years. “We’re not going to stop. The game’s going to come, the game’s going to leave, our human trafficking efforts are still going to continue”.
Chronister said the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office announced its month-long investigation, “Operation Interception,” resulted in the arrest of 71 “Johns” or sex buyers on charges of soliciting another to commit prostitution or entering/remaining in place for prostitution .All 71 suspects are male, and are aged between 20 and 62, the sheriff said. Those arrested include active-duty military members, a Firefighter, a Christian School Teacher, a Banker, construction workers, local business owners, and two registered sex offenders . The operation, known as “Operation Interception,” was created to “combat human trafficking leading up to the Super Bowl coming to Tampa in February 2021,” HCSO Sheriff Chad Chronister told reporters during a press briefing on Jan. 11.
“With less than a month until the big game, our covert operations continue, seeking those who choose to sexually exploit others here in our community,” Chronister said. “Our goal, as the operation name explains, is to ‘intercept’ individuals involved in sexual exploitation before they are able to take advantage of vulnerable individuals, and ultimately, to deter others.”
Since taking office, President Donald Trump has made fighting human trafficking a top priority of his administration. He signed an executive order in January 2020 focused on eliminating human trafficking and online child exploitation in the United States, which requires resources to be directed in ways that would result in the prosecution of offenders, assist victims, and expand prevention education programs.
President Trump also has signed nine pieces of legislation into law to help take on human trafficking, and has also taken multiple crucial steps to tackle the issue. In a proclamation issued in January 2020, the president noted that the multi-agency Anti-Trafficking Coordination Team initiative had more than doubled its convictions of human traffickers in its targeted districts.
Trump said in a statement on Oct. 20, 2020, “We renew our resolve to redouble our efforts to deliver justice to all who contribute to the cruelty of human trafficking, and will tenaciously pursue the promise of freedom for all victims of this terrible crime.
If you believe you are a victim of Human Trafficking or suspect an adult is a victim of human trafficking, please visit the National Human Trafficking Hotline, or call them at 1-888-3737-888. If you suspect a child is a victim, please call the Florida Abuse Hotline at 1-800-96-ABUSE.